At Barbara Hafer's Center City campaign headquarters last night, there were no whispered prayers for victory. No tears. No depressing speeches. In fact, there were no people. At 7:30 last night, the modern office from which Hafer's Philadelphia campaign was launched was silent. Cursors blinked endlessly on unwatched computer monitors. Party favors which might have heralded a new administration in Harrisburg lay unused in boxes underneath desks. An unattended radio blared pop music, not election results. It was clear that Hafer's $2 million war-chest and limited last-minute television advertisements could hardly match the well-oiled $7 million machine of her opponent. Two Republican pollsters who showed up at the 15th and Chestnut streets building to report election results from their local districts said they expected to be greeted by throngs of Hafer campaigners. Instead, they found only janitors cleaning the office after a typical business day. "I've never seen [an election eve] where everybody is absent and nobody is here to respond to anything but us," said Tommy Cunningham, a long-time Republican pollster. "I think that the people in her campaign have withdrawn their faith and hope in this candidate by leaving no one in sight, no one in charge," added Ronald Goldstein, another pollster. The two said they were told by officials at the Philadelphia Republican City Committee that victory celebrations would be held at Hafer's headquarters. Republican City officials could not be reached for comment last night. Hafer was considered the race's underdog even by her own supporters. She faced a strong Democratic incumbent in a state where Democratic voter registrations exceed Republicans' by approximately 500,000. But Goldstein held out hope for his candidate until the bitter end. "We worked very well for Hafer and we believe she achieved a lot in our division," he said.Comments powered by Disqus
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