doug watch party

Performers at the Douglas County Democrats' virtual watch party sing a song for attendees. 

Election night looked different for Douglas County Democrats who held their annual watch party via Zoom to accommodate COVID-19 safety regulations. 

Spirits were high around 8 p.m. at the Douglas County Democrats’ virtual watch party Tuesday night to discuss the general and state election results. 

Over 30 people attended the virtual watch party and members continuously sent projected polls in the chat. Douglas County organizers said it was difficult to have a watch party via Zoom, but remained hopeful their candidates would pull through.

Shannon Reid, the Democratic candidate for County Commission, said in her press release she was proud to be a part of a history-making moment. Reid won her race over her opponent Republican Pam McDermott with 71% of the vote.

“Our team built a coalition of community organizations, small businesses and over 100 volunteers,” Reid said in a press release. “We won because we did things differently than any campaign for County Commission has before.”

Shannon Portillo, another Democratic candidate for County Commission, attended the watch party and thanked the community for the support. Portillo had a similar lead over her Republican opponent Brett LaRue, with 68% of the vote, according to her press release.

“I’m ready to get to work on the huge tasks ahead of us,” Portillo said in a press release. “Having women of color and queer people in county government matters for both representation and policy.”

Suzanne Valdez, the District Attorney candidate for the Democrats, also expressed her gratitude toward her supporters. Valdez ran unopposed in the general election and will be Douglas County’s next district attorney.

Valdez ensured her supporters there will be a process in place to reform the Douglas County criminal justice system.

Lois Orth-Lopes, an organizer for the Douglas County Democrats, said she was impressed with the number of volunteers the organization had.

“There were a lot of young people and first-time voters coming in to vote,” Lopes said. “The Douglas County Dems have been working hard.”

Toward the end of the night, Kansas Senator Marci Francisco, who represents District 2, joined the call and spoke about U.S. House candidate Michelle De La Isla, who was leading her race at the time.

De La Isla held a strong lead at the beginning of the night before Republican opponent Jake LaTurner surpassed her. 

“I heard the remarks about everything people have done in this county for the election and it was extraordinary,” Francisco said.