And so election night has finally arrived, as we chronicle some of the goings-on at both the main Democratic and Republican events, in Los Angeles and Irvine, respectively.
Check back through the night for updates.
Dem HQ 11:15 p.m. - I think that's a wrap from Club Obama. Oh, wait... you thought it was a political event? Then you didn't see what happened after the President-elect gave his victory speech on the big screen. The evening then became one big dance party, with people and attire that I've never seen at a political celebration. Of course, that might be part of the big story about this presidential victory. But with many other races hanging in the balance... statewide ballot measures on isses Democrats care about, and legislative races... the torch was passed here, so to speak, and the mixmasters took the stage. The political junkies retired to the bar to watch returns, while yours truly packed it up to head upstairs and file tomorrow's story.
GOP HQ 10:21 p.m. - The event started to wind down well before 10:00pm. More than half the crowd is gone...folks don't seem to want to wait around for the results of the Props and the legislative races now that the big race has been called. Just a few party die-hards left. There was no band - just some piped in music, and even that's fading into the background.
A few elected officials made some speeches - mostly local Congressmen and Assembly members. Dana Rohrabacher urged the crowd to return to its conservative roots, and become the party of Ronald Reagan again. But once the speeches were over, the event seemed to be, too.
Noticeably absent: Governor Schwarzenegger... who reportedly watched the returns at home in Brentwood. Maybe he doesn't like cupcakes. -- Sasha Khokha
GOP HQ 9:21 p.m. -- It’s hard to show up to a party where the biggest race on everyone’s minds has already been called. People just started to arrive – until just a few minutes ago more news media here than election party attendees . The mood is pretty somber - - a lot of knuckle cracking and arms crossed across people’s chest as they staring in mild disbelief watching John McCain concede. Not a lot of booing or cheering – just a couple bursts of applause at when Sarah Palin was introduced and a big round of applause at the end of his speech.
But they just brought the press some cherry-red cupcakes with white frosting…trying to buoy us, I guess. There was no one here until just minutes before the presidential election was called. People still arriving, but looking kind of deflated.
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner just told the crowd they have to admit that Californians want a different kind of Republican. "Let me tell you what the lesson from today is," he said. "When Republican leaders abandon basic Republican principles, we lose." -- Sasha Khokha
Dem HQ 8:55 p.m. – Well, so much for live blogging. The scene here in Los Angeles has been, to put it mildly, chaotic. When the networks called the presidential race… largely thanks to the predictable outcome from California… the crowd went nuts. And this crowd believes they did much more than just offer up electoral votes; organized labor leaders took to the stage bragging about what they say were one million phone calls to swing state voters.
By the way, word from the GOP event is… things are quiet. My colleague Sasha Khokha says folks there are “licking their wounds.”
Of course, once the presidential results sink in… there are a lot of other races and issues to be decided, and results are just now coming in.
Dem HQ 7:05 p.m. -- This place is already rocking. The crowd is huge, and every state that’s called for Obama by the networks leads to a huge cheer. The Dems are in such a good mood, they have one of the big TVs in the ballroom tuned to the Fox News Channel, for crying out loud. The bar is packed (drinks start at $2, none for your faithful blogger), there’s talk of Democratic loving Hollywood celebs on their way, and most folks have done the math: at this point, it would be hard for the man from Illinois not to win.
Democratic HQ 6:00 p.m. -- It's Barack Country, and it's... cold. The ballroom here at the Century City Plaza isn't yet open to the public, and so the AC must be on high in preparation of all those sweaty Obamaniacs rolling in about 8:00 p.m. Word is they're expecting a capacity crowd, and the small staff contingent that's here now is just watching returns from the networks. Interestingly enough, there's a full bar just in front of the TV cameras... that could make for some interesting live shots. Us radio folk are positioned behind the TV cameras.
A few politicos are already on hand to get their mugs on the evening news... including Lt. Governor John Garamendi.