I’ll probably live blog on election night, like I’ve done the past 3 cycles, plus the ‘17 special election.
- In 2014 I stayed up until 2:40 AM blogging results and commentary.
- I only went to 2 AM in 2016.
- In 2018 I stayed up until 3.
I”ve been doing this for awhile now, and here’s how it’s gone…
What’s Come Before
In 2014, we knew right away when the polls closed at 8 that Steve Daines was making the jump to the senate while Amanda Curtis was heading back to teach math in Butte. It was 56% to 41% and by 8:45 Daines was giving his acceptance speech.
Just before 11 PM, John Lewis conceded his House race to Ryan Zinke. He’d been over 10 points behind ever since the polls had closed. Curtis conceded a few minutes later and just like that, 2014 was pretty much in the bag.
There were no surprises. After Walsh dropped out, the Daines campaign went forward in the 2014 cycle expecting to have a 9-14 point lead on Curtis. It ended up being 15 points.
In 2016, we didn’t know who won the governor’s race until the next morning. Gianforte was ahead by 70 votes at 2 AM, 48% to 48%. Bullock had been up 12% just before 10 PM. When all the votes were finally counted, Bullock won by nearly 20,000 votes, or 50% to 46%.
President was a lot quicker that year. By 9 PM we knew Trump had won Florida.
Half past midnight, Hillary conceded. That was the same time that Denise Juneau conceded to Ryan Zinke. By 1 AM the Washington Post was declaring Trump the next president.
It was a fun night. The meltdowns were a big part of it. Around midnight, Hillary was refusing to come out and talk. The Dem get-togethers around the state were awfully quiet. And on Twitter, Dems were losing it, blaming each other for this inexplicable loss.
At 11:30 PM we knew the GOP was going to keep the senate, and that’s when the meltdowns started.
Just before 10 PM, Don Pogreba over at MT Post was so overcome by sadness at a possible Trump win that he stopped his plans to live blog throughout the night. Later in the evening he took to Twitter to fume and lash-out.
Oh, yeah...Tuesday’s gonna be a fun night to grab the popcorn and read the comments on #mtpol.
2017 was a different kind of year, with a special election in May.
Polls closed at 8, and by 9:30 Gianforte was ahead of Quist by 10,000 votes, or 5%. He had Yellowstone County by 20%. “There’s no recovering from that,” I wrote at the time.
Twitter quieted down real quick around that time, as Dems realized they were not going to win. By 10 PM, Gianforte was up 20,000 votes. A half hour later the AP called the race and it was over.
In 2018, we didn’t know who won the Senate race between Tester and Rosendale until the next morning. Things change after the election workers get their rest - at 3 AM, Rosendale was still 5,000 votes ahead; by morning that was gone. When all the votes were finally counted, Tester won by nearly 18,000 votes.
We knew that Kathleen Williams was done by 11 PM. That’s when she thanked her supporters and left her venue. Just two hours earlier she’d been in the lead.
What’s Coming on Tuesday
I’ve told you already that I expect Trump to win easily, and I expect most of the GOP candidates here in Montana to ride his coattails to victory.
But anything can happen.
Here are some things you can certainly expect to happen on Tuesday:
- I expect that the SoS website will go down shortly after polls close at 8 and won’t get back up for 30 minutes or longer.
- I suspect there will be long lines in Bozeman, Helena, Butte, Great Falls and Missoula...just like we’ve seen in previous years. I’ll post some of those images as the people post them to their social media accounts.
- I think by 11 PM, we’ll know most of the lesser statewide races and their results. I think the governor’s race will be obvious before that, around 9 PM.
- As usual, Great Falls will take forever to get their results in (their tabulator went down in ‘16). Missoula and Butte will be almost as slow. Billings will get theirs in faster. This is sad, as Montana can begin counting votes the day before the election.
- Chuck Johnson will get on Twitter and regale us with tales of election years past.
- And the various Dem watch parties will start strong, but as then numbers come in, the attendees will trickle away until we get images of the hall looking like it did at the beginning of the night - empty, but with plenty of used plastic cups, quite a few discarded campaign signs, and that lone straggler standing there staring into his phone, as if that will somehow make the night’s results all just go away.
Yes, it’s gonna be quite the night indeed!