Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Live election coverage

I'm sitting in my kitchen, watching CNN and eagerly waiting for the election results to trickle in, probably like every other American on this historic night. My objective here is to provide live updates of the races involving restaurateurs or known supporters of the industry, such as former National Restaurant Association executive Jo Ann Emerson (now running for re-election on the Republican ticket as the congresswoman from the eighth district of Missouri). The thread is probably best read from the bottom up. All times are EST.

According to our count, there are eight current restaurateurs running for office. You can find out who they are, and learn about the other "friends of foodservice," by checking out the story on our website, nrn.com.

Here's how some of those races stand as of the time posted.

12:07 a.m. New Mexico, Alabama
The networks have just projected that the industry's victory streak has come to an end. Ed Tinsley, a co-owner of the K-Bob's Steakhouse chain and a longtime director of the National Restaurant Association, has apparently been defeated in his effort to win the congressional seat for the second district of New Mexico. Tinsley, a Republican, lost by six points to oil-industry veteran Harry Teague. At MUFSO, Tinsley commented that unions had poured money into the election in hopes of pushing Teague into office.

Things aren't looking too good for Subway area developer Jay Love, either. Love, the Republican looking to win Alabama's second district, is running about two percentage points behind his Democratic opponent, with 97 percent of the ballots counted.

11:15 United States of America
The hooting and hollering outside were a tip-off to the news flash that came seconds later from The New York Times, CNN, The Miami Herald and Crain's New York: Barack Obama will be our next president.

I can't say I'm surprised. The poll I've been conducting on this page put him 10 points ahead of John McCain. And that's with a sampling size of 22 people. Julia Stewart landed two votes, by the way.

10:12 Oklahoma, Florida
CNN has just projected that Dan Boren, a co-owner of two Roly Poly quick-service outlets, has kept his House seat for the second district. A Democrat, Boren won almost three out of every four votes cast (71 percent).

The vote was closer in Florida, but racetrack concessionaire Tom Rooney still won the House seat for the 16th district by considerably more than a nose. The Republican challenger is projected to win with 60 percent of the vote. He beat Democrat Tim Mahoney, who had been funded by the National Restaurant Association's Political Action Committee.

8:54 General observations
I didn't vote tonight until about 7 p.m. The volunteer who checked me in at the neighborhood firehouse said the traffic was about triple the norm.

It's kind of a surprise that so many people were still sober by that time. I was one of the few NRN staffers who was not going to watch the returns on a barstool. It's the sort of thing my co-workers normally do during March Madness, the World Series or the Olympics. Then again, Tuesday is sometimes enough of an excuse for some pub time. It must be that whole "third place" social phenomenon.

8:30 Florida, Oklahoma
The industry's candidate in Oklahoma, Democrat Dan Boren, is looking like a shoo-in. Only 2 percent of votes have been counted, but Boren, an investor in Roly Poly wrap shops, is leading Republican Raymond Wickson by a 69 percent to 31 percent margin.

Things are much tighter in Florida, however. With slightly more than a fifth of the votes counted, dog-track concessionaire Tom Rooney (of the Pittsburgh Steelers Rooney's) has 54 percent of the ballots, compared with incumbent Timothy Mahoney's 46 percent.

Results thus far suggest Rooney could be an exception to a Republican backlash. As of this moment, two Democratic restaurateurs have been projected as the winners of their respective races, and Boren would make it three. Might the tide be hurting Rooney?

At Nation's Restaurant News' MUFSO conference in Washington, D.C., industry lobbyists speculated that the Democrats could pick up 10 Senate seats and 20 slots in the House. The early counts haven't disproved those forecasts.

8:00 Kentucky
CNN has projected Yarmuth as the winner in Kentucky.

7:36 Virginia
Mark Warner, a co-owner of Majestic Cafe in Alexandria and the former governor, has been declared the winner in the race for the Senate seat that had been vacated by the retirement of the legendary John Warner (no relation). Mark Warner is projected to have beaten Republican contender James Gilmore III with 57 percent of votes.

7:26 Kentucky
John Yarmuth, the Republican incumbent from the third district, is creaming challenger Anne Northup, 57 percent to 43 percent, with 42 percent of precincts reporting. Yarmuth is a part owner of the Sonny's BBQ chain, which his brother serves as chief executive.

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Blogger wchris said...


July 22, 2009 at 10:33 AM  

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