obamastateoftheunion.jpgBay Area Democrats celebrated in San Francisco on Tuesday night after hearing that President Barack Obama had been re-elected.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who was also elected to another term on Tuesday, joined San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, former Mayor Willie Brown and other dignitaries at a rally at the Fairmont Hotel, and cheered along with the crowd when news networks called the race for Obama.

“It sets the pace for the nation,” Lee said.

Feinstein said she hopes the country can come together to support the president after a hard-fought campaign against Republican candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

“Everywhere I go, everyone wants an end to this hyper partisanship,” Feinstein said. “How do we lead in the face of a split nation?”

San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr was also at the event, and said he is excited about Obama’s victory.

“It was awesome that he won,” Suhr said. “We’re going in the right direction.”

Meanwhile, local Republicans digested the news and reflected on Romney’s loss.

“He wasn’t able to defend or promote his tax plan,” said Tom Del Beccaro, chairman of the California Republican Party. “He did not provide a strong enough or bold enough agenda.”

Del Beccaro noted that the House of Representatives is still controlled by the GOP, with House Speaker John Boehner at the helm. He said Republicans in the House have the party’s future in their hands.

“They have to demonstrate real leadership by going through the entire federal budget, offering reforms in any and every program, and driving the agenda through passing legislation and getting the president to sign them,” he said.

Joe Tuman, a communication studies professor at San Francisco State University, said he thinks Obama’s charisma was a strong factor in the race.

“In politics, don’t bet against an incumbent who is likeable,” Tuman advised. “It’s going to be hard to dislodge that person.”

As for Romney, Tuman said that despite the loss “he still put up a heck of fight” and that the vote was “by no means a landslide.”

With four more years of a Democratic president, Tuman said the Republican Party should be looking at how to reorganize.

“If the Republicans are smart, they are going to do some re-evaluation and recalibration for the next race,” he said.

The Republicans “are still a very powerful party,” Tuman said.

“And they came pretty close in this race.”

Russell Jeung, associate professor of Asian-American studies at San Francisco State University, was struck by the influence of minority voters on the presidential election.
He said Latinos, Asian Americans and young people came out this year and voted overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates.

“Republicans have to reassess their ideology,” Jeung said.

Kathy Schultz, dean of the School of Education at Mills College in Oakland, said that Obama’s re-election bodes well for urban schools such as those she works with in the Oakland Unified School District.

“There was a real danger with Romney winning of schools being underfunded,” Schultz said.

Elsewhere: Obama win spurs quiet celebration in S.F. [Chron]
Obama wins: Rejoicing at SF Dem HQ [SFBG]

Sasha Lekach, By City News

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