6:11 p.m. August 13, 2013

Frank Pallone's Election Party: A Live-Scribble

Editor's note: Olivia Nuzzi is reporting live from Frank Pallone's victory election party. This post will be updated as she files. Blame any typos on her iPhone. We'll clean it up later. -- PBC


McLoone's restaurant. Long branch, New Jersey. primary day. Frank Pallone's election party. 8:51PM. I'm standing on a mostly empty dance floor in front of a small stage equipped with a podium with a PALLONE FOR SENATE SIGN taped onto it. A floor to ceiling American flag serves as a backdrop. white paper lanterns hang over my head as a crowd of mostly middle aged Pallone supporters and a few young politicos mingles around me. The TVs on the walls around me are reporting on 2 things: the low voter turnout in the primary and a mother and cub panda reunion.

Then suddenly, "are you Olivia? Hi, yeah, I don't know you. We have a lot of mutual. friends on Facebook."


A man in a t shirt and flip flops walls up to me, shaking his head, "this is not good for labor." "Booker?" I ask. "He's unproven on labor." "Well isn't he unproven on everything?" "Yeah."

The results come in: Booker 57 Pallone 25 holt 13 Oliver 4

"Weird mix of people here," a local elected says to me. He later adds, "you could have run a better campaign, Olivia."


"There's so many fundraisers, I can't keep track anymore," I hear another elected official tell a guest. "I can only give so much. They better contribute to my campaign."

The DJ is playing "Shining Star" by Earth Wind and Fire.

The TVs are now showing reports of an Al Queda threat. Then some local news. Then sports. The dance floor is still empty.

People are whispering about an unidentified man in a blue polo shirt with a camera in his back pocket. Is he a republican plant?


The crowd is standing around the dance floor - not on it - watching a love report from Lonegan's HQ on News 12. An old man eating something from the buffet drifts across the dance floor.


"Olivia! Hi we've never met. How's Fordham?"

"Uh it's good."

A woman drinking wine keeps talking to me about the NYC mayoral campaign.

The weather report is on.

A young elected walks up to me: "Well this election proves that being one of Oprah Winfrey's favorite things pays off."

A small group of old men crowd around a tray of mini hamburgers.

"When is Pallone getting here?" ...

A woman is holding a "Pallone For Senate" sign upside down as servers set up dessert.

A man comes and readjusts her sign for her. No sign of Pallone yet.


"Oh these are fun!" — says a young elected as he points at some fruit that's been arranged in the shape of a bouquet of flowers.

"This is a victory," he continues.

"Where is Pallone?"


The DJ is now loudly playing "Party In The USA" by Miley Cyrus. The dance floor is shamefully still empty.

A guy in a TEAM PALLONE t-shirt, cargo shorts, and suspenders walks in.


The local news reports that Michelle Obama will guest appear in a hip hip video promoting healthy eating. Then, unrelated, reports of landslides.

The DJ begins to play "We Can't Stop" by Miley Cyrus. The local news cuts to Cory Booker's acceptance speech. It is drowned out by Miley Cyrus.

A friend introduces me to a young Pallone campaign staffer.

"How do you feel?" I ask him.

"Oh, I want to kill myself." ...

Springsteen's "Born In The USA" blares as Frank Pallone walks in...

And Cory booker's acceptance speech still plays on all the TV's.


Pallone works the room.

If you've never seen him walk, I highly recommend putting yourself in a situation where you can see it happen. He has a sort of bouncy strut — hips first, smile and squinted eyes always present.

He hugs the Monmouth county chair and poses for pictures with council members.


Pallone begins his speech:

"This was the best campaign that I could ever imagine... I have to say I actually enjoyed it. Even though it was a very short campaign, I actually enjoyed it."


Pallone thanks his staff.

Then he thanks the guy responsible for the infamous (in my mind at least) Chevy ad.


More Pallone:

"I never expected to be involved in this race at this time. It was only because of the untimely death of my good friend senator Lautenberg that we were in this very short sprint of a race."

Pallone explains that he never asked anything of Lautenberg's family and that their endorsements came from them: "When they endorsed me, it was really just unbelievable."

He adds, "I plan to senator Lautenberg's legacy."

The TV screens on either side of Pallone are still playing News 12, which is now showing footage from a wake.


Pallone tells us that he believes in the American Dream.

He compliments Congressman Rush Holt and Sheila Oliver.

No mention of Booker at all.

The crowd chants: "Stick with Frank!" as News 12 reports on a child who was attacked by a dog.


A Pallone staffer walks up to the bar:

"You know what the tag line on this is, man? You can't beat fucking prime time."


I greet Pallone at the bar: "Congressman."

"Oh I'm fine," he says. I hadn’t asked.

Nothing left to see here.