After many months of organizing and these last two busy weeks of campaigning and candidate visits, not to mention the final flurry of GOTV efforts, presidential campaign supporters and volunteers in Madison and around Wisconsin will be well prepared for a chance to gather with their compatriots after the polls close in the state presidential primary on Tuesday night. At least then they will be surrounded by others with whom they can cheer or commiserate pending the night's outcome.
Luckily for busy campaign volunteers, politicos, and just plain merrymakers, both campaigns for the Democratic nomination, as well as the Wisconsin GOP, have planned gatherings following the primary. Expect beer, cheers, jeers, and strained necks from looking upwards at ceiling-mounted TVs. The race is expected to be a close one, at least on the Democratic side, so the watching could last later after the balloting ends than seen with recent exit poll projections. Or not.
There are three major election night parties around Madison on Tuesday night for supporters of the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. The locations and times for these parties follow:
- The Clinton campaign is hosting a "Wisconsin for Hillary Primary Night Event" at The Stadium Bar, 1419 Monroe St., officially starting at 8:30 p.m. This get-together at a college hangout and nest of summertime volleyball by Camp Randall is drawing the most serious local office-holding star power of any of the New York Senator's official gatherings around the state. Among those announced as attending the event are Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, and Wisconsin State Senator Jon Erpenbach.
- The official Obama campaign event and watch party will be at the downtown Great Dane Pub, with the festivities slated to start after the polls close at 8 p.m. Indeed, upon calling the Obama campaign offices at Laundry 101 to confirm the details, the volunteer answering the phone was adamant about their efforts to get every supporter of the Illinois Senator out and about doing GOTV work until the doors close at a polling places throughout the city. This event is also drawing the highest-level elected official in the state, with Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle scheduled to host the gathering.
This is hardly the only Obama party on Tuesday, meanwhile. Another group of supporters is hosting a house party at Syntropy Co-op on the near east side. Indeed, there are likely many other gatherings of hopefuls throughout the city and state, but this crew is actually promoting theirs through the Obama campaign's social network.
- Though there are no candidate-specific election night gatherings for either Mike Huckabee or John McCain in town, there is a "UW Madison Results Watch Party" planned by the state GOP and the College Republicans at the university. This will be in the upper level of the downtown Nitty Gritty, 223 N. Frances St., from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Unless Huckabee pulls a squirrel out of his hat, though, it's going to be all McCain all night at the birthday bar.
The polls in Madison and Dane County open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, February 19, and will remain open through 8 p.m. in the evening. Both city and county officials are forecasting a very high turnout, so try to arrive early if possible. No matter what time one casts their vote, though, there will be parties waiting come nighttime, though not necessarily the desired results to accompany them.