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Elections: A Love-Hate Relationship For Journalists

Nick Blumberg interviews Democratic Congressional candidate Kyrsten Sinema on election night.
Brian Fergus
Nick Blumberg interviews Democratic Congressional candidate Kyrsten Sinema on election night.

Many journalists -- myself included -- have a love-hate relationship with covering elections. I usually lean toward the love side, and working on election night is always a thrill. Of course, what kind of a thrill depends on who you're covering.

I spent most of my election night at the Democrats' viewing party in downtown Phoenix. Their biggest Arizona-specific victory was Kyrsten Sinema winning a seat in Congress (she had a razor-thin lead on election night, and counting early ballots has made that lead comfortable enough that she was declared the victor on Monday.) The Dems also picked up seats in the state legislature. But other than that, there wasn't a whole lot for them to celebrate, since this is right-leaning Arizona.

There was the small matter of the Presidency. I probably have some mild ear damage from the cheer that went through the room after Mr. Obama locked up a second term.

The room was crowded and I was quite warm, so I was glad to head out into the cool night air, walk to my car (I got free street parking!) and drive over to Paul Penzone's campaign headquarters around 10 p.m. Penzone was the Democratic opponent of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. But Arpaio was re-elected, and the mood at Penzone’s party reflected that. It was not the perkiest crowd, though Penzone was his usual affable self. It also probably didn't help that since I couldn't make it over there until later in the evening, I arrived as the event was being broken down and cleaned up ... that made the mood perhaps more depressing than it truly was.

The week after the election should be the decompressing period, recovering from our collective election hangover. But thanks to hundreds of thousands of early and provisional ballots still wanting tabulation and angry crowds of protesters, the election doesn't quite feel over in Arizona. No closure quite yet.

Things do seem to be ramping down -- anti-Arpaio activists who last week were slamming county and state officials for "uncounted votes" (a tenuously accurate and potentially dangerous phrase to use) are now spreading the message that while Arpaio remains in office, the real victory was engaging the young Latino electorate.

I've heard several times that 50,000 young Latinos turn 18 each month -- but how, cry the hopeful, do we get them to vote? Beats me. We can't even get most people in America to vote.