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2020 Elections

Montanans Celebrate, Protest Biden's Apparent Win

People holding American and "Trump 2020" flags stand in a circle. None are wearing masks. One holds a sign that reads "Dems lie cheat + steal."
Rachel Cramer
/
Yellowstone Public Radio
Supporters of President Donald Trump gathered in Bozeman Nov. 7 following several news organizations' projection that former Vice President Joe Biden won the 2020 election.

Montanans across the state turned out in celebration and protest following several media outlets Saturday calling the presidential race for Joe Biden.

Drivers in downtown Missoula jubilantly honked their horns when news broke Saturday morning.

Shelby Gilfillan was so elated she grabbed a boom box and started an impromptu dance party on the south side of the Higgins Avenue Bridge:

"I feel like a weight’s been lifted off the country’s shoulders," she said. "Oh my gosh, my heart’s beating so fast."

Gilfillan says she believes President Trump’s loss has dealt a symbolic blow to bigotry in the United States.

Random strangers joined-in on the dancing Saturday morning, including Laxmi von Hoffmann.

von Hoffmann says Trump’s loss was the ideal antidote to the down-ballot drubbing Montana Democrats took during last week’s election.

“I was feeling really low. Now I’m feeling great!”

von Hoffmann says the Trump administration drastically weakened the nation’s environmental protections.

She’s hoping for a new approach from the incoming Biden administration.

In Billings, a dozen Biden supporters carried signs saying “Bye, Don” and “Go Joe! A return to decency,” garnering honks and thumbs up from passersby.

Amelia Marquez, who ran unsuccessfully for state legislature in 2018, says while Montana Democrats have a long four years ahead of them after getting swept in every statewide race, she’s celebrating the momentous occasion of the first woman of color to be elected Vice President.

"We just wanted a moment to come together as a community and party it up a little bit," Marquez said.

A woman stands on the side of 27th St. in downtown Billings holding a homemade sign that reads "Go Joe! A return to decency."
Nicky Ouellet
Supporters of President-elect Joe Biden wave American flags and signs outside the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings Nov. 7, 2020.

Later in the evening a smattering of fireworks lit the Magic City sky.

Elsewhere in Montana, where Trump beat Biden by 16 percentage points, jubilation mixed with protest.

In Bozeman, a couple dozen people waved American and Trump 2020 flags outside the Gallatin County Courthouse. Some wore Make America Great Again hats; others carried signs reading “Dems lie, cheat and steal” and “a fair election equals no voter fraud.”

Naomi Shields led a group in prayer after the group marched down Main Street.

“We decided to show up here today because I feel like, and a lot of us feel like the media is trying to determine before the actual votes are fully, officially in," Shields said.

Shields said news outlets need to be held accountable for projecting the presidential winner.

“What if it’s taken to court, then what if say Trump is officially in because of the voter fraud possibilities because of the voter fraud possibilities.”

The Associated Press has been calling presidential races for more than 100 years.

NPR reports Trump has not conceded the race and has alleged, without evidence, widespread voter fraud, vowing to challenge the election in court.

Outside the state capitol building in Helena, Angel Glass was the last of an estimated hundred-plus supporters who showed up for President Donald Trump on Saturday.

The Army veteran drove about three-and-a-half hours from Billings after hearing on right-wing media personality Alex Jones’ show there would be nationwide protests against massive alleged voter fraud. Holding signs her kids made, Glass has no doubt Trump will thwart what she calls a Democratic effort to steal the country.

“He is our president, he’s going to stay our president for four more years. He’s not going to concede," Glass said. "His supporters are not going to lay down and take this. We’re going to fight back. And we’re going to be here for him and be here for our country."

Edward O’Brien, Rachel Cramer, Kevin Trevellyan, Nicky Ouellet, Shaylee Ragar and Aaron Bolton contributed to this report.