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The McDonnell party: With candidate in suite, GOP festivities begin

Holed up in the presidential suite at the Richmond Marriott, Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell will be watching the election results come in with his family and a host of state and national GOP figures, including Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

Staffers say McDonnell is tentatively scheduled to head down to the hotel's Grand Ballroom for his election night speech at about 9 p.m., although that could change depending on how quickly the results come in.

A number of state delegate candidates, along with Virginia Republican party leaders, McDonnell campaign staffers and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) are slated to give 5-minute speeches before McDonnell goes on.

Supporters in attendance are already expecting a party. Music inside the ballroom has been set at "party level" and drinks were plentiful.

Media crews, staffers and hotel workers have crowded into the room but 900 or so supporters are expected later Tuesday evening. At least 200 people had filled the hotel's lobby as of 6:45 p.m., many drinking wine next to red, white and blue balloons and McDonnell banners.

No champagne is on the bar menu though. Waiters say they're unsure when, or if, the bubbly might arrive.

By Derek Kravitz  |  November 3, 2009; 6:40 PM ET
Categories:  Derek Kravitz , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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Next: Chesterbrook Precinct: An independent sides with McDonnell

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