Saturday, May 20, 2006

View From the Floor

Last night I had the opportunity to be a proxy vote at the convention and support Ned Lamont. Mitch Fuchs, chair of the Fairfield DTC, called me at 4 and asked if I could possibly head up to Hartford. At that point he couldn't guarantee that I'd get in but I jumped at the chance. The following isn't an objective account, but what I observed while on the convention floor.

My Significant other (SO) and I arrived just before the convention started. There was a large peace protest happening just outside the Convention Center, and signs for the candidates were plastered everywhere. To my amazement we found a place to park, and found the registration booth pretty quickly. Mitch had me sign in both as a delegate and a guest just in case, but at that point it looked like I would be able to cast my vote. My SO signed in as a guest.

There were two women by the guest sign in booth holding placards that showed distances between Catholic and other hospitals. Lieberman's now infamous quote was on top and the signs included maps, miles, and how long it would take someone to walk from one hospital to the next. It was at that point where I looked around and noticed just how many people were wearing Lamont buttons and stickers.

I got onto the floor just as Nancy DiNardo was starting to speak. Before heading to my seat I visited the Lamont booth to get my own button. The two young men running it were very enthusiastic. They gave me a button, stickers, a bumper sticker, even a jar opener. I was also able to sign up to have a Lamont yard sign delivered to my door.

The 4th district towns were seated in the front left corner of the room. At first I thought that there were no seats available, because every empty seat had campaign flyers and signs on it. I had to remove three large Lieberman signs to take my seat, and I nearly tripped on the stick of another Lieberman sign while walking to it.

Most of the Fairfield delegation are Lamont supporters. When I arrived they were dismantling many of the Lieberman signs, which had sticks, and attaching Lamont signs to those sticks. My district leader made his own Lamont sign with a pencil, and the back of two Lieberman signs taped together. There were some Lieberman supporters scattered throughout as well, mostly sitting together in clumps. In another town's section I saw a Lamont and Lieberman supporter sitting next to each other trading friendly barbs back and forth.

At one point Ned and his family were standing right at the end of my row, and no one was talking to him. I hadn't yet been able to meet Ned so I walked over, congratulated him on the NOW endorsement and said that I was happy to have the chance to vote for him. We talked about Plan B and how well he was doing in Fairfield before I made my way back to my seat.

I wasn't paying close attention to the speeches because the action on the floor is so much more interesting. Neal Fink is sitting right in front of me with a lap top. He's set up a blog for the convention and is typing away. Right behind me two people are debating about who to vote for tomorrow. Most of the conversations seem to be about Lamont, and what percentage he'll get. I have no doubt he'll get his 15%. It feels like the sky is the limit.

To be honest I expected that the actual count would be boring, but it's the most exciting time of the night. Neal has a spreadsheet set up which will give immediate percentages. The man sitting next to me has a list of all the towns to record the votes. My district leader has a piece of paper divided in half and is frantically writing down numbers. Everyone is working together, double checking for accuracy. Whenever Lamont gets significant support from a town our section cheers.

I love how people introduce their towns. Of course everyone thinks they have the prettiest town in CT or the best place to visit, but some of the blurbs are just bizarre. One person says that their town is the 57th best place to live in the state. It's often fairly obvious which candidate a town chair supports even if that town's votes are evenly split.

Thanks to Neal Fink I know that Ned has around 33% before the official count is announced. Lieberman killed in the cities, but Ned fared better with smaller towns I think. I'd love to see a breakdown by population at some point. Many Lieberman supporters seem genuinely surprised by the results. DiNardo came out and made Lieberman's convention endorsement official, but most people are headed out of the room at that point, myself included.

It was an unexpected evening but I had a great time. My one regret was not being able to meet many of the bloggers that I knew were also attending. There just wasn't time to contact anyone before I left and I didn't know where or who anyone was. Most of my photos didn't turn out well, but I have the few that did posted here.


bluecoat said...

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in August with the primary since the suburbs(where the cable guy did well with delegates) usually turn out in greater numbers than the cities ( where the sourpuss looked better to the delegates)

cgg said...

Someone else said the exact same thing to me last night after I expressed concern about Lieberman's strong support in the cities.

bluecoat said...

by popular demand from William yardley at the NYT with stacey Stowe is this today on the lamont Lieberman challenge.

bluecoat said...

And from the JI onLiebermnan/Lamont and a take on the boring CT Republicans, sorry to say.

yoginiana said...

There's going to be coverage of the event airing this Wednesday at noon on 91.3fm. It will include conversation with a few delegates, the protestors, and audio of some violence that occurred at the event.

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