Election night coverage is exciting and exhausting - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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Election night coverage is exciting and exhausting

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Allison Hurtado

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Posted: Sunday, September 4, 2011 9:00 am

I've never covered an election before and I've got to say, it's a lot of pressure.

Tuesday night was the big night. Between myself and photographer Darryl Webb, we had to figure out how to cover six candidates in a close run for mayor.

We decided to divide and conquer. I'd seen a lot of commentary back and forth between Wes Gullet and Greg Stanton in the final days before the results. That was an indication that the two believed they were in the lead and were eager to be heard.

With that in mind, I sent Darryl to capture Gullett's celebration, as well as Jennifer Wright's. I took Stanton and Peggy Neely.

I arrived at Stanton's celebration just in time to see the results up on screen. Stanton held his celebration in the place he hopes to continue to build, downtown Phoenix. The A.E. England Auditorium at Civic Space was packed with supporters of all ages for Stanton and City Councilman Michael Nowakowski.

It was interesting to me to see the turnout for the election. Voting center turnout had 13,018 votes, or 2.01 percent of registered votersthe population. Early voting turnout had 88,437, or 13.67 percent. In all, that's only 15.68 percent of the voters in Phoenix. It has been a topic of discussion that perhaps the city would get a better turnout if they moved the election to line up with county elections. Gullett has said he'd be willing to give up a year of his term in order to allow for that alignment.

Stanton's campaign took the opportunity Tuesday night to thank their supporters but they also asked for donations and more volunteer hours to keep the momentum going. As of Thursday's ballot count, Stanton had 17,267 more votes than Gullett. But with four other Republicans not qualifying for the runoff in November, it could make it a close race.

Once I'd gotten my photos and a few good quotes from Stanton, I literally ran to City Hall to try and catch Neely's address to the media, clutching my laptop and camera as I went. Unfortunately, my running was in vain because Neely didn't show up. Instead she had a few campaign workers outside handing out her statement.

It was back to Stanton's celebration to try and find a quiet place to type so I could get an article online right away, then checking back again and again to see if the results were updated later in the night.

In the end, the night concluded without a huge bang, but the election is not over. Stanton and Gullett will go on to a runoff election on Nov. 8. Until then I'm prepared for the politics. I expect a few unnecessary press releases from each campaign trying to smear the other and I'm preparing myself now for a busy night in November when I'll do it all again.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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