Biden’s supporters in Lawrence celebrate his victory, end of election anxiety

photo by: Elvyn Jones/Journal-World photo

From left, University of Kansas students Drew Boller, Suzy Kramer and Emma Smith (wearing a Biden mask) celebrate at an impromptu parade in downtown Lawrence on Saturday, Nov 7, 2020, after major news organizations declared Joe Biden the winner of the presidential election.

Local supporters of Joe Biden took to the streets on Saturday to celebrate his election as the 46th president of the United States, staging an impromptu parade on Massachusetts Street with blaring horns, American flags and campaign signs.

At about 11:45 a.m., an hour or so after major news agencies called the presidential race, vehicles began honking horns as they cruised through downtown Lawrence. And in the next two hours, the line of vehicles grew to fill most of the northbound and southbound lanes of Massachusetts from Sixth Street to 11th Street. Downtown sidewalks were less busy, but many pedestrians cheered as the parade passed by.

When the honking and cheers downtown began, Lawrence resident Heather Honey said she initially thought people were celebrating a very different type of win: “I thought at first it was for a KU football victory,” she said.

As a three-piece band in front of Signs of Life bookstore played “Happy Days Are Here Again,” Honey said she was “overwhelmed by the news” of Biden’s victory.

“I have goosebumps,” she said. “It’s a big relief.”

A block to the south, Lawrence residents Debbie Baker and Bridgett Chapin were enjoying cold drinks at a sidewalk table in front of Sunflower Outdoor & Bike Shop and singing “The Pennsylvania Polka.” Baker is originally from Pennsylvania and wanted to show her pride that her old home state pushed Biden over the top.

“It’s like a weight off our shoulders,” Baker said.

Baker said she worked at advance voting and Election Day sites for the Douglas County Clerk’s Office, and she said that helped her develop an optimistic attitude about the election season.

“We can work to improve things locally,” she said. “We can make things better no matter who wins.”

KU freshman Emma Smith, of Fayetteville, Ark., was parading down the sidewalk on Massachusetts Street while wearing an oversized Biden mask. She said she watched the vote counting since Tuesday with increasing confidence that Biden would win, but she still had moments of anxiety.

“I’m greatly relieved,” she said. “It’s great news for civil rights, voting rights and the environment.”

Walking with Smith was fellow KU freshman Drew Boller. He said he felt like he had a personal connection to the results, because he’s from Omaha, Neb., which is part of a congressional district that gave Biden an electoral vote. Unlike most other states, Nebraska splits its electoral votes instead of using a winner-take-all system. The other four electoral votes in Nebraska went to President Donald Trump.

“I voted by mail for Biden,” Boller said. “It feels good.”

photo by: Elvyn Jones

Chris Frederick and his dog Lincoln celebrate from their apartment window Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, after new agencies announced Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential race.

Half a block away, Chris Frederick cheered on the parade of honking vehicles, sometimes on the sidewalk and other times from the windows of his second-floor apartment on the corner of Eighth and Massachusetts streets. He had been hoping for three years that Trump would be defeated in 2020, and he said he’d barely slept since waking Tuesday morning and had obsessively watched election coverage for the past four days. When news agencies called the race for Biden on the heels of his victory in Pennsylvania, it was liberating, Frederick said.

”I went out to west Lawrence and set off some fireworks,” he said. “I’ve been glued to election coverage, always checking for big ballot dumps from Philadelphia. I’ve barely had any sleep since Tuesday. I’m going to enjoy today and sleep very well tonight.”

A van flying the American flag joins a parade of cars about noon Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, about an hour after news oultet declared Democrat Joe Biden had defeated President Donald Trump to become the country's 46th president. The outlets made the announcement when Biden and running mate Kamala Harris had secured the votes needed to win Pennsylvania.

photo by: Elvyn Jones

A van flying the American flag joins an impromptu parade in downtown Lawrence on Saturday, Nov 7, 2020, after major news organizations declared Joe Biden the winner of the presidential election.

photo by: Elvyn Jones

A car flying the American flag takes part in an impromptu parade in downtown Lawrence on Saturday, Nov 7, 2020, after major news organizations declared Joe Biden the winner of the presidential election.

A passenger leans out to window to show why

photo by: Elvyn Jones/Journal-World photo

A passenger leans out of a window with a Biden/Harris campaign sign in downtown Lawrence on Saturday, November 7, 2020.


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