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Blue Lights for Obama at The Camel

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At the Camel, a bar on Broad Street near Virginia Commonwealth University, an audible cheer goes up whenever a state is called for Obama, and a blue light behind the bar lights up.

Revelers watch the results on two televisions, and several patrons have laptop computers with wifi connectivity. Bands Pendleton and Jonathan Vassar will play later.

Owner Rand Burgess says he voted for Barack Obama for president, Robert Grey for mayor and Patrick Kjellberg for the 2nd District seat on Richmond City Council.

“The most important race to me is for council. The 2nd District affects more of what I do every day,” Burgess says. “He wants to make City Hall a welcoming place, as opposed to a deterrent for getting things done.”

As for the mayor's race, at least one voter is happy it's time for Mayor L. Douglas Wilder to move on. "I've been dissatisfied with Doug Wilder. I feel that big change was needed on the national and local scene," says Mary Genthener-Canter, who describes herself as a "very political" cook. She says she voted for Delegate Dwight Jones for mayor because the Richmond Crusade for Voters endorsed him.

As the crowd builds, no cheers for McCain ring out when a state is called in his column. In other words, welcome to an Obama victory party. -- Roberto Curtis

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