Veteran political consultant George Gorton, the subject of the fascinating and award-winning profile that my esteemed colleagues Andrew Donohue and Kelly Bennett wrote earlier this year, stopped into Election Central to watch the tallies and rub elbows.

He was following the race between City Council candidates Marti Emerald and April Boling (both friends of his) and Brian Bilbray’s battle for his congressional seat. Though Gorton has immersed himself in campaigns since the 1970s, he was stunned by the vast turnout and the enthusiasm he saw in Golden Hall and on the streets, where people were waving signs.

“In my lifetime, this is the most interest I’ve ever seen,” Gorton said, later adding, “My own son turned 18 and for years we’ve wanted to get young voters interested — now he’s really excited about voting.”

But it wasn’t all sunshine for the political legend: Gorton also lamented the “incompetence” of the California secretary of state as the election results slowly trickled in.

EMILY ALPERT

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