Good morning Austin:
I am all about the all-nighter.
I thrive by night.
I dare say there are not that many people on the planet, aside from people who actually get paid to work the night-shift or chronic insomniacs, who have pulled more all-nighters.
And what do I have to show for it?
But I’ll answer it anyway:
- A college degree.
- Almost every longish story I’ve ever written not on a same-day deadline. So, with 40 years and counting as a reporter … lots.
- First Reading. Every time you read a First Reading you are reading the product of an all-nighter, or something perilously close to it.
Why the all-nighter?
Why not just do what I need to do within the conventional confines most people adapt to?
Here are a few answers:
- Daytime is cluttered with all those other things you could or should be doing.
- I am easily distracted and find it hard to get started. Once I get going, stopping is stupid and unproductive.
- Nighttime is the right time.
I have a complementary taste for marathons, telethons for almost any cause, but especially those with a single host, like Jerry Lewis, who strains and sweats and loosens his bow-tie and cries, legislative hearings that run till dawn and extra-inning games, the longer the better.
In other words, I don’t like things to end.
I tell you all this to explain why I reacted so positively when I heard that Beto O’Rourke was planning a 24-hour live-stream of a long day of campaigning, beginning at 5:15 Sunday morning in Houston, and culminating in a midnight Sunday rally at his Austin campaign headquarters on Airport Boulevard, and – this is it – a UT Austin All-Nighter with Beto at Kerbey Lane Cafe, the all-night restaurant right by the campus on Guadalupe, beginning at 1:30 a.m.
It’s a gimmick.
But everyone’s got a gimmick.
The purpose was two-fold: attention and momentum.
O’Rourke’s Senate campaign already live-streams much of what he does.
He’s a natural on camera and wears well.
Against Cruz, they think their ace in the hole is O’Rourke’s likability – his winning personality.
The live-stream is a way to make him totally accessible, answering any questions that come his way, but also to build a very loyal fan base that is sucked into his story.
But, Texas is big and, to succeed, they’ve got to scale up to a bigger and bigger audience, and, like a telethon, they need to give people periodic reasons to pay special attention.
This last live-stream also was a way to build momentum, by showing him gathering large and enthusiastic crowds all along the way.
They got a head start with a big crowd at their town hall in Garland on Friday night.
And then, they juiced Sunday’s unfolding events with the evening announcement – a few days before the report is due – that they had raised $2.4 million in the last three months of 2017. That’s a good number, and it was made better when the Cruz campaign issued its own numbers, in order to show that it still had a big fundraising advantage. But the numbers indicated that O’Rourke had raised more than Cruz had in the last quarter of 2017, and that they were gaining on them.
From my story:
Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke out-raised Sen. Ted Cruz in the last quarter of 2017, $2.4 million to $1.9 million. But the Republican incumbent maintained a $7.3 million to $4.6 million cash advantage heading into 2018, though the third term Democratic congressman from El Paso has narrowed that gap since the middle of 2017, from a 3.9 million to a $2.7 million deficit.
Here, then, are my tweets off of O’Rourke’s all-day-and-all-nighter.
I first checked in when he was returning to his hotel room after a morning run with supporters.
OK. This next one was by far my most popular tweet of the day.
Why was this so popular? Because it’s sweet and personal.
This led to a riff about how he didn’t used to like Matthew McConaughey, probably because of how much his wife, Amy, liked McConaughey, but he likes him a lot now.
Peterson is really good.
The Statesman has written about him before.
He’s worth another couple photos.
O’Rourke was given a really warm introduction at Kerbey Lane by its CEO, Mason Ayer.
Talking to young woman in charge at Kerbey Lane afterward, she estimated there were 500 to 600 people there. At that time on a Monday morning, they are usually maybe a dozen people there.
At this point, for heightened documentary effect, I switched to black and white photos, or what my iPhone calls silvertone.
O’Rourke spoke, answered questions and then had his photo taken with everyone who wanted one.
Finally, O’Rourke posed for photos with the people who work at Kerbey Lane, then took off to meet and thank some campaign workers, and then headed to the airport.
Throughout the live-stream, he would answer questions and engage the comments from viewers that would scroll across the Facebook page.
And that was it. Except for me, who had an all-nighter to finish.