With 24 percent reporting by 8 p.m., Liz Watson was declared the winner of the 9th Congressional District race by multiple news sources.
Liz Watson and her campaign team, along with a crowd of about 60 people, waited with pizza and beer Tuesday night in the upstairs room of Nick’s English Hut to see if she would defeat challengers Dan Canon and Rob Chatlos in the Democratic primary for U.S. House Indiana’s 9th Congressional district.
They didn’t have to wait long.
Jordan Kehrt, a staff member on Watson's campaign, said he was shocked at how early the race was called. They thought it was too early, with not even half of the precincts reporting before 8 p.m.
But by 8:10 p.m., with 53 percent of 571 precincts reporting, Politico called the race for Watson.
Staff members said they were confused when they started seeing news outlets, including Politico, WTHR and the New York Times, all calling Watson the winner before 8 p.m. The crowd celebrated, watching WTHR call the race for Watson, and staff members scrambled to check results. Once the confusion lifted, the hugging started. One woman started dancing around the Attic.
Watson arrived to the watch party 30 minutes before she was declared the winner. She walked around to each table, joking and hugging her friends and supporters while taking photos with a smile on her face the whole time.
She said this was an exciting moment. She emphasized everything they all care about was at stake.
"It's time to send a working mom to Congress who will fight for us." Watson said in her victory speech.
She said she wanted to be clear that unions are the backbone of the middle class, and unions are the backbone of the Democratic party.
"Young men and women decided to put their trust in me for Indiana, and I am so grateful for that," Watson said. "And we are going to work together to flip this district."
She said those in Congress shouldn't be lining their pockets. Rather, they ought to be making investments in the 9th district, investments in people, she said.
"The truth is that Trey Hollingsworth is everything that's wrong with our Congress right now," Watson said looking ahead to the race in November. "He's in it for himself."
At the end of her speech, she called Hollingsworth out, saying he has not held a single town hall during his campaign.
She asked the crowd if they wanted to be represented.
"Yes!" They responded.
"Right here right now I am inviting Trey Hollingsworth to debate me." Watson said. The crowd chanted her name until they broke out into applause.
"Liz! Liz! Liz!" The room repeated over and over.
"I'll tell you what," Watson said. "We're just getting started. We are building a movement in southern Indiana, to get the representation we deserve, and we are all in this together."
"Oh where, oh where has Trey Hollingsworth gone?" The room sang. "Oh where, oh where can he be?"