Attendees at a primary night watch party at Ybor City's District Tavern were jubilant as returns showed their candidate—former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—winning Florida by a large margin over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. A small crowd of supporters that included Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn enjoyed libations and entrees as the polls closed and results started trickling in.
Among them was Cathy Snell, 63, of Riverview.
"I like what’s happened in the last eight years with [President] Obama,” Snell said. “I think we need to go forward with at least four more years of Democrats in the White House and honestly don’t think Bernie is up for it as much as Hillary is, she’s got way much more experience, I like the things she stands for and I’m really hoping she pulls it off tonight and goes forward to beat the other party, which I refuse to discuss.”
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who has been a vocal supporter of Clinton, worked the room, a daughter in tow. When quizzed about his preferred candidate's chances tonight, he responded, “She’s got a 25-year relationship with Florida, its deep its meaningful its not just transactional and I think those ties and those roots are going to carry through tonight in a big way.”
Clinton has struggled to connect with millennials throughout this campaign and when asked if he had any ideas why, Mayor Buckhorn said, “No I don’t. Certainly Senator Sanders has done a great job capturing some of that momentum. I give him credit. But I think when its all said and done, Hillary will be the nominee and our job then is to go out and make sure we hard work hard to bring them into the fold. I’m confident Senator Sanders will be supportive of that and will want a Democratic president.”
Sitting towards the back of the tavern, proudly wearing a Hilary T-shirt, was a younger voter, Corey Bailey, 28, who lives in St. Pete and works in sales.
“She’s the most experienced person, I would say in history, to ever run for president,” Bailey said. “Her time that she spent as first lady [and being] Senator in New York to Secretary of State and what she’s done in between I believe qualifies only her to be president.”
During the party it became clear Donald Trump had also won Florida, beating U.S. Senator Marco Rubio in the process. Asked if this would be the ‘nail in the coffin’ for Rubio’s campaign Mayor Buckhorn said, ”Oh I think he’s done after tonight. If he gets the beating that it looks like he’s about to get that we’ve seen the last of Marco Rubio running for president.”
Rubio announced he was suspending his campaign shortly thereafter.