A foreboding feeling permeated the hearts of Bill White supporters on Tuesday, as the realization set in that the Democratic gubernatorial candidate wasn't going move into the governor's mansion this year.
But that didn't stop us from seeking a good party. After attending a Day of the Dead fiesta (talk about foreshadowing) at the Consulado General de México, a group of us hit the Bill White Election Night party at the Hilton Americas-Houston.
Arriving at the escalator landing outside the ballroom, it was already clear that the party was not so much celebration as sad salute. Even the balloons seemed to be frowning as White backers entered into the dark domain. Cheese cubes and cranberry spritzers could do little to enliven the morose mood that blanketed the failure fête and made that awful, tacky hotel conference room carpeting all the more devastating.
"It's sad," said Sarah Slamon, who worked on the White campaign. "[Rick Perry] beat us by a lot of points. A lot of us had a lot of hopes and dreams, and now it seems like they're put on hold for another four years."
To be frank, turnout at the party was low, and the number of partygoers plummeted after White left the room (presumably to the private party on the 12th floor). At least, one partygoer stood along the wall, mindlessly eating distinctly off-tasting spinach artichoke dip.
"Honestly, I haven't been here for long," said Chip Schwab, a fellow from Georgia with no apparent connection to White. "Instead of getting sad about it, I think that we should just look forward."
"It was a great group of people. We did everything that we could do," said Cameron Hucker, a scruffy dude who worked in White's communications department. "I have no regrets," Hucker concluded with a triumphant frown.
Felix de la Riba, a White campaign volunteer who could very well pass as an Argentine polo player, was saddened for reasons reaching beyond White's loss.
"They told me it was going to be open bar," he said. "I'm disappointed."
The mood at the Hilton was not all death and gloom, however.
"I feel like we're representative of cool people being at the losers' party," said a perky Caroline Starry LeBlanc of her compadres, which included husband Jared LeBlanc, sister Sarah Starry and Victor Mendoza.
"It could have been way worse," Starry LeBlanc added with a sparkle in her eye.
"We're not the the losers' party," corrected her husband. "In fact, Bill White's not the loser — the loser is Texas."