5:10 pm (Eastern): I’m at CNN’s 2006 E-lection Night Blog Party at Tryst in DC. Walking in with the satellite truck outside and the CNN correspondents at the door felt to me what I imagine the Academy Awards must feel like to the Hollywood branch of the business. CNN has brought in an incredible crew of conservative bloggers including Lorie Byrd, Betsy Newmark, Kevin Aylward, LaShawn Barber,Patrick Hynes, Mike Krempasky and Mary Katharine Ham. I appreciate their company tonight. We ain’t gonna give the lefties any Schadenfreude on our account.
5:25 pm: I’d like to send a shout out to my three daughters who have asked how to tune in to the event tonight. I told them all that there was free access to CNN’s premium Internet Pipeline service tonight, but I guess I misunderstood. It looks like you have to pay for it. Drat!
Incidentally, the CNN staff, producers and on-air talent could not be nicer. More good news: Paul Mirengoff is on his way over.
7:00 pm: Paul visited. I think he may be even slightly more pessimistic about the results tonight than he has let on here. Our server problems are impairing my ability to post so far this evening.
7: 05 pm: I’ve avoided making predictions about the results tonight because I am also pessimistic and didn’t want to be proved right.
7:15 pm: Cynthia Powell of US News writes to let us know that US News is posting results and commenting through the evening here.
7:40 pm: Reader Steve Zambrano asks us to draw your attention to Bill Whittle’s celebrated essay “Seeing the unseen.”
9:15 pm: Terry Pell of the Center for Individual Rights just called me from Detroit. With one percent of the vote in, the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative was passinig 61 percent to 39 percent. Terry is going to keep me updated for as long as I can last tonight.
9:30 pm: Terry reports that with two percent of the vote in the initiative is passing at the same rate.
10:10: With 7 percent now reporting, Terry advises that the MCRI still rules: 64 percent to 36 percent. We don’t think Detroit has been heard from yet.
10:15: It probaby won’t come as a shock to you to hear that Minnesota Fifth District Democratic congressional candidate Keith Ellison will be the first Muslim in Congress, and (so far as I know) the first former Nation of Islam activist in Congress. Somehow the latter distinction never made it into the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Joel Mowbray had a good summary of the CAIR angle in his Frontpage column yesterday. I summarized my research on Ellison in the Standard article “Louis Farrakhan’s first congressman.” What a sickening disgrace.
10:25 pm: Terry Pell reports that with 10 percent of precincts counted, the MCRI leads 65 percent to 35 percent.
11:15 pm: With one third of precincts reporting, Hatch leads Pawlenty 48-44 percent. Early returns were dominated by the Democratic strongholds Ramsey and Hennepin County. It’s still too early to call this race, but I’m worrying about it.
11:30 pm: Terry Pell reports that with 34 percent of the vote in, the MCRI is passing with 58 percent for, 42 against.
11:35 pm: Reader Mark Kaplan analyzes the returns from his Minneapolis precinct: “Tim Pawlenty received 504 votes in 2002 and 501 votes this year. The major change is that Mike Hatch received 83 votes more than Roger Moe and Peter Hutchinson received 75 votes less than Tim Penny.In other words, about 75 voters who went with the Independence candidate in 2002 switched to the DFL candidate in 2006. This would predict a relatively narrow Hatch victory over Pawlenty statewide.”
11:53 pm: I should note for pop music fans and lovers of mystery novels that Kinky Friedman will not be the next governor of Texas.
Midnight: With 50 percent of the vote in, Governor Pawlenty trails Mike Hatch 47-45 percent. Governor Pawlenty’s share of the vote has crept up from 40 to 45 percent as the votes from outstate have been added to the mix. I just spoke with state Republican party deputy chair Eric Hoplin, who said he expects the governor to creep into the lead in the next hour. We shall see.
12:30 am: Is it too early to note a silver lining to the disappointing results tonight? With 67 percent of precincts reporting in Michigan, the MCRI is leading 59 percent 41 percent. Patrick Hynes points out to me that all the conservative ballot initiatives passed tonight — if equal treatment under law is considered conservative, and if the MCRI wins.
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