Mission: Primary Party
We here at Boston Daily get a lot of press releases from the presidential candidates. If a candidate so much as sneezes, we’ve been notified. Earlier this week, the campaigns of Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama told us they were holding Super Tuesday events at various locations around the city.
Our mission (and we chose to accept it): To attend every Super Tuesday party.
Our evening began at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center to check in on Mitt Romney. We arrived at 8:08 p.m., shortly after Massachusetts had been called as a victory for the former governor.
The scene at the BCEC had the most attendees of the night since it was the only event where the candidate would make an appearance, and the swag was accordingly awesome. A table of Romney supporters handed out thundersticks with the campaign logo emblazoned upon them, and we finally got our hands on the Mitt mitt we have long coveted.
We expected the Romney party would only offer warm milk and cookies to supporters, so we were surprised to see a cash bar with an array of beer and wine. Huge bowls of stale off-brand Chex Mix, decent potato chips, and flavorless pretzels were set up between the wide screen TVs that switched channels between FOX News and CNN.
The crowd was generally older, with a few teenagers in baggy pants we suspected were either dragged out by their parents or were crashing the party. Many of the men wore nice suits with classy Romney-themed lapel pins. One woman attempted to be stylish in skinny jeans and a faded “Only Dates Republicans” t-shirt, but her unfortunate makeup kept her from succeeding.
The rumor was that Romney would speak at 9 p.m., but we heard former lieutenant governor Kerry Healey say he wouldn’t be onstage until 10 p.m. Not wanting to miss the other parties, we grabbed another Mitt mitt for the road and headed to Hillary Clinton’s party at Ned Devine’s.
At 9:33, we arrived in Faneuil Hall and made our way to the Clinton party. The gear for supporters was less impressive than the Romney party, but a large pile of signs and stickers sat on a table by the bathrooms. Clinton’s snacks were by far the best of the night, with chips and salsa for supporters to nosh.
While the gathering was smaller, it was more enthusiastic since Massachusetts had already been called a victory for Clinton. Every time the Massachusetts results popped up on CNN, the largely female crowd let out a loud cheer. A campaign staffer bellowed at the supporters who clung to the bar to move closer to the cameras as CNN took a live shot of the gathering.
We saw the one group of notables we’d see all night. At 10:05, Mayor Tom Menino, Speaker Sal DiMasi, City Council President Maureen Feeney and others took the stage to thank Boston supporters for their hard work. Menino called Clinton’s win the “upset of the night” (actually, we’d say that was Mike Huckabee’s victory in West Virginia, but okay), and Councilor Feeney called Menino “our wonderful mayor.” It was nice to see those kids getting along. For now.
After the short remarks from the local Clinton supporters, we grabbed a cab to our last stop of the night, Barack Obama’s party at the Middle East Downstairs. A campaign volunteer told us we’d missed Sen. John Kerry and Gov. Deval Patrick by about 10 minutes.
“Senator Kerry gave a great speech,” the staffer told us. “He was his usual ‘where the hell was this in 2004’ self.”
While supporters at other events drank Sam Adams or cocktails, Obama supporters carried around $3 Narragansett tall boys as they anxiously awaited any news from California. There was no swag and no snacks because the event was supposed to be for high-level supporters and volunteers who already had enough stuff and were too tired to eat.
The crowd was the most diverse of the night—there were white college students in leggings, young, professional-looking Kerry staffers, and black gay men all with their eyes fixed on the televisions.
When it became clear that California wouldn’t be called either way until much later than 11 p.m., we decided to call it a night. But we’re proud to report we attended every primary party we knew about, took swag where we could find it, and are relieved Super Tuesday only happens once every four years.