Brown supporters revel in an exultant victory
Updated 11:40 p.m.
By Karl Vick
Until the news of Scott Brown's victory flashed Tuesday onto the massive video screens in the ballroom of the Park Plaza Hotel, it was hard to believe anything could be louder than the James Montgomery band, a blues ensemble that was making the most of the Senate campaign's concert-grade sound system.
Then came the roar.
Ayla Brown, the daughter of the senator-elect, thrust an arm into the air amid a thunderous, sustained cheer. Flags waved. Women wailed. The words "U.S. Senate" under "Scott Brown" suddenly looked like a title.
When the voice of the crowd ebbed, the band resumed with "Dancing In the Streets," and at the next break Ayla Brown -- who at the start of the campaign was by far the best-known member of her family, by dint of reaching the semifinals of "American Idol" -- directed the attention of the crowd to the table behind the press risers.
"I'm going to stay until every single one of those CDs is gone," Ayla Brown said.
Word of Martha Coakley's concession call to Brown had whipped around the campaign staff minutes earlier, through the earpieces that had the lowliest volunteer looking like Secret Service.
But it was just information until the eruption on the floor.
"Yes we can!" the crowd chanted a few minutes later. And it was impossible to say how much the slogan was intented to taunt Obama, or how much it was appropriation, by supporters who saw the Brown campaign as a revival of certain appetites that drove the Obama presidential movement.
"I would think it's more of a taunt, to be honest with you," said a man watching from the balcony, who would give only his first name, Paul, saying he was a police officer.
Still, both candidates called for a return to comity in Washington, earnestly calling for an end to partisan extremism that was aimed squarely at the middle. Brown downplayed his Republican affiliation to "address every independent-thinking voter," as he put it in the most-played of his television spots, the one where he's standing in a kitchen. .
"In every corner of our state, I met with people, looked them in the eye, shook their hand, and asked them for their vote," Brown said in his victory speech. "I didn't worry about their party affiliation, and they didn't worry about mine. It was simply shared conviction that brought us all together."
Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele chatted in the hotel kitchen behind the stage, by far the fastest way to get from one end of the ballroom to the other, the fire marshal having ordered the doors shut on the jammed ballroom.
At 10:11 p.m., a new roar went up as the freshly minted front page of the Boston Herald went up on the screen. "He Did It!" ran the headline, over a photo of Brown giving a thumb's up.
About 20 minutes later, the candidate came out to address the crowd, and he quickly saluted his exuberant supporters: "I bet they can hear this cheering all the way in Washington, D.C."
At the final line of Brown's remarks -- "I am nobody's senator, I am nobody's senator except yours" -- the balloon nettings overhead rustled and the confetti guns kicked in. The senator-elect waded into the crowd, the recorded music ("Tonight's gonna be a good good night") went into continuous loop, and the people left onstage chatted among themselves, looking like they didn't know what to do with their hands.
January 19, 2010; 10:34 PM ET
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