MILWAUKEE -- It's primary night in Wisconsin, and the local politicos are all dressed up with nowhere to go.
None of the four candidates on the ballot in today's primary are in the state tonight. Hillary Clinton and John McCain will find out the Wisconsin results while in Ohio, and Barack Obama will do in Texas -- home to the next two major primaries in two weeks. Mike Huckabee is in his home state, Arkansas.
One entrepreneurial local candidate is using the opening to ride a potential winner's coattails. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who faces a general election in April, has invited fellow Obama supporters to watch the results at a party he is hosting at the local outpost of Bar Louie, a chain prominent in the Midwest.
So far this year, candidates have been picky about where they spend their election nights, moving on to save face over an expected loss (Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson both moved south the night of the New Hampshire primary) or to leverage a success in an upcoming state (Obama noted his wins in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia last week from the rostrum of a Wisconsin rally). But this maybe the first night of a major contest that all competing candidates decided to flee before they could mourn or celebrate the results.
"You're always looking ahead to get coverage in the next state that's up," said Charlie Black, a McCain strategist. "Once the polls close, it doesn't do you any good to be in that state."