Subscribe for 17¢ / day

Hostess Maura Jones poured mostly root beer and pinot noir for fans of Hillary Clinton at The Shack on Tuesday night, the last night of one of the most fiercely fought Democratic presidential primaries in recent history.

The New York senator didn't concede the race to Barack Obama, who declared victory, and one member of the small, loyal crowd at the downtown restaurant said she will go so far as to write in Clinton's name on November's ballot if she has to.

Heather Garland, who said she has supported the Clintons for 30 years, also turned her back to the television when Obama spoke.

"I can't watch this. It's just breaking my heart," said Garland, of Missoula.

She was one of roughly 40 people who gathered early Tuesday evening.

Down the street at the Wilma Theatre, Obama fans turned out in the hundreds. There, the party was marked by abundance.

Glenn Schmidt, who emceed the event, estimated some 700 people packed the house to witness the senator from Illinois projected the winner on the big screen during a night that looks to be the eve of his historic bid for the presidency. Obama would be the first black president in the history of the country - and will also be the first black presidential nominee.

Much of the crowd poured onto the sidewalk and down Higgins Avenue after Obama's speech, but colorful balloons still bounced down the aisles, and at 9 p.m., Salsa Loca was just setting up for those who caught a second wind later on.

At the entrance, Obama buttons sold out and the youngest fans were buying $1 temporary tattoos with Obama's name inside the outline of the state of Montana, said a vendor.

"Kids like 'em," said Hannah Smith, who came down from Rockin Rudy's to restock supplies.

The bounty spilled onto tables of food, too. Volunteers brought hummus, ham and cheese, peanuts, pretzels and even a tossed salad. And after all the hoopla, the poems and speeches and music, the food kept right on coming.

"You need sustenance to cheer," said Donna Koch of Missoula.

Earlier in the evening, the cheering happened at Clinton's campaign office on Main Street. When Makereta Samuela of Missoula learned Clinton had taken South Dakota, she pushed her arms up into the air and yelled.

Across the street at the Union Club, though, it was quiet. Bar stools sat open in a bar that's normally brimming on election night, and Kevin Connors munched on peanuts while Clinton spoke over the television.

Connors supports Obama, but said the two on one ticket would be "unbeatable."

"The whole fight is going to be almost forgotten in the next few weeks," Connors said.

And the Big Sky spectators who have relished the visits of high-profile candidates have Clinton to thank, said Carol Williams, Clinton's campaign manager in Montana.

Had Clinton bowed out of the race early on as pundits wished, Montana wouldn't have had the unprecedented number of visits these few months from presidential contenders.

"Everyone in Montana who liked this primary should thank Hillary Clinton for making it happen," Williams said.

0
0
0
0
0
You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.