November 03, 2004

2004 Election Night Running Diary

(Note: this was all written in order and in real time, and edited only for punctuation at the time of posting):

I voted at about 8:45 this morning at my precinct on 109th St. I voted straight-ticket Democrat (Kerry/Schumer/Rangel), except for judges; I also voted for Daniel O’Donnell (Rosie’s lookalike, also-gay brother) for State Assembly, and then saw him on the street a few minutes later. No “voter fraud” that I could see.

I followed the exit polls on Drudge and elsewhere all day, and enter the night with a VERY good feeling about Kerry. But I’m not getting my hopes up yet…

7:30: Chris Matthews says he has a “big announcement” to make about Ohio- but then delays it five minutes, before declaring it “too close to call.” Also TCTC- Virginia and South Carolina- not good for Bush.

7:43: Fox says Jim Bunning- who has apparently suddenly gone senile in the last few weeks- is lagging behind in Kentucky. Bunning was the first baseball Hall of Famer to be a Senator; I’m guessing Kirby Puckett probably won’t be the second.

7:44: I don’t know whose genius idea it was to open the NBA season on Election Night, but they should be fired. I’ve never been less excited about basketball, and my team is one of the best in the league.

7:46: Kerry wins Vermont; apparently they don’t resent him as much over the Dean thing as I thought they might.

7:59: MSNBC’s playing their “going to commercial” music whenever they need to stall before calling a state. Very funny, but that’s gonna start bugging me very soon.

8:00: Numerous states just called. Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland TCTC. Kerry wins Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, Maine, Delaware, DC. Bush wins Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma. The solid blues are all Kerry, but the reds are still TCTC. Hmm.

8:05: Morton Kondracke says Oklahoma Senate candidate Tom Coburn is in trouble ‘cause he had said “lesbianism is running rampant” in the state’s schools, and that girls shouldn’t be allowed to go to the bathroom together. Shades of the first debate, everyone on Fox News looks glum- that’s a sign.

8:06: In an absolute shocker, Barack Obama has defeated Alan Keyes in Illinois. Damn, I was looking forward to Keyes’ floor speeches.

8:08: George Clooney’s dad lost his congressional race in Kentucky. On National Review's The Corner, Mark Steyn gets off one of my favorite lines of the night: “Nick Clooney is NOT George Clooney’s father. He is Rosemary Clooney’s brother. This is a conservative website.”

8:11: A bunch of senators who I’d had no idea were even running for re-election were re-elected, and no surprises. I had also forgotten Chuck Schumer was running until I got to the booth this morning.

8:14: We’ve yet to see Tim Russert’s magic dry-erase board. Probably not ‘til swing states start deciding.

8:18: Bush wins Virginia. Which wouldn’t be a surprise, except it was TCTC, and Virginia was never a swing state at any point. Ditto for North Carolina, and South Carolina.

8:35: CBS calls Tom Coburn the winner in Oklahoma, which is bad news for all you elementary school lesbians out there.

8:36: Dan Rather says “what Kerry needs right now is to make a comeback, like with Tom Brady coming off the bench.” Except that Brady is a starting player and doesn’t come off the bench. And the Patriots lost on Sunday.

8:45: In a Fox News debate over whether or not Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman looked nervous in an earlier interview with Bill Kristol, Fred Barnes nervously describes “the normal Ken Mehlman” as “the norman Ken Melvin.”

8:53: It amazes me that someone as laughable as Susan Estrich is put forward as a viable Democratic representative. She’s like the female Alan Colmes.

8:54: It’s mentioned that Colorado Senate candidate Pete Coors is the great-grandson of brewery founder Adolph Coors. If my grandfather’s name had been “Adolph,” and I went into politics, I’d be sure not to mention that to anyone, ever. Then again, I’d do the same if “Coors” were my last name.

8:57: We’re hearing about various voting-deadline extensions in Pennsylvania. Oh yay, a month from now we’ll know the names and voting patterns of individual counties in PA. Here comes 9:

9:00: Kerry wins New York, Rhode Island. Bush wins Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming. The rest TCTC.

9:03: Strange- the Minnesota/Iowa/Missouri/Arkansas/Louisiana line down the Mississippi is still uncalled. Directly next to it is the all-red line of ND, SD, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. Means nothing, except that the Big Ten is more liberal than the Big 12.

9:07: That weird vote-splitting initiative in Colorado failed; so cross that one- along with terrorism- off the “potential constitutional crisis” checklist.

9:10: The Jews in the Senate are doing well: Schumer and Feingold are both re-elected easily. Also, CBS projects the House will remain Republican.

9:14: MSNBC declares “Teen Pregnancy” has won in Florida with 65% of the vote.

9:30: Mississippi and Lousiana go for Bush. Still no Arkansas or Missouri though.

9:32: Inez Tenenbaum loses in South Carolina- taking her out of contention for the Eckstein Award.

9:34: The Magic Slate has arrived! Except now it’s a telestrator-like dry-erase board, projected onto a bigger screen. I don’t like that- the Slate’s appeal was that it’s so low-tech.

9:42: Comedy Central is showing the “Kindergarten Recount” episode of “South Park.” Perfect.

9:43: We see footage, on NBC, of hippies voting in Madison. That’s a real bipartisan area- they’ve got both Democrats and Greens.

10:00: Bush wins Utah despite 0% reporting, MSNBC says. Iowa’s too close, just like every other swing state. Nevada too. Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania all too close, and even Missouri. It’s gonna be a long night.

10:06: A couple of Senate races (Kentucky and Florida) are still too close, even though 99% of precincts are reporting. How does that work?

10:10: Wow, I was just mentioned (and linked) in a Wall Street Journal article.

10:14: Bush wins Missouri and Arkansas. Oh well.

10:18: Barack Obama delivers the evening’s first major acceptance speech. Where was Keyes’ concession?

10:33: Jim Bunning won. Damn.

10:37: Carl Cameron, who was caught uploading fake Kerry quotes to the Fox News website the other week, is with the Kerry campaign in Boston. Fair and balanced, indeed.

10:43: Jon Stewart jokes: “Michigan’s motto: ‘More Arabs Than You’d Think.’”

10:50: CBS calls Pennsylvania for Kerry. And NBC. It took almost three hours for the first swing-state to go.

10:51: Russert: “All eyes are on Ohio.” Recalls his famous quote of “Florida, Florida Florida,” at about 8:00 on Election Night 2000.

11:00: Kerry, of course, wins California and Washington. Bush wins Idaho. Barbara Boxer, Ron Wyden, and Patty Murray- all re-elected.

11:03: It remains possible at this hour that every state will go exactly the way it did in 2000.

11:11: FNC calls the Pennsylvania Senate race for Arlen Specter.

11:15: Keyes on MSNBC! Gives an analogy about “building a foundation” based on a solid rock. Is this a reference to that “house” he was living in?

11:17: Chris Matthews refers to the current Republican Illinois Senator as “Peter… what’s his name? Fitzsimmons? Fitzpatrick? Peter Fitzpatrick.” (It’s Fitzgerald).

11:23: Last 20 minutes of “The Godfather” on AMC- I think I’d rather watch this.

11:29: It’s looking like Florida for Bush. If it was two-of-three- it’s all about Ohio.

11:32: Joe Scarborough extols the virtues of former FEMA head James Lee Witt: “I loved the guy- I hugged him.”

11:34: Brokaw’s losing his voice. Bring in Brian Williams!

11:36: Carl Cameron quotes an ACT official that he doesn’t expect a network call until 1:30 AM. But then, “Campaign Carl” also quoted Kerry as calling himself a metrosexual.

11:40: Bill (a Republican): “Just like when the Red Sox led by 7 in the 9th, I'm assuming nothing.” Of course, he also could’ve said “when the Yankees led in Game 4…”

11:43: CBS calls Florida for Bush. Should’ve happened hours ago, but they were understandably gun shy after last time. Rather: “Kerry might be nailed to the wall, shirts on fire, bill collectors at door.”

12:00: It’s midnight, and no one’s won yet. It really is like one of those baseball games last week.

12:03: Kerry wins Oregon.

12:13: P. Diddy on NBC, interviewed by my girl Campbell Brown. Since the youth didn’t vote, are they all gonna die?

12:15: Ron Reagan explaining the results: “men sit in cubicles all day, and don’t feel particularly manly. But then 9/11 happened…” What the hell?

12:26: There are ten states left: Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, New Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii.

12:32: Ken Salazar wins Colorado- sorry, Karol.

12:34: After Vinter wins in Louisiana, CBS declares the Republicans keep the Senate.

12:35: At this late hour, we have our first color-changed state, as Fox calls New Hampshire for Kerry.

12:43: Michael Barone says Ohio is likely for Bush, leading Brit Hume to use the phrase “barring a Kerry upset in Alaska…” Fox indeed calls Ohio for Kerry.

12:50: MSNBC, however, looks at the numbers in Cuyahoga County (Ohio), believing that Kerry could possibly come back. Shades of 2000, if Fox jumped the gun on Ohio? Alaska closes at 1, which could be the time of Fox’s final call.

12:57: On MSNBC, they’re repeatedly tossing around the phrase “beyond the legal margin.”

1:00: NBC calls Ohio for Bush. And Fox calls Alaska for Bush- bringing him to 269. But everything has the caveat- “if the numbers hold up.”

1:12: Not that it matters, but Kerry’s leading in Wisconsin and Nevada. CBS, however, still refuses to call Ohio for Bush. So does CNN. Hmm.

1:34: Still hand-wringing about Ohio on all the networks.

1:36: Finally- Kerry wins Minnesota. That’s the result I really wanted to see. Still waiting on all the other states.

1:50: Wonkette’s on NBC! Along with my mom’s high school classmate John Hinderaker, and Joe Trippi- ugh, I just realized this will lead to the return of the very, very wrong “Dean could’ve beaten Bush” argument.

1:58: CNN says Iowa’s result will be delayed until Wednesday- due to “fatigue” on the part of election officials. WTF? Almost as embarrassing as earlier in the night, when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel -a major paper in a swing state- decided to run an election night blog, until the comically early hour of 9 PM, when the blogger complained of being “all blogged out,” and retired for the evening.

2:01: John Henry- the owner of the World Champion Boston Red Sox- has deployed his private plane for Democratic lawyers to go wherever they need to be. Yikes.

2:02: Unbelievable that no network has yet called a state to put Bush over the top. Are they afraid to?

2:11: Rather calls the Ohio Secretary of State “Mr. Blackwell.” I kept expecting him to turn all catty and start making fun of Dan’s tie.

2:19: The polls just closed in Hawaii. I think it would be awesome if the entire election came down to a recount battle in Hawaii for the last three electoral votes. Then the entire press corps would get to spend five weeks in Honolulu. I could see all the reporters agreeing amongst themselves to rig the election in favor of that outcome- it would be the Pro Bowl of politics.

2:27: Edwards speaks. They’re still calling him “the next vice president.” Is it really a good idea to send out the trial lawyer to outline their legal strategy at this point? All he says is “we will fight for every vote.”

2:30: Michigan for Kerry. Helping a hot governor helps your party, for sure.

2:39: Ah-nuld is addressing the crowd to talk about- ballot initiatives? And the seven-second delay is audible behind him. Who is he, Ashlee Simpson?

2:48: It appears we’re done with news for the evening- tomorrow is when the lawsuits start. I haven’t even begun to formulate an opinion, except for one thing: how major is it that no network has yet put Bush over the top with the 270?

Yes, if the Democrats have a shot to win, they should go for it. But why does this feel like a doomed love affair, where you’re pretty sure it’s over, but still holding on to sliver of hope, even if you shouldn’t?

UPDATE: I'm still awake. They're saying Bush will declare victory- even at 5 AM?- if he gets another state.

3:36: An hilarious argument on MSNBC on whether husbands bully their wives into voting their way, or the other way around. Pat Buchanan, of course, argues that couples always vote the same as one another, causing the rest of the panel (Ron Reagan especially) to look at him like he has two heads.

3:50: All right, looks like no more news tonight; I'm ready for bed. Barring an unforeseen judicial miracle, it looks like another four years of being caught in the middle between the Bush-bashers and Bush himself. Oh joy.

Posted by Stephen Silver at November 3, 2004 03:34 AM

John Henry- the owner of the World Champion Boston Red Sox- has deployed his private plane for Democratic lawyers to go wherever they need to be. Yikes.

What does he do if Bush supporter Curt Shilling needs a lift?

Posted by: J. Lichty at November 3, 2004 10:51 AM

Breaks his other ankle.

Posted by: Stephen Silver at November 3, 2004 11:20 AM

Daschle out, Thune in. Good day to be a South Dakotan.

Posted by: Citizen F at November 3, 2004 01:25 PM
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