Date: November 07 2012
Red and blue balloons and life-size cardboard cut-outs of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama greet guests as they file through a body scanner and into the US election party.
Jon Paul Gauthier is vice-president of the Australian American Association and has proudly pinned a Romney badge to his suit jacket.
The former radio broadcaster moved from Atlanta to Australia 14 years ago and describes himself as a hardcore Republican.
He is one of a handful of Republicans at the US Consulate and American Chamber of Commerce election party at Bobby McGee's on Exhibition Street, Melbourne.
"Romney, because of his resume, his background, knows how to create jobs," he said.
"By cutting taxes on small businesses and big businesses that will make them more profitable. By doing that they will be more confident about hiring people. I've never been offered a job by a poor person."
He frequently swipes his iPad for Fox News updates because the CNN coverage blaring from three big screens is "pretty left-wing".
"It's going to be close. I'm not psychic but I hope Romney wins. I think Ohio is going to be the caller on this."
At the Railway Hotel in South Melbourne the mood is tense.
Beers are being sipped rather than skoled and people's eyes don't veer far from the televisions posted in every corner.
Democrat Kathleen McNamara, 54, from Buffalo, New York, moved to Australia in April to be with her fiance.
She says she is praying for a landslide but expects the result to be much closer.
In her enthusiasm she knocks over a life-size Barack Obama but quickly props him up against a chair.
"He needs support," she says.
New Yorker Eric Williams, 59, has been in Australia for four years as a correspondent for Pacifica Radio and has the Akubra to prove it.
"If Romney wins I'm not going back," he says, citing the importance of healthcare and two or three likely appointments to the Supreme Court.
Some are taking Obama's "Forward" slogan a little far.
"Clinton-Warren 2016!" one woman yells after Democrat Elizabeth Warren was declared the winner in her Massachusetts senate race.
Back at Bobby McGee's the mood is upbeat as the predominantly Democratic crowd grows in confidence.
American expat Samuel Baker, who studies international studies at Monash University, has voted for Obama.
"He represents my values and I am fully in agreeance with his progressive agenda, particularly on social issues, which I think override any economic matter that is at hand," he says.
The Californian expects Obama will win.
"I plan on staying here for the day and will go out to celebrate later. I am that confident."
US consul-general Mary Warlick mingles with the crowd. Guests include former senator from Kansas Donald Betts and commentator Waleed Aly.
Democrat Josh Bendat, 20, from upstate New York says any Republicans can head down to the Railway Hotel in South Melbourne.
"They are welcome," he says, "but I don't want them booing Obama and causing mayhem."
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