Ohio was called, and President Obama won a second term. The Showbox just exploded in cheers.
Here's the lowdown on the popular cocktails at the Westin—where there's a big liberal, boozy megaparty under way—according to bartenders:
Basement level, No on 1240 campaign: WHISKEY!!! (Soda for children, of course, because this is "a campaign for the children.")
Lobby level: The "Obamanator," a delightful potion of vodka and blue Curaçao served out of "elevated ice cisterns." May the record show, blue Curaçao is fucking disgusting.
Middle level, Approve R-74: Popular drink of the night so far is a good old gin and tonic, also vodka sodas.
Top level, Democrats: Generally, folks are drinking whiskey. Because they're bored to death. But the night is still young...
CNN projects Obama to win California, Oregon, and Washington. But don't worry, Republicans! Romney has "expanded" his "map" to include Idaho!
The SECB ran into Seattle mayor Mike McGinn and his daughter on the way into the Approve R-74 party.
How are you feeling about tonight, Mr. Mayor?
"I'm more optimistic than pessimistic."
What are you drinking?
Club soda? What kind of Democrat are you?
"I am a healthy, clean-living, reporter-wary Democrat. Also, I don't drink on the job."
It was a good fight, way better than expected, but Democrats couldn't pull out North Carolina out this year.
The SECB showed up to Sur Nightclub in SODO—which we were told would be a party full of people who wanted to defeat I-502, the marijuana-legalization initiative—seriously underdressed. About two dozen people glommed onto the edges of Sur's big, dark dance floor, mostly near the barely-lit bar, wearing ties and dresses.
A woman in a shiny blue dress at the front table named Stephanie (who declined to give her last name, saying it "wasn't important") informed us that the door charge was $35. Then she informed us that this wan't even a No on 502 party. "It's not a yes on 502 event, it's not a No on 502 event," Stephanie said. "Everyone here has their own opinions and not all those opinions are the same."
Was she a supporter of 502?
"I'm keeping my mouth shut," she demurred, and told SECB that this was, in fact, a medical cannabis benefit for for the Austen Everett Foundation and the Caroline G Welch Fund.
How did we get the idea this was an anti-502 event? Steve Sarich from the anti-502 campaign, she said, would be coming with some of his supporters shortly.
In short: The crowd is small. The room is dark. The music is mellow dance-club. The people are well-dressed. The house wine is $7 a glass. (But the bartenders pour generously.) The food is election-nighty: veggies, pita, hummus, some shrimps on slices of cucumber. The excitement is non-existent.
The SECB committed a faux pas right away by pronouncing incumbent King County sheriff Steve Strachan's name "Strackin." It's actually pronounced "Stran," like "strand" without the "d." The crowd at Bombay Bistro skews 50+ and is all white and devastatingly complimentary to The Stranger."The Stranger endorsement was HUGE for Steve," said his wife, Sue. Sheriff Strachan for his part was surprised by the presence of a KOMO journalist and cameraman. "I didn't think we were that important," he said. Supporter Mike Heinisch declared that Strachan, if re-elected, would build "a model sheriff's office," with plans to add 14 deputies.
In other news, it smells quite good in this joint.
Hotel Andra, home of the PARTY TO LEGALIZE MARIJUANA IN WASHINGTON STATE, is heating up. This is not your stereotypical stoner crowd—men in blazers with wilted collars and women in cardigans crowd the stuffy room. But the buffet is a stoner's paradise: We've got freshly grilled pita bread, some unpronounceable cheese kabobs, chicken kabobs, feta salads, coffee, booze, and little cloud pies that you want to stick on the tip of your fingers and then suck off.
- Victoria Holt
We asked a woman in line for cheese kabobs (her third round of cheese kabobs) if she's high right now. It seems like perfectly fine icebreaker at a pro-pot party but she's offended. "That's not really your business," she tells us. "Hey, no judgment—we hear it's the sensible choice for a new approach for Washington," we joke. She frowns.
"So... do you ever smoke pot?" We ask, still hoping to draw her into a conversation about why she's here, at this pro-pot campaign party, eating round after round of fancy fried cheese on a stick. "Just who are you?" she asks us. "We're a reporter," we say. "That's why our name tag says, REPORTER."
Whatever, lady. If you're too engrossed in free cheese to read name tags, that's answer enough for us.
Well! That was certainly expected.
The atmosphere at the party for Gael Tarleton, who's running for state representative in the 36th District, is subdued in the extreme. It is in a small conference room on the second floor of the Andra Hotel. There are three other people here—they are checking results, pulling vocally for Obama, on their iPhones and Blackberries. They're excited about the win of Elizabeth Warren. There's a small but attractive spread of snacks by Tom Douglas, aka T-Doug. Did the SECB mention SUBDUED? The candidate isn't here yet. Now four more people have arrived. They all know each other. The SECB feels understandably uncomfortable. They just dimmed the lights.
Here's the scene at the King County GOP event at the Bellevue Hyatt: Drinks are $10 a glass and the only black person is one bartender. But really the primary ethnicity here is blonde. Rows of people with actual press passes are sitting inside at long tables with Internet access. The SECB does not have a seat. It's not red, white, and blue here at the Bellevue Hyatt Evergreen ballroom, these are money Republicans—looking smug and couture. The ballroom is filled with minor Republican candidates who can smell next season's campaign donors and shitty pop music. The headliner—gubernatorial hopeful Rob McKenna—has yet to arrive and the SECB is staying safely away from the dance floor and the beat-less tapping stilettos therein until he shows.
Part chair Kirby Wilbur is emceeing and he just announced, "I'm sorry they don't have Fox here."
The crowd chorused, "boo!"
Reversing the trend in New England, gay marriage now narrowly leads in both Maine and Maryland—the land of marrying, people!—but by less than four points in both states. In Colorado, with about 20 percent of precincts currently reporting, marijuana legalization leads by about seven points.
"The rape guy lost" "Which one?" Your party has serious issues if people have to ask "Which one?" #GOP #itstheTwentyFirstCentury
— Alex (@AlexCarpenter) November 7, 2012
The calm before the drama in a big hotel ballroom is so weird. Bartenders sit around chatting and absentmindedly playing with drink tickets, arranging bottles, cracking jokes. Reporters are glued to their phones or laptops or just wandering aimlessly. The TV people are sitting or standing in front of their crazy-bright TV lights wearing too much makeup. Other spotlights are on the shiny black curtains behind the podium, and there are empty silver risers that eventually the wall of supporters will stand on, so that the pictures and video everyone takes will have a backdrop of people. The soundtrack is terrible for the emptyish room—party songs with no party. Right now it's Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling." A few children roll around on the carpeting, totally oblivious. There's a reporter in a headset talking into a big camera, then the live feed of him on TV 15 feet away. Until any serious results come in, it's just an incredibly high-ceilinged room full of really nervous people in Seattle fancywear (button-down shirt + actually combed hair, fleece over a dress, etc.) and press people (even less fancy) waiting under chandeliers for something interesting to happen.
And count us with the haters. Marianne Bichsel, a spokeswoman for the No on Charter Schools campaign, wants the SECB to know that her campaign also has a room in the Westin, "20 floors down," in the basement by the sewer, if we want to stop by for a visit. We ask Bichsel why she isn't sobbing her losses into a bucket of $9 drinks yet. "We're cautiously optimistic," she tells us. "That's loser talk!" we say. She kinda nods, which makes us sad, and then diplomatically says, "If we had spent nine million bucks to support this, like them, we'd be in a different boat."
But as it is, Bichsel's boat is leaking, she has no money to plug the holes, and no martini glass to bail with. All she's left with is a room in the basement of the Westin, right next to the sewer. There are snacks, she says. Also, principals and teachers and a few cherubic students are assembled to give good "hang in there" quotes to reporters and pose for stoic photographs.
Poor Bichsel. If we could, we'd monkey-punch Bill Gates square in the sack.
One of the best things about having congressional candidates in safe seats is the campaign money surplus at the end. Campaign surplus equals catered party! So fuck the Gardetto's and head on over to the Jim McDermott/Adam Smith party next door for fancy pizzas and smoked salmon canapes. Democracy is yummy!
- Jim McDermott, member of the Syrian opposition.
Two hungry members of the SECB ducked into "Baghdad" Jim McDermott's swank private room at the Westin, only to find ol' Jim sporting an interesting pin. "You're always looking for the strange things," he joked as a certain SECB member (can you guess who???) made straight for the congressman's smoked salmon hors d'oeuvres, downed several, and then called his mother to talk about Florida.
We rate the food here excellent. And the pin? McDermott told us it's the flag of the Syrian opposition. Love ya, Jim.
Romney keeps winning states he would never own a home in.
— Laurie Kilmartin (@anylaurie16) November 7, 2012
Hey, here's some good news out of Florida:
Former Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) beat Republican opponent Todd Long and will return to the House for his second, non-consecutive term, the Associated Press reported. Grayson is remembered for his fiery temper—he once called some members of the GOP "right-wing lunatics"—and liberal politics. He will represent Florida's new and heavily Democratic 9th District. "It feels great," Grayson said Tuesday night.
Kevin and Dan tell the SECB that they've been together for seventeen years and they're hoping to get legally married on their 18th anniversary: May 25th, 2013. And they'll be able to do that if Washington state voters approve R-74. Kevin and Dan met in Indianapolis at a gay bar—all the best gay couples meet in gay bars—and moved to Washington state in 2005. "We're a small town Indiana boy and a big-city boy from California," said Dan. "And we want to get married."
Here's National Review editor Jonah Goldberg, whose Twitter feed is getting more and more entertaining as the evening goes on:
Ooof. CBS call New Hampshire for Obama.
— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) November 7, 2012
Oh, and that Elizabeth Warren thing? MSNBC just called the Massachusetts Senate race for Warren. So there's that.
Early results in Colorado show Amendment 64, the initiative to legalize marijuana, leading 54 to 46 percent, the Denver Post reports. Still, these results are preliminary so keep those bongs covered for now.
Man, if Republicans keep expanding the map like this, they'll be losing elections in Canada.
NOBODY MSNBC HAS CALLED IT FOR ELIZABETH WARREN!!!
Now we have (we think) good information! YAY!!! Dan just announced that "it appears" that Elizabeth Warren is ahead here at the Showbox. That was based on bad information from ThinkProgress, who says:
CORRECTION: No calls on Warren or Baldwin races yet that we know of yet. Will be more careful moving forward. Lots of bad info out there.
— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) November 7, 2012
We also apologize. See if we ever trust ThinkProgress again.
Important news: The SECB is currently avoiding face-planting into this gay cake near the R-74 party at the Westin, if only for the sake of decency and respect (not our usual MO, you understand). No one was even guarding it. All it's missing is another tiny cake baked inside! What does equality and justice taste like? Perhaps we will find out later tonight. For now, we will continue to live-blog our heroic resistance to rainbow-colored sugar. DEMOCRACY!!!
The R-74 party has free Gardetto's mix on the tables, while upstairs at the WA Dems party, nada. Hey, thanks for the snacks, Jeff Bezos! Your $2.5 million was well spent!
The early results on Question 6 and Question 1, the respective ballot measures to legalize gay marriage in Maryland and Maine, are far too scant to make any real predictions. But here are the results so far: In Maryland, it's leading 53 to 47 percent, with only 19 precincts reporting; in Maine, it trails 46 to 54—but with only two precincts reporting. This isn't enough data to mean anything—yet. But stay tuned and knock on wood with your fingers crossed and all that.
The Reject 74 campaign office is in a tiny storefront of the Sunquist plaza in Lynnwood. A floor above them is a dental office. Around the corner is a red illuminated sign that reads "Nails & Wax." It started spitting rain when the SECB arrived at 5:15 and storm clouds colored the last of the daylight. Ominous.
The Stranger was the first news organization to show up. Shortly thereafter, Q13 and The Seattle Times reporters also arrived. There were kids, everywhere. Women were bringing in food and the men were standing around shifting weight from foot to foot looking at a county map of Florida. This was clearly a family affair.
"We might not know the results tonight, but it's ok to gather with like minded people," said Chip White.
Limp blue paper spirals and stars hung from the ceiling and red white and blue balloons bobbed around. We were hugged, campaign officials tried to buy us coffee. They're either happy this is over or just real nice people.
"With everything else that's going on right now it's hard to say [if we're going to win]," said Ginny Chapman, a volunteer and self-proclaimed campaign mama.
Good luck with expanding the map, Willard.
Fox News calls PA senate race for Bob Casey...
— National Review (@NRO) November 7, 2012
CNN is reporting that the Republicans are projected to hold the House.
If you are in line at the bar at the Showbox, STAY IN LINE. They have to serve you! So long as you are in line! Drink up!
This is Katie Trent, 30. She bought her shirt online. She says: "I basically feel like its in the bag" for Obama. "What means the most to me is health care for everybody. So the presidential race is important to me. And it's also why I'm so anti-McKenna."
RT @alex_ogle: RT @dailyintel: NBC NEWS CALLS MASSACHUSETTS SENATE RACE FOR ELIZABETH WARREN
— daveweigel (@daveweigel) November 7, 2012
How's turnout looking in King County?
Really strong. We have 600,000 ballots in that have already been validated and our elections director tells me that we're on track to count a half million of those ballots tonight. Strong turnout in King County bodes well for marriage, marijuana reform, Jay Inslee, and other Democratic candidates. Our system of all mail-in ballots helps us to avoid the last-second headaches they're seeing in Florida. And on top of that we've had a lot of employee-driven reform at the county, which has cut 40% off the time it used to take to count ballots. We have a more modern, more efficient system.
Looking forward to getting gay married?
No, but I'm am looking forward to signing the first marriage licenses for same-sex couples on December 6—if the thing passes. We have to get the thing passed. So go vote, if you haven't already.
The SECB's ballots are counted first. So are you looking forward to get high for the first time?
Yes! First time ever! And I'm really glad that the marijuana measure looks like it's going to pass. Drug prohibition has caused untold misery and done immense damage to our legal system. And it's time to start treating this as a public health issue rather than a criminal issue. When we legalize marijuana we'll be defunding street gangs, we'll be defunding international drug cartels, we'll be bringing this economy to the surface where it can be regulated and taxed. It's a good thing.
An ex-Marine informed us that some of the flags we have hanging on our tables onstage at the Showbox were oriented in an unconstitutional way. The stars must be at starboard, apparently, or we can and shall be keel-hauled? Miraculous techperson Erin has made the appropriate patriotic adjustments. All hail!
Michigan, New Jersey and New York have been called by most outlets for Obama. Romney is projected to win Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, at least three of Nebraska's electoral votes, the Dakotas, and Wyoming.
An impreMedia-Latino Decisions election eve poll to be released in full later Tuesday evening will show President Barack Obama with more than 73 percent of the Latino vote, according to a source familiar with the numbers but unauthorized to discuss them publicly before the release.
If those numbers hold, that's higher than even President Clinton, the previous elected official with the highest percentage of the Latino vote.
Dick Morris, the awful Republican pollster who predicted that Romney would win the Electoral College with eleventy-billion EVs, now tweets:
#election201260% of Florida in, down by 2.worried
— Dick Morris (@DickMorrisTweet) November 7, 2012
Another PA voting machine awarding Obama votes to Romney:
County officials have found another Romney-loving robot: A faulty electronic voting machine in Union County, Pennsylvania, has been recalibrated and put back online after it wouldn't allow a vote for President Obama, Mother Jones has confirmed.
Earlier today, MJ reported on another incident this morning in Perry County, Pennsylvania, in which a voting computer's touchscreen ballot converted all Obama votes into votes for Romney. The second machine came to light after a local college professor found he couldn't cast his vote for Obama on it.
"I spoke with a poll worker there and saw her fold up the machine. I also called [a national wattchdog hotline] to report the incident," said Andy Hirsch, director of media communications at Bucknell University, who posted a video of the machine's malfunction on Vimeo after it failed to record his ballot choices.
Funny how voting machines never "malfunction" the other way around, huh?
Jenna Ryan, 26, and Michelle Loveless, 24—the two on the left—think Referendum 74 is going to pass. They came to the Showbox together tonight. They have been dating for two years. Asked how she feels, Michelle said, "It's exciting. It's crazy that we might have the option to get married eventually, if we want to. By the power of the people."
Jenna and Michelle "met through a vinyl record," Michelle tells the SECB. The record was Monsters of Folk, by the supergroup that includes Jim James, Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis, and M. Ward. Michelle says, "I was actually on a date with somebody else, and the girl was really lame, and I drank a bunch, and I went to the record store and bought the album and then went back to the bar, and Jenna was like, 'What are you carrying around?' And she'd bought that album a week before." Awww, cute!! "I actually proposed to her that night as well," Michelle says. "I mean it was just a joke." But if Referendum 74 passes? Who knows!!
Chris Murphy has beaten Linda McMahon for the Connecticut seat. This is good news, especially because McMahon was using a sleazy last-minute disinformation campaign to convince voters that she supported President Obama, when she's totally just a pro-wrestling-funding Republican.
Also, Romney wins Arkansas. Boo. Expected, but boo.
Maryland marriage results still incoming, but holding 10-point lead. #LGBTvote Will Maryland make history tonight?
— The Advocate (@TheAdvocateMag) November 7, 2012
Romney wins Mississippi. Angus King is now the independent senator from Maine. (The SECB admits to more than a fair share of fondness for Angus King, who is one of those independents who is actually a decent human being who votes his conscience. He was a good governor, and he'll probably be a very good—and very important—senator.)
Watching FOX News, where they are all but conceding the race already. Love it.
— Sandeep Kaushik (@skaushik100) November 7, 2012
At least one member of the SECB is too sick to drink—here's a hint—and, according to sources close to this particular member of the SECB, he isn't sure how he will get through the night without the aid of alcohol. Sources indicate that this particular member of the SECB has been a basket case all day and is rumored to have run out of Vicodin late last night. The results coming in from Florida, where Obama is up by a single percentage point, are a particular torment to this SECB member.
The SECB's old buddy David "Davey Boy" Boardman writes:
King County's turnout projected to be an astounding 87 percent, higher than 2008's 84. #waelex
— David Boardman (@dlboardman) November 7, 2012
This could be good news for the state initiatives, depending on how the vote goes east of the mountains.
Obama remains up by a hair in both Florida and North Carolina, with exit polls saying these states are too close to call. More encouraging, Obama appears to be doing well in the districts he needs to do well in. Romney absolutely can't win without both FL and NC. If it's too close to call there, that bodes well for Obama.
President Obama is projected to win Connecticut, Maine, Delaware, Rhode Island, Washington DC, Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts.
Mitt Romney is projected to win Oklahoma, Tennessee, and probably a bunch of other red states.
Massachusetts goes for Obama. No one is surprised, least of all Mitt Romney.
Virginia has hit the pause button on reporting results because so many voters are still in line.
First numbers from Ohio look good, but they're just first numbers:
RT @jimheath10tv: First count from Ohio: Obama 383,700 66%, Romney 190,383 33%. Per SOS
— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) November 7, 2012
Obama leads in FL 52-48.Oh my gay nerves!
— JoeMyGod (@JoeMyGod) November 7, 2012
The first upset of the night may be brewing in the Indiana governor's race, where Republican favorite Mike Pence is clinging to a small lead over Democrat John Gregg before the most Democratic districts have reported. Pence is doing somewhat better than Republican US Senate nominee Richard "Rape Babies Are God's Will" Mourdock, but both are trailing Romney's tally by a longshot, and both look like they're likely headed to defeat.
NBC says Romney wins South Carolina. And the AP says Eric Cantor has unsurprisingly won his race, which means we'll continue to enjoy his presence on the national scene for at least 2 more years.
This is the line outside Showbox at the Market, where the SECB is getting ready for our election night party. We're chugging Four Loko. But there's still plenty of room in here. It's free! Fret with us!
CNN reports that Romney wins West Virginia. At some point, something interesting will probably happen tonight.
The Huffington Post reports that a Georgia congressional candidate who called the Big Bang and evolution "lies from the pit of hell" has won his race. Somewhere, Bill Nye pours himself a giant whiskey and shudders.
Exit polls should be taken with a chunk of salt, but according to Josh Marshall at TPM:
The gist is that the first round exit polls show most of the key swing states at about exactly where the poll averages were.
That is encouraging. Or rather, that's not discouraging. Also, the exit polls show the demographics of the electorate looking more like 2008 than 2010 or 2004, with Hispanics now comprising 10 percent of the total vote, up from 9 percent in 2008. That's good news for Dems.
In Virginia, the Obama campaign is sending out urgent text messages requesting volunteers to "make sure everyone who's still in line gets to vote." If you're in Virginia and you're in line to vote: Stay in line. You will get to vote. If anyone tells you that's not true, they're lying.
ABC is calling Kentucky and Indiana for Romney. ABC is also calling Vermont for Obama. TWIST!
Ha ha, no not really. In other news, Virginia is at a 49-49 tie, according to CNN.
All sorts of exit polling has hit Twitter in the last hour. Joel Connelly at the PI says a new CBS exit poll indicates voters believe the economy is their most important issue: "39 percent said economic conditions are getting better, 31 percent answered that the economy is getting worse, with 23 percent saying it will stay the same." Only 46 percent of the voters say that America is on the “Right Track.” You could interpret these numbers as positives or negatives for whichever candidate you prefer, and you would not be wrong. It's also important to remember that exit polls had John Kerry in the lead in 2004. So, in short: The Stranger Election Control Board would like to remind you to keep calm and take all this information with a grain of salt.
Also on Twitter is this piece of information:
CNN Exclusive: @peterhambycnn reports Romney campaign's internal polling in Ohio shows Obama up 5 points in crucial swing state.
— Hala Gorani (@HalaGorani) November 6, 2012
Those are not good numbers for Romney. But the thing about this kind of information is that it's really easy to fake, or to fudge, or to misrepresent. Again: We're in the part of the night when you should be very cautious about receiving new information.