9:00 p.m. from the House of Hastert.

SHARE 9:00 p.m. from the House of Hastert.
SHARE 9:00 p.m. from the House of Hastert.

This dispatch from Sun-Times feature writer Leslie Baldacci:

9:00 p.m. A growing crowd of about 200 supporters for House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert were milling about the Rainbow Room in St. Charles’ historic Hotel Baker, where Hastert was huddled upstairs with his advisers.

Many ate their chicken wings and potato skins in front of the TV, anxiously waiting for results to roll in. Even if Republicans manage to hang onto control of the House, Hastert’s ability to do the same in his longtime role as speaker is up in the air.

Fallout from the former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) page scandal has weakened Hastert’s support among the rank and file. But support for the former wrestling coach from Plano was stronger than ever in Hotel Baker’s ballroom, where people donned baseball caps that said, “Denny: Speaker of the House.”

=====================================

from Hastert speech

“We’ve watched some of the House races, especially in the East. It’s been kind of tough out there. But, you know, we’ve got some opportunities in the West and maybe some pickups out there, and we’re going to continue to watch that the rest of the night. I’ll have a statement for the press tomorrow as far as the House of Representatives.

But again, in this race, I just want to say to everybody, thank you. God bless you. God bless America. Thank you very much.”

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