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In the Trenches With Jake Tapper: Election Overload Edition

It’s Election Day 2014!  

Which means its like Chrismukkah for political reporters who’ve spent several weeks/months/years weathering the avalanche of numbing campaign emails, soldiering through awkward interviews with combative candidates and crisscrossed countless counties to pick potential voters’ brains about what they want from their elected leaders.  

Jake Tapper, a one-time Roll Call cartoonist turned host of CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” has been in the thick of things seemingly forever.  

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With the countdown on to another marathon session of gorging on real-time voting returns, HOH quizzed Tapper about the good, the bad and the ugly of midterm mania.  

HOH : Most compelling race(s) on your radar?  

JT : Too many to count, but if I had to pick three Senate races that I’m really watching intensely, they are Colorado, Iowa, Kansas and North Carolina . OK, that’s four. And Wisconsin and Florida for governor. But honestly, it’s not fair asking political junkies to pick faves with so many good ones to pick from!  

HOH : Satellite location you would have enjoyed covering?  

JT : Florida, because if the winner has a margin of victory of 0.5 percent or less — which looks to be entirely possible — it goes to an automatic recount. And last time that happened I ended up all but a resident of Tallahassee for more than a month. So in addition to covering an intense race and getting a jump on the recount story, I would have squatters’ rights on a hotel room. (Anyone who lived through that knows the importance — especially for the FSU-Florida game weekend.)  

HOH : Weirdest/most surreal moment (to date) of the current cycle?  

JT : #Fangate was odd because as the moderator of the next Florida gubernatorial debate, I had to deal with it directly. Charlie Crist did not bring a fan to our debate, where the studio was a brisk 61 degrees. The chill caused me to sneeze in the middle of the debate; Crist said “God bless you, Jake.”  

HOH : Wildest campaign experience of your career?  

JT : The 2000 Florida presidential recount, natch. I wrote a book about it (“Down & Dirty ”) and was a consultant to the HBO “Recount ” movie and yet no attempt to explain it truly quite captured the circus that was the Sunshine State for that month-plus.  

HOH : Follow any pre-election night rituals?  

JT : Nope. I’ll try to get a good night’s sleep, because we’ll be up well into Wednesday and then we have a post-election special Wednesday night.  

HOH : How do you plan to unwind after [so many] straight hours on the air tonight?  

JT : It depends upon what time I get an opportunity to unwind. Assuming it’s nighttime, some good bourbon and a hot shower.  

HOH :  Will chyrons, holograms and infographics haunt your dreams whenever you do get some shut-eye?  

JT : I’ll let you know Thursday.  

Related: In the Trenches With Mark Preston: Election Overload Edition Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

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