Thursday, November 09, 2000

Political types have night of angst

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FORT MITCHELL — About 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, the last dozen holdouts of what had been a Republican Party celebration of nearly 1,000 broke out the champagne with news of a George W. Bush victory.

        The bubbly was still flowing at the Drawbridge Inn when a news anchor announced that the election was tied and no winner would be declared until the votes in Florida were recounted.

        “We looked at each other with stunned disbelief,” said GOP strategist Hayes Robertson of Covington. “We were having an absolute blast, then this hits us. It was just unbelievable.”

        The amazing and historic events surrounding the presidential election — a race that still has not been decided and may not be for 10 days — swept Northern Kentuckians up in an emotional whirlwind as they pulled for their favorite candidate.

        Edgewood lawyer Chris Mehling spent election night delivering results on a cable television access program. He stayed up until 1 a.m. waiting for a final rally, “but I just couldn't take it anymore.”

        “I went to bed,” Mr. Mehling said.

        He awoke at 4 a.m. expecting to turn on his television and learn who won the race.

        “But I just couldn't believe it,” Mr. Mehling said. “They still didn't have a winner. It's amazing to me that this whole presidential election might come down to some precincts in south Florida. It shows you that every vote does count.”

        Fort Mitchell Democrat Nathan Smith stayed up until after 4 a.m. watching the results with his wife, Mary Lee, who is eight months pregnant.

        “At first we were excited early in the evening when they said (Al) Gore carried Florida,” Mr. Smith said. “Then they said no, Gore didn't win Florida.

        “Then they came on about 2 a.m. or so and said Bush won,” he said. “I was down. But then they came back and said the race was too tight to call. What a night. I've never been through anything like it.”

        Fort Mitchell Republican Rick Robinson said even though he wishes Mr. Bush had been declared a winner he appreciated the events as they have unfolded.

        “Imagine if we had been in Soviet Georgia,” Mr. Robinson said. “The tanks would have rolled into the streets. Martial law would have been declared. The military would have stormed the Capitol.

        “But none of that happened because this is America. Everything happened in an orderly fashion and according to the letter of the law. To me, that's very inspiring.

        “Jefferson is smiling today.”


KIESEWETTER: Right or wrong, it was dramatic TV
Enquirer waited all night long for winner
Tristate rides election 'roller coaster'
Ohio turnout called disappointing
BRONSON: A nation divided
PULFER: Women voters
HOWARD: Black voters
SAMPLES: Civics lesson
WILKINSON: Fighting dirty
Bedinghaus lost support in suburbs
Council vacancy attracts interest
SULLIVAN: Bob Bedinghaus
Children know what levy means
City schools will reap benefits as soon as January
Butler leaders see mandate for growth
Covington mayor-elect says issues key to win
Covington schools get fresh faces, fresh start
Democrats licking wounds
Glitches in Kenton slow voting
Lakota levy to add 2 schools
Losing candidate is jailed
Ohio election of '74 similar to Bush-Gore
Ousted mayor unbowed
Piper hopes to smooth feathers
- Political types have night of angst
School cuts loom in Norwood
Voters said no; schools changing plans