In close race, Myrtle Beach-area supporters of both presidential candidates savor high hopes

As the polls closed in South Carolina and the first of the day’s election results began to filter in, both Republican and Democratic voters settled in for what looked like it would be a long night before learning whether President Barack Obama or Gov. Mitt Romney would win.

Republicans gathered at Bumstead’s Pub in Myrtle Beach to watch the results come in and spirits were high.

“I’m feeling confident that tonight will be a good night. I trust in the American people to make the right decision,” said John Kastanos.

Kastanos recently returned from campaigning for Romney in Clearwater Beach, Fla., knocking on thousands of doors.

“We were door-to-door campaigning for four or five days,” he said. “What we saw looked very good for Romney on the ground – at least where we were. People were really fired up and enthusiastic.”

Kastanos was one of about 25 people who gathered at the pub to watch the results as they came in. The room broke out in applause as Fox News called South Carolina for Romney about 7:40 p.m.

At Kingston Grill and Bar in Conway, Democrats gathered for a results party held for U.S. Congressional District 7 candidate Gloria Tinubu and spirits were high.

“It looks real good for the president,” said Sally P. Howard. “There are some significant races [nationwide] that the Democrats have picked up seats, so that makes it look really good for the president.”

Around 10 p.m. Howard said she needed to relocate to focus on the results.

“I’ve got my iPad and a wall of TVs but it’s hard to follow it all,” she said. “I’m going to go home and watch it until we can get some information. Some people are saying that could be tomorrow.”

Both Democrats and Republicans commented on how close the race between Obama and Romney turned out to be.

“I’m actually feeling much more confident right now than I have the whole election,” said Myrtle Beach City Councilman Randal Wallace at the Horry County Republican Party event. “I always thought Obama had the advantage as the incumbent, but for Romney to be doing this well [early on] makes me feel good.”

Most people said they planned to stay up until a winner was announced.

“It’s going to be a long night,” Kastanos said.