She’s delivered her closing pitch, concluded her final rally and cast her own vote.
By Tuesday evening, there was little left for Hillary Clinton to do but wait, and prepare for word of whether she’d be picked as the first woman to serve as U.S. president.
Her campaign picked a suitably symbolic location for her election night party – the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, which, in a nod to the historic moment, offers a glass ceiling.
As returns started trickling in Tuesday night, the Democratic nominee watched the information with a collection of close aides at the Peninsula New York, a luxury hotel nearby. The first round of poll closings came at 7 p.m. with Clinton taking Vermont and Trump winning Kentucky and Indiana. Those early wins were expected for both.
Casting her ballot at an elementary school near her home in suburban New York on Tuesday morning, Clinton acknowledged the weight of the day, saying: ” so many people are counting on the outcome of this election.”
It was a relatively calm Election Day compared with Clinton’s hectic final few days day on the campaign trail. The former secretary of state and New York senator dashed through battleground states, encouraged get-out-the-vote efforts and campaigned with a star-studded cast of celebrity supporters.
The eve of the election included an emotional rally in Philadelphia with her husband, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, as well as performances by Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. Lady Gaga capped it off by serenading thousands of supporters before the Clintons took the stage for a 1 a.m. rally in Raleigh, North Carolina.
After the divisive rhetoric of the campaign against Republican Donald Trump, Clinton sought to offer a positive closing message on Monday. She told supporters in Pittsburgh they “can vote for a hopeful, inclusive, bighearted America.” In a buoyant mood, she also greeted voters who cried out “we love you,” smiling back: “I love you all, too … absolutely.”
Some good news boosted Clinton’s spirits in the final moments of the campaign. On Sunday, FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congress, informing lawmakers the bureau had found no evidence in its hurried review of newly discovered emails to warrant criminal charges against Clinton.
The late October announcement of a fresh email review rocked the race just as Clinton appeared to be pulling away from Trump in several battleground states. The update from the FBI may have come too late for some: In the nine days between Comey’s initial statement until his “all clear” announcement on Sunday, nearly 24 million people cast early ballots. That’s about 18 percent of the expected total votes for president.
But campaign aides projected confidence in the final moments. They said they felt good about Nevada, where they said support for Clinton in early voting was strong. They were encouraged by the strong Latino turnout in Florida and felt they took a strong lead in Michigan and Pennsylvania into Election Day, when the bulk of votes are cast in those states.
Leading up to Election Day, Clinton made stops in Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and New Hampshire – often flanked by star guests. Jay Z and Beyonce performed with pant-suited backup dancers in Cleveland. James Taylor serenaded New Hampshire voters and Katy Perry sang “Roar” in Philadelphia.
She also campaigned with Khizr Khan, the father of a slain U.S. Army officer whose indictment of Trump at the Democratic National Convention was an emotional high point for Clinton’s party.
Her last two days on the campaign trail felt almost like a Clinton family reunion, with some of her closest confidants jumping on the campaign plane for her final hours. Even Huma Abedin, her embattled personal aide caught up in the email controversy, jumped on the plane for the midnight rally in Raleigh.
Republished with permission of the Associated Press.