6:21 p.m. November 5, 2013

I'm With The Banned

7:30 PM. Convention Hall, Asbury Park, New Jersey. Olivia Nuzzi emails live updates from Governor Chris Christie's election night celebration. Updating in real time.

Having been denied a press credential by governor Christie's campaign, I find myself here among the common Christie supporters, clutching my general admission ticket.

A line of hundreds of dressed up New Jersey republicans line the perimeter of the lawn in front of convention hall.

A staffer approaches the line, pointing at women with pocketbooks. "ladies, if your purse is bigger than this, you're not going to be able to get in," she gestures to a small bag the size of an envelope. "They will turn you away at the gate."

Besides purses, coats are also banned, which is something of an inconvenience considering Asbury Park is on the ocean.

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After an hour wait in the blistering cold, I enter Convention Hall. A female singer belts Journey's "Dont Stop Believing" from the stage. Red light bathes the crowd of mostly white party goers.

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Partygoers roam around eating giant pretzels and popcorn. Bouquets of balloons decorate red-clothed tables. A large screen projects pictures of Christie and images from inside the event.

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Another singer takes the stage to sing "Sweet Caroline." He attempts somewhat successfully to engage the audience in a singalong.

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A campaign commercial plays in the screen. No guests turn to watch it.

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Todd Christie takes the stage. He thanks the volunteers from the campaign. He thanks the campaign staff. "And then of course we have the candidate... It seems like everyone who didn't know him before now knows him." He i introduces Susannah Martinez, Governor of New Mexico. She says something in Spanish, then goes back to English. "Chris Christie... promised to-" a man comes up and kisses me on the cheek. It is former tea party Frank Pallone challenger Ernesto Cullari. Back to Martinez's speech "...he is a real leader .. When Christie goes on tv and tells those he represents that he'll keep his word, period, Chris Christie keeps his word. You know, governor Christie is an optimist... Tonight Christie showed America what real leadership looks like.... God bless America." She then says thanks in Spanish.

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The band begins to sing "Love Train." People are drinking more, thus dancing more.

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A bearded man approaches, "did your puppy dog die?" "What?" He pouts and points to my mouth, "the look on your face!"

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An older man stands in front of Christie's election cake, which is a replica of Trenton with a tall, svelte man standing in front of it who is supposed to be Christie I guess? It looks more like Christie than Barbara Buono, at least. He positions his Blackberry in front of his face and smiles to snap a few selfies.

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On the giant projection screen in the room next to the room with the stage, they are airing a CNN interview with Dr. Phil.

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CNN projects Christie's numbers, 58 to 41, the crowd cheers. Then they project de Blasio's numbers, the crowd boos.

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The crowd circles the stage and begins to chant when the screen shows Jake Tapper reporting live from the event.

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Waiting for Christie to take the stage.

"He won fifty five percent of women and 65 percent of something else," a woman in the crowd says.

A short man approaches me. He is holding a large envelope. "What is your name?" "Olivia." "Lidia?" "Sure." He opens his envelope and pulls out photographs, "do you think I can get that close again?" he asks. I don't understand what he is talking about. He explains that he got very close to Christie at an event the previous week and he was trying to get very close to him again. This conversation feels like something I may have to repeat to a police officer at some point. He suddenly changes the subject. "So are you married?" "What?" "Are you here with your husband?" The couple behind me begins to laugh loudly. They offer to buy me a drink, "you need tequila!" The man asks me what I do for a living. Then he asks me if I would be interested in writing about his music career. He again opens his envelope, this time pulling out a CD. Then, as if sent by the Tea Party Gods, former Pallone challenger-Cullari appears to remove me from the situation.

Christie takes the stage, surrounded by his family, to applause usually reserved for the Pope or Justin Bieber. "Well, well, well, how about this, New Jersey?" he asks the adoring crowd. "Ladies and gentlemen, tonight, tonight, I stand here as your governor, and I am so proud to be your governor."

Despite his landslide victory, I hear some Republicans whisper about the state-wide Republican failure: they failed to pick up any seats. "Not that big a win," I hear a man tell another guest. "A big win for him," someone confirms.

"We stand here tonight showing that it is possible to put your job first, to put working together first, to fight for what you believe in and still get something done for the people he elected you," Christie sings. "The biggest thing I've learned over the last four years is leadership is much less about talking than it is about listening."

Outside, news trucks line the parking lot. A few blocks away, I find myself at a party held by local Democrats. Footage of Christie's speech comes on the TV. "I can't even look," a woman says as she turns away. "I just can't look."