With Obama racking up wins in battleground states and Romney struggling to put one away, the GOP party at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center seemed to be thinning out after 10 p.m. At one point, a smattering of applause rang through the hall when Fox News announced Romney had won Utah.
Attendees seemed to be clinging to any good news after announcements that Democrats won Senate seats in Massachusetts and Indiana. But they soldiered on for a while, holding out hope despite the fact that it was a cash bar.
At the packed bar outside the main ballroom at the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel, eager Democrats crowded around televisions and burst into cheers as CNN called Pennsylvania for the president and the Massachusetts Senate race for Elizabeth Warren within moments of each other. Staffers and donors milled anxiously about the main party space, waiting for enough Senate races to be called to be able declare themselves the majority-holders yet again.
They would not be disappointed.
Humberto Sanchez, Meredith Shiner and Emma Dumain contributed to this report.