Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 29° Clear
News >  Spokane

Clark: Parties get wild, wilted Election Day

Doug’s Election Night Diary.

7:40 – I drive first to Spokane’s Lincoln Center where the Democrats are hanging out. If the early returns hold up, it looks like their evening is about to become an inflamed hemorrhoid of Biblical proportion. So I want to hit and run before someone wises up and yells, “Let’s string up the wiseacre columnist!”

7:45 – It’s not all bad news for Dems. Delaware Tea Party Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell is losing. No surprise. I knew she was doomed the moment she came down so hard against masturbation.

7:50 – The nice lady manning the door to the Lincoln Center ballroom wants me to donate 10 bucks. No way. I’m not giving a dime to anyone after what NPR did to poor Juan Williams.

7:55 – “What are you doing here?” a woman asks me. “I thought you hated politicians.” Hey, just because a sewer worker might detest the smell doesn’t mean he stops climbing down the manhole.

8:00 – An announcement is made. State Senate candidate Chris Marr has donated kegs of Bud Light and root beer to the gathering. That’s impressive considering the polls just closed and it’s too late to buy any more votes.

8:02 – “Where’s the bar?” I hear a woman say glumly. “It’s been a long campaign.” There’s a Democrat with her priorities straight.

8:03 – The jumbo TV screen is turned to CNN. How funny would it be to suddenly switch the channel over to FOX? I’m betting there’d be a rush for the door not seen since that deadly 1979 Who concert.

8:17 – I’m asked to join the well-wishers who have signed a booklet for Spokane County Commissioner Bonnie Mager. Why not? “Rock On!” I write, wondering if “Bon Voyage” might be more appropriate.

8:21 – A woman on stage begins delivering the early numbers on Spokane races and the groans outnumber the cheers. “There are still plenty of ballots to be counted,” she says, in an attempt to soothe the audience. The same thing happened that night on the Titanic. “Don’t worry, people. This is a really big ship. It wasn’t much of an iceberg …”

8:30 – 5th District congressional candidate Daryl Romeyn looks remarkably unsweaty and composed for a politician getting creamed. “You’re a beloved guy in the community,” he tells me. Looks like I’ve totally misjudged this man. He certainly sounds like congressional material to me.

8:40 – Chris Marr takes the microphone. “I’m proud to be a Democrat,” he hollers. “I’m proud that Barack Obama is the president!” Translation: Load the lifeboats! Women and children first!

8:47 – Susie somebody or other grabs my arm and tells me to “Get rid of corporate funding without accountability.” Please. Don’t look at me. I have enough trouble hitting deadlines.

9:06 – The lettuce tray has become a wilted metaphor. Time to blow this Land of Woe.

9:20 – I head for the Republicans, who are purportedly holed up at the luxurious Davenport Hotel. There’s a shocker.

9:21 – Climbing the stairs to the ballroom I see the beaming face of Al French. At the moment the former city councilman is way ahead in his quest to unseat Commissioner Mager. “My goal,” he tells me, “is to keep you employed for four more years.” Finally, a politician who really cares about America.

9:25 – What a difference two years can make. The last time I mingled among the Republicans was the Barack blowout of 2008. It looked like a congregation of grimace-faced actors filming a commercial about constipation. Tonight it’s like somebody pumped laughing gas into the hotel ventilation system.

9:26 – FOX News is on the big TV screen here. There’s another shocker.

9:29 – I wave hello to Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. He waves back but doesn’t come over. The man’s getting smarter all the time.

9:34 – The sound system plays a Journey tune. Who says Republicans don’t know how to rock the house?

9:36 – It’s official. The GOP just won the House. This place is getting more amped than a trailer park meth lab.

9:40 – I’m chatting with Spokane Council member Nancy McLaughlin when a woman suddenly appears and makes me put on a press badge. Hmm. The “P” in “GOP” still stands for “Paranoia,” I see.

9:50 – McLaughlin tells me I should run for City Council. Really. Phillip Paul’s escape from the county fair never came close to approaching this level of bughouse insanity.

9:55 – There’s John Ahern. I tell him I’m sorry for comparing him to a mummy in my Halloween column. Ahern knows I don’t mean it, but laughs anyway. I figured he would. He’s sitting on a good lead over John Driscoll for the 6th District state House seat that once was Ahern’s.

9:57 – Look. I’m not saying Ahern’s old. I’m just pretty sure that when he was young Death Valley was merely ill.

9:56 – My new best friend Ahern and I conspire to form a new 51st state. We’d carve it out of Eastern Washington and North Idaho. I’m partial to the name Dougsylvania.

10:00 – There’s a limit on how much Republican happiness a cynic can stand. I’m on my way out the door when someone tells me that Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker will live to sleep on the job again. Another Tucker win? Well, I have to give it up to him. The guy’s invincible.

10:10 – On my way to my car, a post-apocalyptical image comes to me. The nuclear bombs have dropped. The landscape is scorched and cracked. Not a thing has been left alive except for cockroaches.

And Steve Tucker.

As the Four Seasons once sang, “Oh, what a night.”

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.