Election Night Madness

November 6, 2008 

As a photojournalist, I'm often at the front line of newsworthy events in this community.

While you were wondering what was burning to cause that acrid column of smoke, I was breathing it in.

But when the climax of the most historic election in our lifetimes occurred, I was jammed in the tiny Benton County Annex with local television crews, reporters, candidates and their families eagerly awaiting the first unofficial numbers from Benton County. There was no announcement that McCain had conceded as I milled about uncomfortably in a sweaty vacuum of local politics, and one of the most riveting moments was when somebody walked over to load the printer with paper.

When I saw photo coverage from around the world later that night and the following day, I couldn’t help but feel I had missed out on something. The sort of spine-tingling emotion that was evident in those photos is a rare thing to witness, and I doubt another election in my lifetime will be as significant or important to so many people.

At the time, I was too busy concentrating on my next task, Doc Hastings’ appearance at a gathering of Benton County Republicans, but based on my visit earlier in the day to the party, I wasn't expecting much emotion. The early birds had resigned themselves to the fact that Obama was going to win and by 6:15 p.m., nobody was paying much attention to the national race.

Although the mood had elevated thanks to strong showings by local Republicans, there wasn’t overwhelming emotion in the air in either direction.

Ultimately, though, I'm not bitter that I missed out on witnessing boundless jubilation. I'm not angry or sad or even regretful because even when the biggest news story is breaking, there are moments in the periphery worth documenting.

Here are my favorite outtakes from the evening (not including the hockey game I briefly covered within the madness).

A mother covers her son’s mouth after he commented on how politicians always lie to us.

Mary Guay shares a story with Patrick Spanner about Spanner's father, Bruce, while awaiting Benton County results at the Benton County Annex.

"It's not an election unless I come to the auditor's office," said Guay, who has been on the Richland School Board for 40 years and worked on numerous campaigns.

Bruce Spanner answers questions during a television interview after discovering he had become the next Superior Court Judge in Benton and Franklin counties.

Rep. Doc Hastings tries calling his mother in a quiet corner of The Country Gentleman during a party hosted by Benton County Republicans on election night.

Shirley Simmons, owner of The Country Gentleman, left, looks on as Benton County District Clerk Josie Delvin chats with Benton County Sheriff Larry Taylor while Barack Obama prepares to make his acceptance speech at a gathering of the local Republican party at The Country Gentleman in Kennewick.

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kyau@tricityherald.com
(509) 585-7205
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