Posted November 8, 2016 10:59 pm - Updated November 8, 2016 11:01 pm

BLOG: Athens election watchers relieved by end

Democrats watch election results at Southern Brewing Company in Athens, Ga. Hilary Butschek/Staff

Most election watchers in Athens could claim one thing in common: relief that it’s over.

Members of the Republican and Democratic parties in Athens watched election counts roll in with cautious optimism on both sides.

Beth Long, an Athens Democrat, said she spent weeks working to campaign for Hillary Clinton here.

“I prefer to go door to door rather than call, so I’ve met and talked with a lot of people,” Long said.

At Southern Brewing Company, Long watched vote counts come in among other Democrats, where the local Democratic Party held a gathering.

While the election cycle seemed to thrive on drama this year, the people here on the ground are glad to get past that.

Despite the winner, members of both parties admitted that there is still work to be done.

“In places like Jefferson you can be accosted for being a Democrat,” said Andrew Smith, incoming treasurer for the Democratic Party in Jackson County.

Smith said he thinks there are many Democrats in Georgia who don’t admit their party in public because of fear.

“We really want to change all that at a local level,” Smith said.

At the Republican Party gathering at Loco’s on Tuesday night, Shane Smith said he supported Donald Trump for president. But, despite the outcome, he predicts Republicans will have a lot to decide in the future.

“I think you’re going to see a huge split between people who want the establishment and other disheartened Republicans,” he said.

A younger voter, University of Georgia student Eva Claire Schwartz nervously watched the election at the Georgia Theatre on Tuesday night.

She supported Clinton, but was glad to see the end of the race.

“It was so polarizing,” Schwartz said.

Another UGA student watching at Cine who also supported Clinton said she is glad it’s Nov. 8.

“I can say truthfully that I’ve never been so happy to see something end,” said Ruth Pannill.

Follow reporter Hilary Butschek on Twitter @hilarylbutschek or at