To Sacramento Republicans who held out hope that all the polls were wrong, Donald Trump’s victory felt “ecstatic” when they heard Fox News call the election for him.
They rejoiced in his win at a party in Rancho Cordova, roaring approval as swing state after swing state broke for their candidate.
“In my heart of hearts I felt he could do it,” said Norm Lovings, 62, of Carmichael.
As news broke, the Republican diehards embraced each other. Some cried.
Some had worked for months to elect him.
Lovings showed up at a phone bank to make calls for Trump at 6 a.m. on Tuesday. It was part of a formidable operation led by two former National Guard colonels who managed to call nearly 200,000 voters in battle ground states over the past two weeks.
“To see what they did, that phone bank, it was not only the best in the state. It was the best in the nation,” said Sandy Stoltz, who manages the office for Sacramento County’s Republican central committee.
“I expected (Trump’s victory,” she said. “I never wavered.”
Many in the crowd acknowledged that Trump had been an unexpected candidate. They were drawn to his blunt talk and what they perceived as his patriotism.
Late Tuesday, they smiled as they called him president.
“He used language in the beginning that was harsh,” said Patti Murphy, 68, of Sacramento. “That’s because he’s not a politician. After this, he is a politician. But he’s the best kind of politician. He’s a businessman.”