Warren Supporters Jubilant

Image: Elizabeth Warren supporters react to the announcement that Warren won the Massachusetts senate seat on Tuesday night in Boston. Warren was elected the first woman senator in the state of Massachusetts. (BU News Service Photo by Cat Ring.)
Elizabeth Warren supporters react to the announcement that Warren won the Massachusetts senate seat on Tuesday night in Boston. Warren was elected the first woman senator in the state of Massachusetts. (BU News Service Photo by Cat Ring.)

By Jenni Whalen
Boston University News Service 

BOSTON – Andrew Arnotis, 18, of Peabody, bounced up and down on his toes as he stared at the projector screen in Elizabeth Warren’s headquarters in Boston on Tuesday night. Arnotis, a first-time voter, was biting his nails with anxiety.

“This race is a little too close for comfort,” he said. “But I’m confident that she will pull through. There are few people who I really think will actually change things, you know? But she will. She supports people like me.”

Arnotis was one hundreds of Warren’s supporters who crowded into the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel to listen to upbeat music and sip beer and wine from two bars. He arrived early, hoping to stake a place in the front of the crowd. A freshman at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, he drove home to Boston to vote.

“I’m not here if she wins,” he said confidently, “it’s when she wins.”

Arnotis found himself next to strangers who became friends by the end of the evening.

One of them was John Penaloza, an Internet specialist who carried a folded “Corporations Are Not People” sign, which he said he has been taking to political events for the better part of the year.

Another was Debbie Reshes, a software company employee from Brookline, who was subdued and nervous.

“This is a close race,” she said, clutching at her grey sweatshirt. “But I hope that it won’t be that close.”

Reshes, a slight woman in her late 50s, campaigned door to door for Warren as well. In fact, over half of the crowd in attendance at the event responded when Warren later asked who had supported her door-to-door campaigns.

Reshes, Penaloza and Arnotis stood close to the front of the stage as the minutes in Election Night ticked by and as speakers came and went. Every once in a while, rousing calls to “fire it up!” rang throughout the ballroom, followed by cheering and rousing music.

Approximately two hours after the venue had opened to the public, the projector screen in the ballroom began to feature updates on the results of the race between Warren and Brown.

For awhile, the evening was a nail biter, as returns showed Warren running even or slightly behind U.S. Sen. Scott Brown.

When a combination of local and national newscasts gave the race to Warren at 10:15 p.m. the crowd went wild.

Arnotis hugged Penaloza, who hollered incoherently at the top of his lungs, jumping up and down and waving his tattered sign, now ripped partially down the middle.

Reshes hugged her arms to her chest and smiled.

Warren, a Harvard law professor, will be the first woman to serve as US senator in Massachusetts, greeted the crowd an hour later with a broad grin.

“This victory belongs to you,” she said, staring out at her supporters. “This is your night. This is your victory.”

Her voice was drowned out by chanting and yelling. Penaloza cupped his hands around his mouth. “We love you,” he shouted.

Warren laughed. “I love you, too,” she said. “And now, I won’t just be your senator. I’ll be your champion.”

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