Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Inside the Schock victory party

In an evening filled with angst and hand-wringing for Republicans, the Lord in his mercy offered a single bright spot - the election of 18th Congressional District Candidate Aaron Schock to Congress.

A huge crowd filled the new Peoria Civic Center ballroom to capacity as many of Aaron's friends, family, supporters and colleagues joined him in an evening of anticipation and ultimately, Victory.

Aaron spent the evening mingling with the crowd, pausing patiently for photos, doing network interviews and occasionally trolling the election stats via cell-phone. The depth to which Aaron connects with people of all ages and ethnicity's will never cease to amaze me. To be honest, it was this very quality that brought me on board the Schock train the day I met him, almost a year ago during the primaries.

Below is Aaron, enjoying a fringe benefit of the job. It's rough, but somebody's gotta do it!

I'm sure posing with me and hubby, John was quite the letdown after the prior photo! Heh heh.

Fairly early in the evening, it became evident that once again, Aaron would deliver a resounding victory to Illinois Republicans. The pride that permeated the room was indescribable. Steven Shearer, Schocks campaign manager, never took a single moment to savor the victory. He was all business, all night long. Steve, if you are reading this, log off NOW and get thyself to Cabo!

Despite the thrill in the air over Aaron's win, there was also a profound melancholy as we watched the returns come in for the darling of the Republican ticket, Joan Krupa. This is something that I find difficult to even write about, and right now I will only make a few comments. Although our system of Democracy is the greatest in the world, it is by no means perfect, and never has that been more apparent than by the defeat of Joan Krupa last night to Jehan Gordon. I will spare any further comment for a later post... but suffice it to say, her election defied any logic and common sense, and in my opinion will prolong the critical state of Illinois government.

At approximately 10:00 p.m., Schock and Company took the stage to address the crowd. Imagine my surprise when Steve Shearer asked me to join the supporters on stage. Of course, I was humbled and honored to stand with the youngest person ever to be elected to Congress. That sh** doesn't happen every day.

The program was opened with a moving rendition of America the Beautiful by local singer Pat Ward. Her deep resonant voice, coupled with the realization that other Republican races weren't going so well, brought tears to my eyes.

Shortly thereafter, Schock's primary opponents John Morris and Jim McConoughey made a few clever and poignant remarks relating to their experiences as Aaron's opponents in the primary. "Yes, I got to know Aaron well too...", McConoughey quipped with a feigned eye-roll as the crowd chuckled in empathy and understanding.

Other speakers to take center stage were Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, Campaign Chairman and Peoria City Council Member Eric Turner, several Mayors, and state representative Keith Sommer.

Aaron's remarks, although brief, were humble and powerful. Aaron thanked all those who voted, endorsed and supported him, and at the same time offered a reassurance to all that he would, as he has in the past, reach across the aisle to serve all citizens. A little Republican red meat was tendered as well when he assured the crowd that if he disagreed with a policy, he would fight it with all his heart and soul. You know what? I believe him. Whether you agree or not, this is a man that is driven by powerful conviction.

Now I realize that Schock has his dissenters. I believe that most of those that yell the loudest are people that have never met him or cared to learn what is in his heart. That's OK. I just ask that you give him a chance. I'm willing to give it to Obama. Deal? All we are say-ing, is give peace a chance. Hey! That would make a great song!


Christi said...

GREAT BLOG!!! I always enjoy reading your ramblings but this one humbles me. Keep on, keeping on. Your my inspiration.



Knight in Dragonland said...

I'm happy to give him a chance ... but I'll be watching. Closely.

Diane Vespa said...

We'll take it! said...

Diane, Do you think Steve would be mad if I mentioned his shirt? He is so business when I talk to him, I was surprised to see such a burst of colors!

Paul Wilkinson said...

It was a great party Diane. left around midnight. Aaron was out at 5:30am at Keystone and other places thanking his constituents this morning as he always does after every election. I ended up taking over 400 pics of the event.

Diane Vespa said...

Jen - If Steve was mad he would appear the exact same way as if he was happy or sad, or nervous or excited. Ha ha! Comes with the territory, I guess!

Anon E. Mouse said...

Hey Diane,
Any idea where I can get a bunch of those big (4'x8' or larger) corrugated plastic campaign signs that are now no longer needed? Any campaign - they just useful for all sorts of things.

Mazr said...

"In an evening filled with angst and hand-wringing for Republicans, the Lord in his mercy offered a single bright spot - the election of 18th Congressional District Candidate Aaron Schock to Congress."

Wow......somehow deep down I think you truly believe that.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your words and photo's , i always look forward to your blogs . Your a very kind lady. Mamma Hen , wish you would have been at the Neighborhood Banquet . Paul won the Mayor's Award. He earned it for all his hard work in our community ....

Steve Shearer said...

anon e mouse, call me at Schock hqts and you can have all the choroplast 4 X 8s you want. 693.9393

Anonymous said...

great photos, di! awesome win, too.


Anonymous said...

I have often wondered why Aaron was in such a hurry to leave Peoria to go to Springfield and then to leave Springfield to go to Washington-after serving such a short time on the 150 school board?