9:17 PM PDT: The hotel ballroom broke out into “USA, USA” when Fox News announced that the Republicans assumed control of the House of Representatives.
“We did not find ordinary Americans throughout this nation” said Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler, “we found extraordinary Americans.”
The place rocked.
9:00 PM EDT: Speaker Nancy Pelosi is reported (but not confirmed) to be in our hotel on Capitol Hill. They played “Big Girls Don’t Cry” at the Tea Party Patriots election party and cheers went up.
With the euphoria sweeping the room, about 200 activists are highly charged. The feeling is infectious. The Senate win in Florida by Marco Rubio took the place by storm.
Florida state coordinator Everett Wilkinson was ecstatic. Wilkinson told me Rubio would travel the state alone in his car to meet all of the 85 different Tea Party groups. “He would talk to us quietly about our Constitution and freedom,” Wilkinson said. Over the weekend more than 300,000 phone calls were placed by the group.
Wilkison and Tea Party activists were especially thrilled about the defeat of Democrat incumbent Alan Grayson. Grayson was a committed liberal supporter of the Obama agenda. He made national headlines when, in support of ObamaCare, he said on the floor of the House of Representatives that the Republican health care plan was for people “to die quickly.”
Grayson also was rebuked statewide for comparing his Republican opponent Daniel Webster to the Taliban in a TV ad. The ad backfired.
“This was sweet” said Wilkinson, who was dancing on the floor. “Our statewide effort is having wins all over the place.”
6:00 PM EDT: Just spoke to David Freddoso, online opinion editor for the Washington Examiner, here in the ballroom of the Tea Party Patriots election headquarters.
Freddoso says the earliest clue to today’s congressional race is Indiana, where the polls close at 6 pm, earliest in the nation.
The Second District pits Democrat Blue Dog Rep. Joe Donnelly against Jackie Walorski. If Donnelly does well, it is good for the Democrats and may suggest only a razor thin margin for the Republicans. But if Walorski prevails, it may mean a big wave for the GOP.
Similarly, Freddoso believes Indiana’s Ninth Congressional District will be the canary in the coal mine. It should go Democratic as it is home to liberal Indiana University Bloomington. It should be a Democratic safe seat. If it goes, this is a big, early hint of things to come.
Incumbent Democratic Rep. Baron Hill should do well. But if he is upended by Republican prosecutor Todd Young, it could mean a sweep for the nation.
Time will tell …
5:13 PM EDT: Information is trickling in to Washington that is encouraging to Republicans. Multiple sources have informed Pajamas Media that throughout the nation turnout is very high. There are reports of long lines in front of voting places. “The intensity of voters is palpable,” one source told PJM.
In Florida, there is a report that there are 200,000 more absentee ballots for Republicans than Democrats.
In Pennsylvania, where Democrat Joe Sestak is facing off against Republican Pat Toomey, the exit poll numbers are 47% to 47%. The Republicans believe that is good news since the Democrat is under 50% even after President Obama campaigned in the region last weekend.
5:05 PM EDT: Will there be voter fraud in the 2010 election?
In Washington, the Tea Party Patriots have opened a voter fraud helpline. A team of conservative attorneys are huddled in a war room waiting to hear from citizens and poll watchers.
Organized by Let Freedom Ring, the lawyers are awaiting word from voting precincts around the nation.
The lawyers are finding a lot of stuff so far that are simply mix-ups or overly cautious poll watchers. But in a turbulent election, anything can happen. And the 2000 circus in Florida is etched in a lot of the lawyers’ minds.
If you encounter a problem, or see something fishy, you can call 1-877-611-VOTE.
The lawyers are professional, low-key, and sharp. They are taking calls as we speak.
4:49 PM EDT: As American voters go to the polls, Tea Party Patriots set up their election night headquarters at a major hotel on Capitol Hill. They intend to “plant the flag” here — making both Republicans and Democrats aware of their presence in the nation’s capital on election night.
In fact, this afternoon they are planning on physically planting two flags on the western side of the Capitol Building: an American flag and a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag. About 200 Tea Party Patriot activists intend on marking the proceeding.
The mood here is “breathless,” awestruck. Each Tea Party activist tells a story of improbability.
They were first angry with Washington, so they went to work in their communities. The meetings and rallies were small and isolated, held in living rooms and kitchens. They felt history was against them when they read the mainstream media. But on April 15, 2009, their first “tax day” rallies, they had an inkling that they may have caught the ear of the American people.
Polls suggest they are part of a historic wave that is capturing the public imagination. They have read for months how independents and Democrats are identifying with their vision. They can’t quite beliieve it, but beneath the surface there are smiles and slaps on the backs. Did they really do it?
We’ll begin to know by the end of the evening.