I had pictured a balcony.
For some reason I thought that there would be some type of overlook where I could glance down at the action apart from participating in it. Nope, I stood in the middle of the fire lane with two state representatives, a gaggle of other people, and, I believe, Dean Martin. I heard that the event was originally scheduled for another location, but had to be moved due to some arcane bylaw that states the event must be held in Phoenix. I don't know why this was put in place, but I am guessing that it had something to do with some unpleasant convention experience in Flagstaff. It must have been pretty bad as there were a number of people that seemed to have been shaken up enough about it to still be wearing "No to NAU" buttons and t- shirts. I thought it was overkill.
We got there early, just on the off chance that we may see a Representative. Kind of like hanging out at Toon Town at Disneyland in hopes of seeing Goofy, or Donald Duck. The Teenage Republicans were there, practicing their capitalism skills by selling donuts. John Shadegg was nice enough to provide free coffee, although he wasn't personally serving it. There were also packets of hot chocolate for any Mormons present.
Obviously this was the Randy and Lisa show. Both were in high gear meeting and greeting the arrivals, and being genuinely cheerful and pleasant as they have always been to me and others. Each had supporters both nearby and in far corners, affixing stickers to promised committeemen. I declined any stickers, not to show any sense of neutrality, but because I enjoyed the attention of being treated like a newcomer by several groups of sticker bearers.
Once settled down in my fire lane, I was startled to hear that the whole Mohave County Delegation had been displaced by a swelling Maricopa contingent and they were forced to congregate in my fire lane. I retreated outside and informed Lisa James that there were votes to be picked up if she was able to quell the refugee problem. If only she would have listened. . .
I was able to meet Lisa's family at this point. Her children were perhaps the most beautiful I have seen in ages, outside of my own, of course. She was beaming with pride, as she introduced them to all of those still around. My high estimation of her stepped up a notch.
I went back to my fire lane and discovered that the Mohaveans had been replaced by stragglers of indeterminate origin.
It was time to begin, and time for the Speeches! John Kyl, Rick Renzi, John Shadegg, Trent Franks. No John McCain. Not to be snide, but do you think that there may be a chicken and the egg thing going on with McCain not showing up to these events, and perhaps not feeling comfortable if he were to show up to one of these events?
Then Jim Wiers, Tom Horne, Dean Martin, and for some inexplicable reason, Len Munsil as the keynote.
Off to the candidate speeches. Each candidate was given five minutes for both seconds and a speech. Randy Pullen went first. A bevy of supporters went to the microphone one after another and told of their admiration for Randy. Each was heartfelt and effective to varying degrees. Randy, however, showing his time management skill to be the equal of Matt Salmon, left no time for himself to "speechify". Hats off to Colbert, and creating your own descriptive words. All he could do was shrug as he was escorted from the stage.
Next up was Lisa. She sent up an introduction, then showing her adaptability decided to learn from Randy and do her speech next, to avoid the time crunch. It was good as always with Lisa. Next came Trent Franks. Honestly, if there were others, I do not remember them. Trent was devastatingly influential and was probably a good portion of the reason Lisa came as close as she did, outside of her own stellar efforts.
After the speeches came the Treasurers whom I will not mention. There is something very bad about Treasurers with big heads.
Oh, Linda White as Secretary unopposed. . .
Everybody adjourned to the mobile classrooms to vote. Interminable delay, people milling in. Now would be a good time for that Munsil speech. . .
Business, and then time for the Results. . .
James 404, Pullen 408. Gasp!
I had a rush of emotion. I immediately felt bad for Lisa, then I was extremely happy for those beautiful children I had seen earlier. Lisa worked harder than many candidates for general elective office, and it was too bad to see her stopped just short. I hope she takes a good break before she comes back and tirelessly works for our party. I have visions of Lisa as an actual candidate whooping Democratic back end, but understand that it will probably have to wait.
I was happy for Pullen. He had worked hard as well, and had once again just scraped by. I would hope that he is through with these type of wins and will now lead our State Candidates to the right side of severe blowouts. Just because one is clutch, doesn't mean he should consistently try to prove it. He has nothing to to be disappointed about with the race being so close. Lisa James was a worthy opponent, and now they are on the same team again.
Amazingly, cars weren't overturned in the parking lot, the chairs weren't set on fire, and nobody screamed in despair. It was, believe it or not, an ordinary, if razor close, chair election. The party looks like it will live on. Do not believe any hysterics to the contrary.
I know because I had a great view from my non-needed fire lane.
I did find out that at the executive meeting, they will decide if Randy Pullen will be allowed to resign his previous position as Republican National Committeeman. If this happens, the replacement will be appointed by the committee. It does appear that there will not be another election for this position until next year, when Pullen's elected term was set to expire.
For all I know, the decision on this has already been made. I will report when I hear more.
If they are looking for hints, I hear Mike Hellon is available. . .