Live Blog: DFL Celebration … Senate race too close to call

by Karlee Weinmann

The official verdict from the Daily: the U.S. Senate race is too close to call. Check tomorrow’s Daily for further coverage, for updates and Thursday’s Daily for a complete story. ————- According to the latest Secretary of State’s Office numbers, Coleman and Franken now sit a tight .01 percent — no, not 1 percent — apart. One tenth of on percent, with almost 65 percent of precincts of reporting is ridiculously close. If you’re curious, we’re at Franken – 41.88 percent and Coleman – 41.87 percent. Franken to speak in about 10 minutes, which would make his appearance at about 11:30 p.m. —————

Anne Cammack, left, weeps tears of joy in the arms of fellow Minneapolitan Peg Chembelim after the announcement of Barack Obama’s victory in the 2008 presidential election.

As the crowd still goes crazy, I’m watching the Secretary of State’s numbers for the U.S. Senate race come in. There’s a back-and-forth between Franken and Coleman, and with nearly 43 percent of precincts reporting, the numbers are in Franken’s favor — slightly — 42.3 percent to 41.4 percent. It’s still anyone’s race, and as predicted earlier, we’ll be here for a while longer. I’m told U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar will be speaking shortly. ————— ED’s NOTE: We’ve got a deadlock in the Senate race…41 all. Barkley is holding at 15 percent. What’s the one thing that can virtually silence a room full of euphoric Obama supporters that have been screaming and dancing for about 20 minutes? John McCain’s concession speech. Well, sort of. Any allusion to Obama draws a wave of cheers, roaring through the packed-in audience of supporters in St. Paul. The crowd is respectful, mostly, and can’t contain its excitement. ————- AS I TYPE THIS, ITS BEEN PROJECTED THAT OBAMA JUST EARNED THE PRESIDENCY AND PEOPLE ARE LOVIN’ IT. SCREAMS, TEARS AND CLAPPING ALL AROUND. They’re chanting again, and — an aside to the Daily powers that be — we really need to get some sort of sound capabilities for this blog. People are embracing, jumping on the media table and dancing. This is unreal. It’s crazy. I can’t express it. The room is literally bouncing along with the people in it. I used to be able to hear Kool and the Gang over the crowd, but not so anymore — save for a “Woohoo” here and there. More to come. ——————— Sometime in the 9 o’clock hour…

Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak speaks at the DFL victory celebration Tuesday night at the Crown Plaza Hotel in downtown St. Paul..

A barrage of speakers, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar, mayors R.T. Rybak and Chris Coleman and other notables praised Barack Obama and Minnesotans for helping him to what they hope is a sure victory. Also, the crowd got rowdy again at initial reports showing Democratic senatorial candidate Al Franken has a lead over incumbent Republican Norm Coleman. We’ll see how it shapes up; according to the Secretary of State’s Office — the best source on these matters — Franken’s leading by just more than 3 points with almost 12 percent of precincts reporting. Lastly (for now), lately-criticized Michele Bachmann’s small lead over Democratic challenger El Tinklenberg in a race for the U.S. House yielded plenty of boos. No surprises there. Again, we’ll see what happens. Well, reader, it looks like you and me are in for a long night here at DFL headquarters. I’m prepared to bring you the latest and greatest though, and my comrades out at other sites are committed to doing the same. Until next time, Karlee Weinmann Projects Reporter ———————

Carol Mack, left, of White Bear Lake celebrates with Judy Wagner of Duluth as CNN reports Barack Obama as the projected winner of Minnesota on Tuesday at the Crown Plaza Hotel in downtown St. Paul. “We’re gonna celebrate tonight after eight miserable years,” said Wagner.

“We’ve waited and we’ve waited and we’ve waited and the night is here.” That’s DFL Party Chair Brian Melendez speaking in the past hour about his party’s big night. Also speaking was St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman:

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman speaks at the DFL victory celebration Tuesday night at the Crown Plaza Hotel in downtown St. Paul..

“Tonight is going to be one historic night,” Coleman said. “I’m pretty excited about the fact that we’re going to have Barack Obama as the next president of the United States.” The St. Paul mayor also talked about a time two years ago, when Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak became one of the earliest supports of Obama’s run for president. Rybak downplayed his personal role and relationship with Obama, and instead focused on the state’s role in the election. “Tonight’s the night to make history,” he said. “Minnesota played a big role in this.” Earlier… Chants of “Obama, Obama!” began as the Democrat was projected winner of battleground state Ohio. I really wish I could post sound to this thing. Moments ago, I spoke with our current Sen. Amy Klobuchar (a Democrat). She said she’s excited, and that she thinks the Democrats “can pull it off” tonight. (Note: Klobuchar lives in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood, and likely cast ballots among some of you at her polling place this morning).

DFL supporter Jeff Whitman pumps his fist in the air after CNN projected Obama the winner in the Ohio presidential election at the DFL Victory Celebration Tuesday night at the Crown Plaza Hotel in downtown St. Paul.

Throughout the night, big screen TVs streaming CNN, CBS and other nonstop election coverage have projected Obama victorious in several states thus far, including much sought-after Pennsylvania. Let me tell you, each time a new state is announced (and each time a Democratic senate hopeful is projected a winner), this place absolutely erupts.

Reporters essentially have spent the last couple of hours interviewing (read: BS-ing with) each other, but such notables as Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak have since filed in. The rumor mill here is spinning that since Rybak has been so tight with Obama during his campaign, that the mayor might see some play as an Obama adviser or have a post of some sort in the administration — provided Obama reigns tonight, of course.

One last note for now: official speakers, including Franken, are expected to take the stage beginning at 10:08 p.m. I’ll be bopping around the party until then, and bringing you the very latest.

Karlee Weinmann

Projects Reporter