XRAY’s Election Night Takeover

Words by Keiren Bond, photos by Miguel Lopez

We’ve been excited and vomit-inducing-anxious about the 2018 Midterms since The Day We Do Not Speak Of two years ago today.  November 6th was upon us, and that meant Election Day chaos.

Our coverage rolled in with the polls at 5pm with Strange Babes’ KM Fizzy and Optic Echo’s DJ Mike Jedlicka played election day tunes while XRAY AM hosts Lillian Karabaic and Emily Gililand provided live updates. XRAY DJ curated sets to take listeners through the night. Listen to playlists by DJ Tita of Stereotypes, DJ Tex of Circa Rad, Shawn Swagerty of Big City Radio and Mo B of The Interlude.


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(From Left) XRAY AM Emily Gilliland and Lillian Karabaic in the XRAY Studios

At 6pm XRAY joined around a thousand hopefuls at The Democratic Party of Oregon’s Election Night Party as it returned to The Hilton in downtown Portland. We descended the escalator to the ballroom, memories of the loss two years ago painfully vivid.

The event was open to the general public, and as pundits started arriving so did an atmosphere charged with apprehension. Heads craned to survey the room, looking for a familiar face to engage with, incessantly checking for notifications. Most folks we spoke with were excited, positive – maybe that idealism is just part of being a democrat (democratic socialists I know were less optimistic).

Within a few minutes, CNN’s election night broadcast was projected onto two screens for up to date election results. The response was predictably democratic – the room erupted in cheers.



Chair of DPO Jean Atkins kicked the evening off honoring the late Meredith Smith Wood, former Chair of the DPO and wife of News With My Dad host Joe Smith.

“We celebrate a life of light, of passion and tireless effort on behalf of local, state and national democrats”, said Jean, “from grassroots leaders to the highest elected officers, Her inspiration remains behind and is part of all we do tonight and will do in 2020.”

Civil engineer and Democratic candidate for Oregon’s 2nd District Jamie McLeod-Skinner joined via video conference, stating “Decency, compassion and empathy are bipartisan, and that these uniting values make us human.” She was later defeated by long-time Republican incumbent Greg Walden.


In between speakers, pundits were bent over cell phones, catching up on results. “Jo Ann’s gonna win!” came from somewhere in the room, and murmurs turned into cheers as JoAnn Hardesty was announced as the first black woman elected to Portland City Council, defeating Loretta Smith.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer took the stage to announce Democrats had taken the House. The crowd erupted, a ‘can you believe it’ disbelief crossing their face as they embraced those close to them.


Blumenauer took the moment to assert his commitment to investigating claims of collusion, saying he would “resist this reckless administration and hold them accountable”, and that that the House “will schedule the hearings, the witnesses, and that we will have the subpoena power to force them to testify under oath.”

Mayor Ted Wheeler took the stage to a melancholy reception, using the chant “We Fight Back” to reinforce criticism on measures 103, 105 and 106, all of which failed to pass.

Senator Ron Wyden arrived and briefly celebrated Kate Brown’s reelection, echoing Blumenaur’s intention to increase efforts on the Russia investigation. He was joined by Senator Jeff Merkley who celebrated Governor Brown but expressed disappointment in Dems not taking the senate, rallying for a giant blue tsunami in 2020.


Senator Ron Wyden celebrates Kate Brown’s reelection, echoing Blumenaur’s intention to increase efforts on the Russia investigation. Photo by Miguel Lopez


Senator Ron Wyden celebrates Kate Brown’s reelection, echoing Blumenaur’s intention to increase efforts on the Russia investigation. Photo by Miguel Lopez

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Senator Jeff Merkley with XRAY AM host Jefferson Smith. Photo by Miguel Lopez


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Senator Jeff Merkley expressed disappointment in GOP retaining the senate, rallying for a giant blue tsunami in 2020. Photo by Miguel Lopez

Chants of “Kate, Kate, Kate” filled the room, as the reelected Governor came on stage beaming in return and flashing her signature heart hands in thanks. She thanked her predecessors Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts and Governor Ted Kulungowski, saying she was “standing on the shoulders of giants”. Brown celebrated the record number of women elected this cycle, saying “I think many of you know that I am literally one of two pro-choice governors serving across the country. But the good news is, this election cycle, we tripled the amount of democratic women governors serving in this country.” Dems picked up key gubernatorial seats in Ohio, in Illinois, in Kansas, Michigan, and New Mexico.

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As the Governor and her entourage left the stage, Dems started trickling out and the ardent ones stayed to celebrate on, throwing arms over friends’ shoulders, shouting encouragements across the room.

Hosts Jefferson Smith and Joe Smith talked with Senator Merkley’s very real definitely not made up presidential bid, caught Attorney Governor Ellen Rosenblum for a hot sec, interviewed a communist libertarian, and got a really cool pin from Stephanie Vardavas.

We rolled up our cables and packed away our mics post broadcast, surveying the room. The feeling of winning was new and uncomfortable. Uncomfortable in that it still felt like there was something that we lost. We won the house, but Beto, Abrams, and Gillum lost. We can be happy, but this morning’s dawn isn’t the one we hoped for. Still better than yesterday, though.

Stream XRAY AM’s Election Day Recap here.

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