Most media organizations get it all wrong when they cover election night parties. Too much focus is given on acceptance speeches and when a defeated opponent is ready to concede. Newsmen struggle with television crews in an orgy of celebrity humping, trying to listen as a politician thanks supporters and family and all the people who worked so hard on their campaign.
A good reporter will strike out off the well-beaten path of inverse pyramid AP style reporting and get some of the juicier bits of news. Here are a few overheard gems at the Susan Hutchison election party in Bellevue last night.
Don't Cry For Me Medina: It was curious to see how little empathy there was among the Republican Bellevue elites (detractors in the state GOP call them the Bellevue Mafia). Last November, at the same party, there was open weeping in the crowd when it became apparent that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin lost her bid to become the nation's first female Vice President and that Dino Rossi had lost the governor's race, yet again, to Christine Gregoire. Two or three folks were kind of sad Sen. John McCain lost too.
Maybe a long string of electoral defeats has hardened the hearts of local GOP faithful. Or maybe they just weren't expecting Hutchison to win.
The one surprise is just how poorly the former KIRO television news anchor did in the initial showing. With only 42.76 percent of vote tallied so far (Hutchison ain't conceding yet), she is doing barely three percent better than 2005 runner-up David Irons, Jr who only managed 39.57 percent of the vote against Democratic incumbent Ron Sims.
Update: Make that 42.26 percent of the vote with the latest count released by King County Elections. Hutchison dropped a half a percent which is in keeping with the 2005 trend. I'm not in the business of making predictions but one suspects a concession speech coming soon.
Despite being "non-partisan", with name recognition out the ying-yang and running against a rather generic career politician, she is doing little better than Irons, Jr, whose run for office is probably only remembered for a last minute slimejob over whether he did or didn't beat his mother.
Speaking Of Last Minute Slimejobs: Not surprisingly, there was a bit of rancor directed towards the Seattle Times for not having the guts to print a story about Dow Constantine's "sexual harrassment scandal". Our own Laura Onstot was one of the few reporters in the region who had the moxie to dig into the story to get the truth of the matter. Although it was an interesting little journalism trade story that "Jane Doe" got a restraining order against the Times, there was no scandal involved.
That didn't stop the faithful - including Republican state chairman Luke Esser - from droning on and on about the scandal, media bias and how the news should have gotten the story out earlier.
Here's the deal. Dow Constantine could have a harem on the county payroll and voters in King County wouldn't care. That doesn't make it right, but them's the breaks. This isn't the 1990s anymore and sex scandals don't work. Unless the candidate in question happens to be a Republican. It's going to take a different tactic for conservatives to win in King County.
What were they smoking?:
The voters in Maine gave the thumbs down to a same-sex marriage proposal passed by its legislature last year by a 53 percent margin . Conversely, a proposal expanding the access of medical marijuana was passing by 62 percent.
Getting the news from one of the few people who had Internet access via an iPhone - no surprise, it was a member of the King County Young Republicans with that there new-fangled technology - he expressed a bit of surprise at the results.
"So let me get this right. You have a bunch of stoned hippies that want to smoke more pot. But they draw the line at two guys getting married. How does that make sense?"
Speaking to the YRs, about a dozen of them, there was an even split between those who voted for R-71, those who voted against and those who didn't vote for the Referendum at all. Quite frankly, my dear, none of them really gave damn one way or other about the issue. The government has better things to do.
About Gay Marriage: Being a third and fourth generation Washingtonian, the concept of an East Coast Bias is well-ingrained into the soul of this hicktown reporter. So it is no surprise that national media organizations like the Associated Press, New York Times and the Drudgereport are completely ignoring the results of R-71. To be sure, the race is still mathematically up in the air and ballots from across the state (particularly Pierce County) have yet to be fully tabulated.
Update: Although the trend is in favor of R-71 backers. The measure has expanded its lead by 51.86 percent.
But why all the hype about gay marriage failing in Maine but nary a peep over its success here? Seattlepi.com's curmudgeonly columist Joel Connely ponders the same.
The answer is probably self evident. For all the patting of our backs that we do for being smart enough to be born in Seattle (or for moving up here in the case of all you Californians) Washington state is regarded as the freaking boondocks by most Americans. World Class City indeed.
No Television: It might seem like it was the 1930s when a Republican, stealth or otherwise, was elected King County Executive. (It wasn't quite that long, I know) So there must have been a spirit of nostalgia why Hutchison organizers refused to even have a single television on at their party.
Afterall, who needs to watch election results at an election party on election night? Because of this, once again, the election night party at the Bellevue Hyatt was an information black hole. Last year, Internet access at the joint as down. Talk about swanky.
It led one unnamed statewide initiative backer (Tim - cough - Eyman - cough) to wonder about the "fucking" competance of team when they couldn't even put up one "fucking" television with the news on. Nor was that the only instance of that sentiment, although maybe not so forcibly put.
"What did they do, spend it all their television money at the Rossi party?" Eyman asked.
... It Is Who Counts The Votes: It was another election night party in King County. So that means another round of wise cracks about the King County Elections printing or finding or miscounting ballots at a Republican campaign party.
After five years, the joke still isn't old. At least not to the old blue hairs who run the Grand Old Party.
The odds are long that Susie (as she's known by her friends) will pull this off. Maybe a "V" style alien invasion will destroy the King County Elections office before the votes are tabulated. One can pray.
But what will be interesting is how the race to be called Mayor "M" will unfold. It's practically a tie so far. Both McGinn and Mallahan are far left liberals who are practically the same on most issues. To use a little bit of Seattle history to distinguish the two, one would guess that McGinn is probably more likely to throw a newspaper kiosk through a Starbucks store window. While Mallahan would probably be more likely to be hit in the face with a bullhorn.
If the race does go to a recount, one shudders with anticipation to see what vote fraud conspiracy theories come out of the Emerald City. Which candidate would the elections office be more inclined to rig the vote in favor of?