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After the voting stops for tonight's national election, the return parties get started in the Bay Area, with revelers taking to bars, restaurants, campaign offices, even Franklin D. Roosevelt's yacht for a bay cruise hosted by an FDR impersonator.
Tired volunteers, expectant candidates and fervent backers of state and local ballot measures will leave the phone banks for banks of TVs to see how their efforts play out, and if the nation re-elects President Obama or instead chooses Mitt Romney.
About 100 people from all walks of political life are expected to view the balloting results from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on large flat screen TVs aboard the USS Potomac, President Roosevelt's 155-foot private boat, in a cruise from Oakland to San Francisco and back meant to raise money for the ship.
Partiers will be paying about $85 to $200 a ticket to experience campaign tallies with a man impersonating President Roosevelt, and life-sized wax figures of Obama and George H.W. Bush there for photos ops, said organizer David Perry, who ran the boat's last election night cruise in 2008.
The private, big-ticket event for San Francisco Democrats takes off at 8 p.m. at the Fairmont, featuring California U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who is running for re-election, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and former Mayor Willie Brown.
An Italian eatery in Walnut Creek, Massimo Ristorante, will host the main event in Northern California for the California Republican Party at 7 p.m., said Tom Del Beccaro, chairman of the state Republicans, based in Sacramento, who will be there.
"It's a viewing party and victory party for local and assembly candidates, and there will be a media center," Del Beccaro said.
"It's the largest Republican event in Northern California." One of the most-watched statewide ballot measures, Proposition 37, which would require labeling of genetically modified foods, starts its results fete at 8 p.m. at Cellspace, 2050 Bryant St., in San Francisco.
Supporters of Proposition 34, an effort to abolish the death penalty in California, will watch to find out how voters react at 8 p.m. at Jullian's at 175 Fourth St., also in San Francisco.
As the returns pour in, San Francisco's 1300 on Fillmore cocktail lounge, at 1300 Fillmore St., a pro-Obama establishment, plans to serve patrons blue-colored "Barackatini" and red-colored "Romnesia" drinks starting at 7 p.m., and give 15 percent discounts for those wearing an Obama T-shirt.
In the South Bay, the parties include one hosted at 7 p.m. by the NAACP of San Jose/Silicon Valley at the French Quarter Cabaret, in Sunnyvale.