Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Escape From MPR

As in 2006, my MPR liveblog experience was a little like going to Madison to see the Gophers play Wisconsin, and sitting in the middle of the Wisconsin stands — in a luxury skybox, but still on the Wisconsin side.

After McCain's concession speech and right as Obama began his, I left the fifth floor UBS Forum in downtown Saint Paul for the Sheraton Bloomington (formerly the Radisson South). Several differences between the two venues were obvious:
  • All of the video monitors were showing election coverage from Fox News
  • Being a partisan event, there were Republican campaign signs everywhere
  • There was a large media pit and stages for television remote broadcasts
  • A wider range of ages present, with lots of men in suits and ties, and lots of young ladies in heels and cocktail dresses — and campaign staff with their cell phones and BlackBerrys
  • Cash bars and lots of food, once you found the various campaign suites

Even though it was late, I ran into a lot of my cronies from various campaigns. Jeff Johnson was enjoying his election to the Hennepin County Board. The irrepressible Laura from Sue Jeffers's gubernatorial campaign was celebrating one of the Minnesota House victories. I managed to find Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN6) campaign party, and wish her well, several minutes before she made her acceptance speech before the die-hard crowd and media, after midnight. I was happy to find a few other of my fellow BPOU campaign volunteers still there. I'm not sure, but I think that I saw Sarah Janecek enter the building as I was leaving, just as Erik Paulsen delivered his acceptance speech for the Third Congressional District race.

Going up to Erik Paulsen's suite on the twentieth floor was deja vu from 2002, when a bunch of us partied in Jim Ramstad's suite (it even might have been the same room). Other than that, I did the usual wandering around looking for friends, partaking of the deli trays, and finding that most had already called it a night. With Paulsen, Bachmann, and Rep. John Kline (R-MN2) all winning, hopes alive for a Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) reelection, and at least an even performance in the Minnesota House, the mood was upbeat despite the McCain-Palin loss.

Michele Bachmann victory speech (Photo: Laura Gatz)Photo by Laura Gatz

The highlight for me was definitely Michele Bachmann's triumphant acceptance speech, very exciting and a vindication for Bachmann, with the requisite TV cameras and bright lights, and supporters waving large campaign signs. One of the handwritten signs held up said "Nice Try, Chris Matthews."

I heard Paulsen's speech on the radio on the way home around 1:40 am. I had to work today.

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