More than a dozen television reporters and cameramen huddled in the Russell Senate Office Building’s Rotunda, awaiting their allotted time to shoot broadcasts on the night’s election results. But both the Senate and the House print press galleries were quiet, with only a handful of reporters focused on their computers as the cable news shows ran prediction segments on televisions overhead.
Even Capitol Hill bars were desolate Tuesday afternoon. The popular Monocle restaurant had garnered only a handful of patrons by 5 p.m. — one hour into their “special Election Day” coverage and an hour before the first polls closed. On the House side, the Pour House on Pennsylvania Avenue was the most populated, with about a dozen staffers watching one of their televisions, all tuned to a different news channel.
Meanwhile, staff with the Office of the Clerk in the House were stuck on the Hill, monitoring election results throughout the night and on into Wednesday, according to a House leadership aide.
Capitol Police perhaps saw the most activity on Tuesday as seven police cars responded to a fistfight between two men on Pennsylvania Avenue SE. One of the men “just started wailing” on the other and at one point had him on the ground continuing to hit him, according to a House staffer who witnessed the altercation but did not want to be identified. A police officer said he seriously doubted that the fight was over the evening’s election.