Cap City Club all set for Nikki’s Big Night

I dropped by the Capital City Club just before the polls closed, and things were buzzing.

According to a Tweet by Jack Kuenzie — whom I saw huddled over against a wall Twittering away — I had just missed Nikki, who had come to check things out, then left when cameras started appearing.The crowd hadn’t started gathering yet, but it was way early. And even though things were just being set up, there was electricity in the air. This is going to be a big event.

Club staff said they expect 300 people, but I’m guessing it will be more than that. From national media to supporters, the world is surging toward Nikki Haley tonight. She’s peaking, and the buzz is considerable.

I’ve stopped by home — had to bring home some dog food, because my dog doesn’t CARE that it’s primary night. About to grab a bite and go back our to check watch parties.

Debating with myself to go to the OTHER big event tonight, the Vincent Sheheen party — but it’s way over in Camden. Maybe I can run over there, and see what’s happening, then if things are running late (I heard Nikki wasn’t expected at her party before 10) I can catch some of the local action.

But first, a quick breathing treatment (I can’t believe my asthma chose today to kick up), and a quick bite, and then I’m off…

20 thoughts on “Cap City Club all set for Nikki’s Big Night

  1. Michael P.

    Tell me again, how you can show your face there. You spend two week (or longer) telling people not to vote for her, badmouth her like she’s Sanford in drag, yet you walk through the door like you’re a welcome guest. Unbelievable.

  2. Brad

    Whoa. I was wrong. This is Vincent SHEHEEN’S big night. He just won the whole thing, walking away. Awesome! I just arrived at his victory party. THIS is the place to be tonight!

  3. Michael P.

    Why does Sheheen winning his primary imply a big deal, for the past two weeks the polls showed he was going to win big.

  4. Doug Ross

    Let’s not forget that Haley will end up with more votes than all the Democrat candidates combined. She’ll start with at least a built-in 10-15 point advantage over Sheheen. The pundits will try to make it into a horse race just to keep the money flowing.

    I’m hoping Barrett will see the light and just announce he won’t waste everyone’s time with a runoff.

  5. Brad

    I haven’t seen turnout numbers yet, so I don’t know.

    Michael, I don’t think anybody showed him running away with it like this. It certainly surprised ME… I didn’t expect to see Nikki in a runoff, and Vincent not needing one…

  6. Michael P.

    What I’ve seen showed him going above the 50% +1. No surprise to me.

    So how were you welcomed at the Haley reception? Like a ____ in a punchbowl? I didn’t include the word you refuse to print.

  7. Brad

    Maybe you could share a link to those poll numbers you’re citing. As I look back, I see what I remember — the best Vincent did in any poll was 36 percent, while Nikki was moving rapidly up to the point that the last poll had her at 43 percent.

    Here’s what I’m looking at. What are you looking at?

  8. bud

    Brad, I don’t think you took into account the large number of undecideds. And those polls you cited were about 2 weeks old. Momentum was clearly on Sheheen side. No surprise to me.

  9. Michael P.

    You’re the one who lives this stuff, I just read what I read, that Sheheen had held huge leads over Rex.

    So for the third time, how were you greeted at the Haley party? I still don’t understand how someone can badmouth someone the way you did and then show up at their election party. Had I talked that badly about your wife, would you have put your fist in my face if I had shown up?

    Did you notice last night that The State was about 20% behind WIS and WLTX in their poll reporting? WIS was almost completed by the time The State was at 50% reporting.

  10. Kathryn Fenner

    The classic difference between print and TV journalism is supposed to be that TV gets it quickly and print gets it right.

  11. marconi

    Brad can “badmouth” her as you say because he’s doing his job. Nikki Haley is probably a swell individual, faithful to spouse, loving to dogs, but is in no way qualified to be governor of this state.

    Go get a job and quit ruining our lives.

  12. Michael P.

    marconi – I have a job, actually have a great job. If my posts are ruining your life, you need to get a life. Interesting that you read an unemployed person’s blog, yet your advice to someone who posts on it is to “get a job”.

    So Brad can badmouth you and you’re supposed to understand that and lovingly welcome him into your home or party when he shows up. Had I been Haley’s husband, that girl in Myrtle Beach wouldn’t have been the only person in SC thrown off a balcony yesterday.

  13. Wally Altman

    A journalist who only goes places where he’ll be welcomed is doing a piss-poor job.

  14. Brad

    Michael, I hadn’t answered you partly because I didn’t think it was a serious question (I thought it was just your way of saying “You were SO mean to her” rather than a request for information), and party because if it WAS a serious question, it would take a longer explanation than I could give on my Blackberry.

    So here goes:
    First, look at the pictures. The party wasn’t under way yet. Although I just missed Nikki, she wasn’t there when I was; nor was most of her entourage. There were just a handful of her campaign folks and a bunch of broadcast media types, setting up.

    The only interactions I had with her folks were with a kid who was manning the credentials table — he was going to make me up some credentials but I said not to bother because I couldn’t stay — and a guy named “Josh,” I believe, who approached me in the ballroom and asked if he could be of help. Other than that I chatted with club staff about the preparations for the evening.

    Second, what are these awful things I’ve supposedly said about her? Perhaps you should throw some quotes at me. I’ve been very clear about the fact that the last thing this state needs is another Sanford, and she has made it very clear that that’s what she intends to be, and therefore I have in no way hesitated in telling people she is the candidate we need in the governor’s office. But what of it? That’s political commentary. Maybe you’re confusing me with some people who have actually said awful things about her lately (people with names like Folks, Marchant and Knotts). But I haven’t said a thing that anyone in the political/journalistic realm could regard as out of line.

    The couple of brief interactions I had with her folks were formal and polite, as I would expect. Rare is the staffer who shows his pique to the press — the huffy comments I’ve gotten recently from Rob Godfrey with the McMaster campaign were unusual in that regard, but as you could see, they were no big deal. I’m not even sure they knew who I was when I introduced myself; they were not people experienced in SC politics.

    If I had run into Nikki, the interaction may have been strained, but I think it would have been OK. We’ve always had a cordial relationship. If there had been awkwardness, it would be slightly more likely to be on my side than hers, because this past year has caused me to question much of what I had thought about who Nikki is. The last time we spoke, it was at the Gervais St. Starbucks shortly after the 2008 election in which she introduced me to a young woman “from my campaign.” And I thought that was odd — from her campaign? The campaign just ended? Surely she wasn’t already working with somebody on her re-election campaign! I was absolutely stunned a few weeks later when the news broke that she was RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR. Nikki was SO far from being at a point where she was ready for a job like that that I was stunned. And I started to wonder about what the House leadership had said about her — that rather than being the unassuming “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” idealist I had supposed she was, she was extremely ambitious and self-interested in her highly visible confrontations with them. Then, with all this Tea Party and Sarah Palin hoopla, I really got to where I felt like I didn’t know her any more…

    But all that aside… I would have been cordial to her, and I would have been very surprised if she hadn’t been cordial to me.

    Let me tell you an anecdote to try to explain how off-base you are with your assumption of incivility on anyone’s part in such a situation: In 1998, I had been really, REALLY critical of Jim Hodges in his campaign for governor. We had strongly advocated for David Beasley in a hard-fought campaign. And word had filtered back to me that he had taken it very personally. He felt like no gubernatorial candidate had ever been treated so harshly by the newspaper (and he had a point; but that’s because it was the first campaign since I had become editorial page editor, and I had a very different idea of how assertive the page should be, compared to what readers were used to). It was the beginning of a very awkward relationship during his time in office, because we didn’t let up with our criticism of his flip-flops on the lottery and video poker. He had an atrocious political adviser who did all he could to poison that relationship, persuading Jim not to deal with us at all. But I spent the whole evening election night at the Hodges/Democratic Party bash, and I don’t think anyone said an unpleasant word to me — mainly because they were all SO happy.

    Later, at the inaugural ball, I did have one Democratic lawmaker confront me in a bitter, surly manner, but he had been drinking, and some people are just unpleasant drunks.

    All of that said, I can think of only ONE reason why I might have had an unpleasant time a the Haley thing had there been more people there — she has attracted some very passionate supporters who tend to be hostile to the whole non-Nikki world. They’re suspicious of the media, experienced politicians, and hostile toward anyone who is not a true believer. (I say this in part because of some really odd, somewhat unpleasant, brief confrontations I had with some of her fans at the Palin rally.) So I might have run into some overzealous supporter who, from naivete, didn’t get the whole thing about political commentary and how you don’t take it personally. But I didn’t. And if I had, it wouldn’t have been any big deal.

  15. Brad

    Michael and I just crossed messages there; I was responding to an earlier one. To respond to his latest… so that’s how you deal with people who dare to disagree with you politically — you threaten to throw them off balconies?

    I’m beginning to see why you find it hard to believe that politicians and journalists can disagree and still remain civil to each other.

  16. Michael P.

    Thank you, I just really don’t understand how you can publicly rip someone apart and expect to show up at their party as if nothing happened. If I do the same thing here, you don’t publish it. As far as the quotes you’re requesting, just look at some of your headlines on your blog over the past couple weeks, you know what you’ve written I don’t need to point out each one to you.

    If I’m the husband or close friend of a someone you’ve relentlessly and publicly humiliated the way you did these past two weeks and then have the balls to show up to her party, yes I am going to let you know you have two options to leave… either by walking out the front door or head first out the window. I really don’t see how anything you’ve written is really that much different than what Folks wrote or what Knotts said.

    Why don’t I start publicly badmouthing your wife or family members and then see what kind of reception I receive when I show up at your next friends and family get together.

  17. Kathryn Fenner

    “Had I been Haley’s husband, that girl in Myrtle Beach wouldn’t have been the only person in SC thrown off a balcony yesterday.”

    Oh. My. God.

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