The Republican National Committee's election night festivities in Washington started with an optimistic tone. Supporters milled about well-stocked buffets and bars as musical performers riled up the crowd at the Ronald Reagan Building downtown.
Within hours, the palpable excitement was neutered as news organizations called the election for President Barack Obama. A once-deafening roar subsided into a slow murmur as the crowd began to rapidly dissipate, the GOP's victory in the House of Representatives now overshadowed.
The few remaining were disappointed, but conciliatory.
"(We) still have the status quo in the House and the Senate, and (Obama's) going to have to reach out to them," said Republican Joe Hagerty of Virginia.
The party was supposed to last until 2 a.m., but the atrium was almost empty by the time midnight rolled around, save for a handful of people. One woman left shouted to no one in particular: "We live in the socialist republic of Obama!"
EDITOR'S NOTE — Election Watch shows you Election Day 2012 through the eyes of Associated Press journalists. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.