Election night revisited: Blumenthal’s victory celebration
HARTFORD—As major networks predicted Democrat Richard Blumenthal’s LAW ’73 win in the race for Senator, the gathering in the large, chandelier-lit, third floor ballroom of the Hilton Hotel in Hartford turned into a party.
The three cocktail bars and gourmet salads kept Blumenthal’s guests satiated as they awaited the official announcement of victory. Right after Secretary of the State, Susan Byzewicz ’83, finished informing the media that polling in Bridgeport would be extended by hours until 10 p.m. “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas drowned the hall.
The night was one of relief and rejoice for the diverse guests at the function.
Shelby Gabrien and Aneesha Kurien, high school seniors at the Hopkins School in New Haven, were present with classmates. A politics class they are taking encouraged them to be involved with the election.
“We’re not old enough to actually vote but campaigning in the election has been a cool experience,” Gabrien said. “About two thirds of our class volunteered to campaign for Mr. Blumenthal.”
Closer to the bar and sporting yellow T-shirts that read “Firefighters for Blumenthal,” Tom Mihl, John Orzkowszi, Dan Wasilewski, and some of their co-workers from the East Hartford Fire Department were there representing the Uniformed, Professional Firefighters of Connecticut. For about two months, about 25 firefighters from their department had campaigned for Blumenthal by phone banking, distributing literature and pamphlets, placing signs and encouraging people to vote.
“He [Blumenthal] came to our fire department and spoke to us,” Wasilewski said. “We found him to be a very friendly individual. He’s always been a friend of the fire fighters and been instrumental in furthering labor causes.”
A little away from the firefighters, Maud Cronkhite, 53, a resident of East Grimsby, posed for a picture in front of the stage making devil horns [why?] with her hands – as “Party in the USA” played in the background. A United States resident for almost 25 years, she became a citizen three years ago with the purpose of voting for President Barack Obama.
“I’m Swedish and I don’t think Socialism is a bad word,” Cronkite said. “The American Dream is not only for 2 percent of the American people.”
When polling closed at 10 p.m., the crowd was ecstatic and cheered “Blumenthal! Blumenthal!” Shortly after, Blumenthal arrived at the function took to the podium on stage. Before a large group of supporters, campaign workers, friends and family, the Senator-Elect thanked his supporters and family for their consistent support and outlined the challenges that lie ahead.
“Well you know, I have something money can’t buy,” Blumenthal said to his cheering audience. “I have you.”
As cameras flashed from all sides and red, white and blue party streamers rained down upon the crowd, Blumenthal and his family accepted congratulations and shook hands with his supporters. Blumenthal left shortly after along with his family.
“This is a huge relief and a night of victory,” Jason Bush, 22, a campaign worker from Bristol, said. “It is now time for him to fulfill his promises.”
The event ended at about 12:30 p.m.