The long, dusty road of all campaigns leads to one place: the election night campaign party. Last night, those backing specific candidates and ballot issues gathered at venues big and small to eat, drink, mingle and wait in anticipation as the returns slowly rolled in.

Since I never pass up an opportunity to socialize, I did my fair share of party hopping Tuesday evening and managed to make an appearance at all the events held in Portland. With field reports provided by the extensive network of MaineToday Media journalists covering events held in other parts of the state, I was able to piece together the important details from each party.

Here’s a peek inside the election night party scene.

 

ELIOT CUTLER, independent candidate for governor, Eastland Park Hotel, Portland

Classic rock cover band Velourosaurus pumped up supporters with tunes from Bob Dylan, The Beatles and the Allman Brothers. Two full bars kept guests supplied with beer, wine and mixed drinks. Snacks included whole fruit, cut fruit, veggie sticks, crackers, assorted cheeses, olives, bread, brownies and cookies.

Notable guests spotted at the party included Rich Petersen, CEO of Maine Medical Center; Alan Caron, formerly of GrowSmart Maine and now with Envision Maine; and state legislator Lila Percy.

 

PAUL LEPAGE, Republican candidate for governor, Champions Fitness, Waterville

A giant American flag and balloons covered in the stars and stripes gave this party a patriotic flair. The large venue was filled with hundreds of people who could watch Fox News on two TVs.

Fruit bouquets adorned the bar, with other appetizers available in a room upstairs, away from the party floor. Guests could choose from a full bar to wash down the hors d’oeuvres.

Bruce Poliquin, who lost to LePage in the Republican primary, was spotted in the crowd.

 

JASON LEVESQUE, Republican candidate for 2nd Congressional District, Hilton Garden Inn, Auburn

At the entrance to the ballroom, a photo collage featuring images of Levesque’s Army days greeted guests.

A small food table featured sliced cheeses, crackers and fruits. Shipyard Export Ale was the most popular drink.

Notable faces in the crowd of more than 100 included Rep. Bruce Bickford, R-Auburn; and John Frary of Farmington, former Republican candidate for the U.S. House.

 

MIKE MICHAUD, Democratic candidate for 2nd Congressional District, Grassroots Catering, East Millinocket

Orange tablecloths and brown napkins gave this party a fall harvest feel. With such a small venue, the party was invite-only and roughly 100 people made it onto the list.

Those who got in enjoyed a buffet of rice, broccoli and cheese, mashed potatoes, roast beef, Hawaiian chicken, punch and coffee.

 

LIBBY MITCHELL, Democratic candidate for governor, Bayside Bowl, Portland

Green-and-white balloons clung to the ceiling and hand-painted signs decorated the walls at this venue owned by the candidate’s son, Charlie Mitchell and State Sen. Justin Alfond, both of whom were at the party.

Waitstaff were busy replenishing a buffet table offering pizza, chicken wings, bruschetta, cut veggies, crackers and cheese.

The night’s most popular drink came straight from the “Libby Mitchell” tap, which was really Long Trail IPA.

Other well-known supporters spotted at the party included Portland Mayor Nick Mavodones and former state Rep. Jeremy Fischer.

 

SHAWN MOODY, independent candidate for governor, Moody’s Collision Center, Gorham

Inside the second floor function room, the party felt more like a family gathering than a political soiree. Moody’s wife, Christina, and daughter Danielle acted as hosts, talking to just about everyone in the room.

The food was pot luck, and included trays of rigatoni, macaroni cheese, salad, cheese and crackers, and boxes of delivered pizza.

Guest could quench their thirst with Pepsi, wine and Shipyard beer.

Those spotted at the party included former Angus King spokesman Dennis Bailey, who consulted for Moody during the campaign; and Bob Crowley, the former Gorham High School teacher who won the CBS reality show “Survivor.”

 

Chellie Pingree, Democratic candidate for 1st Congressional District, Porthole Restaurant, Portland

This well-loved and well-worn watering hole contained a casually dressed group of supporters. Hand-painted signs decorated the walls and green-and-white balloons adorned the small stage.

An iPod playlist provided background music and the one TV over the bar allowed folks to watch the returns.

Locally brewed beers, such as Shipyard, were the drinks of choice, and helped wash down a spread of comfort food that included bacon-wrapped scallops, veggie lasagna, salad, bread, hummus, olives, cheese, crackers, cut fruit and deviled eggs.

Notable guests included Pingree’s daughter and speaker of the Maine House Hannah Pingree and Portland Mayor Nick Mavodones.

 

DEAN SCONTRAS, Republican candidate for 1st Congressional District, Regatta Room & Banquet Center, Eliot

Fox News played on the big screen against one wall and a floor-to-ceiling American flag adorned the other.

On tap at the bar just outside the room were Shipyard ales and blueberry-flavored Cold River vodka.

Guests could join the Trivia Night going on in the adjoining brew pub as they awaited results.

 

KEVIN SCOTT, independent candidate for governor, private home, Andover

Scott spent election night in his home with a group of friends. Because members of the media weren’t invited to cover the gathering, your guess is as good as mine when it comes to what they ate or which drinks they enjoyed.

 

CASINOS YES

DiMillo’s Restaurant, Portland

Even before the polls closed, a crowd of supporters in business attire filled the Port Room on the second floor of the floating restaurant.

Guests noshed on Italian meatballs, chicken wings, egg salad and tuna salad sandwiches, cheese, crackers, mini egg rolls and cookies.

The one bar in the room had a long line, where mixed drinks proved more popular than beer.

Steve Barber, former president of Barber Foods; and Robert Lally, treasurer of Maine Taxpayers Taking Charge; who are both partners in Black Bear Entertainment, the group proposing the casino, were at the party.

 

CASINOS YES

Maurice’s Restaurant, Norway

Wearing a tux, Maine’s Hottest Bachelor Derek Lovely greeted guests at the door, while waitresses in fishnet stockings served shrimp with cocktail sauce and stuffed mushrooms.

The packed restaurant had a festive atmosphere, enhanced by tunes from a DJ and the clatter of a roulette wheel. Jolly John was spotted among the guests.

 

CASINOS NO

Moose Pond Arts & Ecology, Norway

Inside a small arts studio, a close knit group of supporters enjoyed cheese and crackers and mini quiches from a candlelit buffet table. Red and white wine flowed freely.

 

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at: [email protected]