For those not following at home, that would be Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove). At about that same time, across town in Santa Ana, Rebecca Schoenkopf was watching Sanchez do a victory dance at the Performing Arts Pavilion. She now heads the House Committee on Homeland Security. Bye-bye, indeed.
The Reverend Lou Sheldon seemed to be hiding nervousness behind a slight grin and his hands buried deeply in his pockets. The chairman of the anti-gay, anti-outta-wedlock Traditional Values Coalition said that after working with his fellow Republicans for 12 years, he's curious to find out how conservative the newly empowered Democrats will be and whether they will approach the next session with a spirit of bipartisanship.
Funny, the Rev. Lou never spouted a desire for bipartisanship at previous GOP election-night sweeping victories.
Come come now, Lou, say it straight: What's your strategy going to be now that the Republicans are losing their grip on Washington?
"The new Democrats are going to keep me very busy," he said in between sips of a Coke.
Alan Mansoor was upbeat and very happy as he seemed to sew up his re-election to the Costa Mesa City Council despite championing a divisive immigration law that drew national attention. Several people approached Mansoor during the evening to say that no matter what happens on the federal level, at least he has things under control in Costa Mesa.
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In their chit-chats with one another on this otherwise glum night—attendance was no more than 10 percent of some previous years—local Republicans recognized that the scandals swirling around Mark Foley, Jack Abramoff and Duke Cunningham came back to bite them in the butt this election.
"It wasn't that the Democrats won this," said one. "We lost by our own actions."
By 11:47 p.m., the huge banner saying, "America's Most Republican County" was being taken down . . . by a Latino immigrant in a Hyatt Regency uniform.
(as told to Matt Coker)