RALEIGH—The air of anticipation turned into one of giddy celebration soon after news broke that North Carolina belonged to the Republican Party.

The North Carolina Republican Party gathered at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley Tuesday night to watch election results unfold. In a massive ballroom decked with signs for Republican incumbent governor Pat McCrory and flanked by two giant screens broadcasting Fox News, a crowd of more than 500 eagerly awaited good news. By the end of the night, as news broke that Republican nominee Donald Trump had won the state’s electoral college votes and that incumbent senator Richard Burr won re-election, speakers from North Carolina GOP leadership appeared onstage to cheers.

“The people of North Carolina showed the pundits who is in charge of North Carolina, the grassroots,” said state party chairman Robin Hayes, Trinity ‘67, shortly after Trump won in the state. “North Carolina was and is a red state.”

At the beginning, speakers focused more on state-level races, and there was a conspicuous lack of Trump signage on the official stage.

However, as the night went on, the speakers from GOP leadership grew more confident, and the crowd followed their lead. After Burr’s win was announced, a spokesperson claimed “the news is very good across the board.”

Later, GOP speakers referred to the gubernatorial race being “very close.”

The uncertainty about the gubernatorial race put a damper on an otherwise boisterous crowd. The event was formally billed as “Governor McCrory’s victory celebration,” and when McCrory appeared after midnight to explain the delay, the crowd booed the news. This also appeared to catch the NC GOP off guard, as their speakers had begun the party by getting the crowd to chant “four more years” anticipating a McCrory victory.

However, it was an electric moment when Fox News projected that Trump would win in North Carolina, and the momentum continued to build after that. When Trump was projected to win in Florida, the crowd broke out in a spontaneous chant of “drain the swamp.”

Speaking to The Chronicle, NC GOP vice chairman Michelle Nix said she was thrilled by Trump’s win in the state and that she never had a doubt about his chances.

Lori Kaitlyn Babb, a first-year at Campbell University, came to the party mostly to support McCrory, and in particular, his education spending and state surplus.

“My mom’s a teacher,” she said. “Under McCrory’s leadership, her pay has gone up.”

William Wallace, a Durham resident, voted Democrat but came to the party to support his friend who works at the governor’s office. He said he was surprised that Trump came so far, a sentiment echoed by most in the crowd.

At a cocktail table, a family had laid out a hand-drawn map of the United States with only black and white outlines. Enthusiastic children colored the states with red or blue crayons whenever the results were called. By midnight, it was a splash of bright crimson.