Election Night: Party Lines

By Lauren Fox October 12, 2010 Published in the November 2010 issue of Portland Monthly

By November 2, Democrat John Kitzhaber and Republican Chris Dudley might wish the Greeks stopped with philosophy instead of inventing democracy. But the combatants in Oregon’s bare-knuckle gubernatorial race face one last obstacle: the emotional minefield of the Election Night party. To help, we asked past winners and losers for festive (or not) tips.

Barbara Roberts (D) Elected Oregon’s first woman governor in 1990 “I felt fairly confident, but I wrote a victory speech and a concession speech. I suggest this year’s candidates do likewise. If you win, remember that you represent all the people, not just your supporters. If you lose, don’t pull a Nixon. Be gracious.

“Eat something early on, even if your stomach is a little nervous. You won’t be able to get near the food table for the rest of the night.”

Victor Atiyeh ( R ) Lost in 1974; won in 1978; re-elected in 1982
“If you lose, get on the telephone and concede. It’s good form. Even if you know you’re going to lose, go to the party. Good people worked hard for you. “If you win, savor the joy with the people you love. Go ahead and kiss your wife.”

David Frohnmayer® Lost in 1990 to Barbara Roberts “It’s not nearly as much fun going to a party knowing that you’re going to lose, but you owe it to your volunteers. Don’t speak poorly of the electoral system or of fellow candidates—that leaves a really bad taste.

“Don’t drink. You’re on duty, and should be on your best behavior.”

Bill Sizemore® Lost in 1998 to John Kitzhaber “The party gets crazy, so thank your volunteers before the results are in. Don’t let a camera catch you with a glass in hand—which might require you to be quick. If you kiss someone, it better be your wife.”

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