Recount Ordered in Presidential Election

Cyrus Farivar of The Daily Californian staff contributed to this report.

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In a roller-coaster ride of a night wrought with speculation, anxiety and incorrect pronouncements, no clear winner emerged in the presidential race yesterday, despite Vice President Al Gore's domination of California.

At approximately 1 a.m. today, the state of Florida meant the future of both Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush, both of whom had been declared the state's winner earlier in the night. As dawn approached the Sunshine State, neither could rightfully proclaim themselves victor of the state and the nation. A recount has been ordered, throwing another twist into one of the wildest election nights in American history.

If Bush were to win, he would complete the Republican trifecta of the presidency and both houses of Congress.

With or without the presidency, Democrats counted a handful of key victories, including a successful reelection bid by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California.

In and around Berkeley, three Democrats, U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, State Sen. Don Perata and State Assemblymember Dion Aroner handily defended their posts.

Outside Bush's residence in Austin, Tx., supporters who had earlier in the night chanted "Who Let the Dogs Out" were suddenly silent, particularly after hearing Gore had retracted his concession once Florida came into dispute.

But in a Southside apartment, the Berkeley College Republicans proclaimed victory.

"For the best, the government has changed as we know it," said Trevor Buckingham, a group member and a junior electrical engineering and computer science major. "Our fundamental freedoms will be preserved, patriotism shall reign."

The campus group, however, was a minority among California voters. With 55 percent of precincts reporting, Gore had racked up nearly 70 percent of the state's popular vote.

In Moses Hall, professors and students gathered to watch the election unfold. Early in the night, many had already begun to focus their attention on Florida, which would prove to be the election's pivotal state.

"He can win without Florida," said Keith Mattrick, a first-year political science graduate student. "I think Gore's going to win."

While Mattrick's prediction was echoed by many in attendance, as the night wore on, the race grew tighter, especially after Florida, which went from undecided to Gore to undecided to Bush and, finally, back to undecided.

No conversation was complete without mention of Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate who enjoys a large following on campus and in the city of Berkeley.

While careful not to pronounce "a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush," some observers said Nader may have made the difference in what was one of the tightest presidential races in history.

"Nader played a big role," said Aaron Schneider, a political science graduate student. "Without Nader, it's probable that Gore would be over the top. It would have been more likely that Gore would win."

Andy Katz, president of Cal Berkeley Democrats said that if Bush does win, he hoped newly elected officials would adopt a constructive attitude.

"What it's looking like in Congress is that the president and leaders from both sides will have to work together to get anything done," he said. "With Bush as president, this raises concern for environmental standards, affordable health care, a woman's right to choose and other civil rights protections gained in the last 30 years."


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