Barack Obama's local supporters believe their candidate vaulted himself into frontrunner status among the Democrats.
Republicans backing Mike Huckabee say that subduing a better-funded opponent will deliver the momentum needed to emerge from a crowded GOP field.
But as they watched returns trickle in from Iowa Thursday night, York County volunteers working for candidates who didn't win issued a stern reminder: The race is still far from complete.
"We've still got to keep on our game plan," said Rock Hill's Joyce Knott, a regional coordinator for Hillary Clinton. "She has a long plan ahead, and it's not just one of the caucuses. She looks great to me, and she knows there's work to do."
Still, Obama's supporters said the eight-point margin of victory bodes well for their campaign.
"Young people came out, women came out," said Linda Dyer Hart, an Obama team leader in Tega Cay. "And independents. I don't think anyone's seen anything quite like the momentum that's going to come out of tonight. When they (undecided voters) see how many people went for him, they'll know he can win."
The news networks declared Huckabee the winner around 9 p.m., about an hour after a dozen York County volunteers finished making phone calls on his behalf.
"I told you we'd win by 10 percent," said a satisfied Joe St. John of Fort Mill. "When I got on this (campaign), everybody thought I was half nuts. They said the guy can't win. I always thought he could. Even with all the negative attacks he's come under, he's kept his message solid."
Romney backers sought to portray Thursday night's result as the first stage in a battle that will stretch on.
"We knew he (Huckabee) was going to win Iowa probably three or four days ago," said Henry Eldridge, former chairman of the York County Republicans. "They do things a lot different in Iowa than they do in New Hampshire. The bottom line is it's just the first lap in a 50-lap race. Tune in, it's going to be interesting."
Obama's margin noted
For Winthrop University political scientist Karen Kedrowski, the biggest surprise of the night was Obama's margin over Clinton and Edwards.
"I had expected it to be closer, maybe a two- or three-point spread," said Kedrowski. "He's an African-American campaigning in a state that's 97 percent white, and he's winning rather decisively. I think that is pretty significant in what it promises for the general election."
Edwards loyalists aren't ready to look that far ahead, though their candidate pinned his hopes almost entirely on an early win.
"It's not over yet, friend," said Fort Mill's Everett Boone, an 88-year-old retired federal employee. "I know he's disappointed. But I still think he's the best man. I'm still going to leave my sign up in my front yard."
The same sentiment goes for Park Gillespie of Clover, who is working for Republican Fred Thompson.
"He lives to fight another day, which is good news," Gillespie said. "For me as a Thompson fan, that definitely takes us to South Carolina, which is where we're strongest. You've got a five-way race now."
Iowa no president-maker
On the Republican side, Kedrowski agreed the results add little clarity to a still unsettled field. She cautioned not to draw too many conclusions, given that only two candidates have won Iowa and then gone on to the White House -- Jimmy Carter in 1976 and George W. Bush in 2000.
"Iowa has a pretty darn poor record of actually predicting the final nominee," she said. "Iowa is important because, at last, the news media have something concrete to count. It's important, (but) not necessarily because it's a great predictor of the final outcome."