As election night draws near, here is a reflection on some of my favorite and least memories from election nights past.
Having been involved with the Clinton campaign since 1991, it was an up and down campaign like no other. The Republicans had held the White House for 20 of the last 24 years. I co-MCed a Saxophone Club party of about 500 people at L’Enfant Plaza Hotel and had a bottle of champagne ready for when Ohio finally put us over the top. I kept that bottle for years.
Bill Clinton – 43.0% (370 EVs)
George Bush – 37.4% (168 EVs)
H. Ross Perot – 18.9T (O EVs)
It was my first real campaign (I was one of the first volunteers). After winning a narrow victory of John Chafee in1972, Senator Pell’s team were ready for a fight in 1978 but it never materialized. I was in the Senator’s suite and remember him joking about not panicking when his tally fell to 75%. He cruised to a 4th term with a little over 75 percent.
Claiborne Pell – 75.1%
James Reynolds – 24.9%
It was simply an awful day. It poured all day. Carter conceded while the polls were still open and the Republicans regained the Senate with a 5-vote majority.
Ronald Reagan – 50.8% (489 EV)
Jimmy Carter – 40.1% (49 EV)
John Anderson – 6.6% (0 EV)
Senate Gain – 12 Seats
House Gain – 34 Seats
The Republicans won in an epic landslide that ended 40 years of Democratic control of the House of Representatives and gave them control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 50 years. Even House Speaker Foley lost.
It was my first full week living in Southern California and the election was over minutes after I got home. I remember going for a jog on the strand in Manhattan Beach afterwards and there was no sign of the giant shift in American politics that had just occurred.
Senate Gain – 8 seats
House Gain – 54 seats