I’ve mentioned before that politics is one of my favorite sports, and election night is my Superbowl.
Just like the real Superbowl, no two election nights are the same. Sometimes things go exactly how you expect them, and sometimes there’s a wardrobe malfunction at half time or a wide-right field goal with time running out.
This year, I was quarterbacking election coverage for the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal. We had our team in place and were in the typically boring part of the evening — the “now we wait” part.
In truth, there are several “now we wait” parts. We wait for polls to close. We wait for results to come in. And then we wait for candidates to talk to us. This was the second “now we wait” part, waiting for the numbers to come in.
I sat in the newsroom waiting for fresh numbers from the board of elections, and our team was out in the field waiting to talk to candidates and taking pictures of the evening’s candidates’ parties.
Our staff photographer, Joe Eberle, was popping back and forth from Republican headquarters at Danny Sheehan’s to Democratic County Clerk Candidate Pat Murphy’s headquarters at the Shamus Restaurant. Meanwhile, one of our freelance photographers, Heather Grimmer, had set up camp at Lockport’s Democratic headquarters, the Davison Road Inn.
The Davison Road Inn, or D.R.I., was the home to Democratic mayoral candidate Mike Pillot and candidate for alderman, Shirley Nicholas.
We knew the mayoral race was going to be tight and could go either way. The refuse and recycling issue in Lockport had made Mayor Mike Tucker vulnerable. It had done the same with 1st Ward Alderwoman Richelle Pasceri. In fact, she had lost the GOP primary to Nicholas for that very reason.
Potentially, we had two upsets on our hands, and we wanted to have a photographer on hand to snap pictures of the happy winners at Democrat headquarters, if that’s the way it played out.
Unfortunately, our photographer, Heather, was asked to stop taking photographs — and leave — by adherents to the Democrats’ campaigns.
“We don’t like the Union-Sun and we’d like you to leave,” is the paraphrase that was relayed back to me.
Heather — a professional photographer, but a novice at politics — called to ask me how to proceed. Me — not being a novice at politics — was rather upset at the lack of class and professional decorum on display by the Democrats. And frankly, I was a bit shocked. I mean, this just isn’t the way it works.
Side note for those who don’t know me well: The only thing I dislike more than Democrats are Republicans.
Heather had every right to stay at D.R.I., a point reiterated to her by the staff of the D.R.I. But I told her to leave the restaurant without taking any photos. If the candidates and their people didn’t want their pictures in the paper, then, by golly, they weren’t going to be.
And all I could think was, “If this is the way these people treat others, I hope to God they don’t get elected.”
They didn’t. Karmic justice, if you ask me.