Nearing 10 p.m., Jon Hulburd’s campaign manager Josh Abner had decided his candidate had talked enough about his likely 10 percentage point defeat at the hands of Republican Ben Quayle.
A quick glance around the swanky room at the Hotel Valley Ho didn’t immediately reveal Hulburd, so I convinced Abner to talk. He informed me he was breaking his “I don’t talk on record after having a drink rule.” I told him that I was breaking my “I don’t settle for spokespeople rule,” so we came to a truce and proceeded.
Abner ultimately chalked Hulburd’s defeat to the “Republican wave which crested in Arizona tonight.”
“We felt there were some issues related to this campaign we could control,” Abner said. “And there were some macro issues we couldn’t.”
Although the race for Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District featured negative campaigning from both sides, Abner said Hulburd wouldn’t have changed it. “His goal was to run a race with no regrets, and he accomplished that,” Abner said.
As Abner finished his answer, Hulburd, seeming to appear from thin air, patted my shoulder from behind and said “rough night, rough night.”
He posed for a photo with a man from the “Republicans for Hulburd” contingent. My reporter instincts made me follow him.
I found him out on the patio, enjoying a drink in a martini glass like anyone hanging out at the Valley Ho should.
I heard Hulburd say to a party-goer, “You should have heard my win speech. It was funny.”