COLUMBUS, Ohio - The AP called the race for Sherrod Brown and it seemed the air went out of the room at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Columbus. You slowly but surely began to watch people file out. Others chose not to believe the results until they heard it spoken from the Republican gospel itself, FOX News.
A Republican operative said they trusted the AP report and Mandel was held up in a room with staff as they contemplated their next move. At one point, the monitors in the room which blared FOX News went dark and once again you saw the Mandel for Senate sign.
People began to gather in the middle of the room armed with Mandel campaign signs and waving them in the air, ready to greet their friend in defeat. Then, a sound came from the speaker.
It wasn't the voice of the announcer who would tell everyone to gather in the middle of the floor just before he would make an announcement. Nope. It was Megyn Kelly and Bret Baire of FOX News talking election results.
I went back to that operative and asked, "What happened."
"I don't know," they said. "He was coming down and then he went back." The air was truly sucked out as people were holding on to every last gasp ready to cheer on the Marine from Cleveland who made it to the Treasurer's office. Then, around 10:58 p.m. you heard that mysterious Charlie's Angels type voice appear.
Actually, it might be closer to the Wizard from Oz. "Will everyone come into the middle of the floor," he said. This time the arms were ready as supporters knew this was it. They wanted to cheer on Mandel even in defeat.
Mandel came to the stage to a thunderous applause, followed by his wife. She stood tall and strong next to her husband clearly trying to hold back tears. A campaign that started about a year-and-a-half ago has come to an end.
"This was a David Versus Goliath type fight," Mandel said. The 35-year-old I'm told went back to make that call to Brown and congratulate him on the win. That was the first piece of information Mandel told the crowd on the stage. The treasurer told the crowd that everything was left on the field and that he was, "proud of the effort put forth."
Mandel revved up the crowd by saying, "this is not the end of the fight but the beginning." With 99.85 percent reporting, Brown won the state with 50 percent of the vote to Mandel's 45 percent of the vote. "The great thing we have in these elections is win or lose we are all Americans."
We all come together and do what is right for our country," Mandel told the crowd. "While we were not victorious tonight, I will do everything I can to continue this fight for what we believe in," Mandel said.
He thanked the crowd, looked over to his wife and gave her a light kiss. He grabbed her hand and waved goodbye -- for now -- with the other.
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