When the polls close at 7 p.m. — central time, that is — parties will already be underway for many of the candidates running for seats from the state House all the way up to the U.S. Senate.
For some, the festivities will ramp up and bottles will be popped in celebration of an electoral victory. For others, the evening will wilt from a tenor of confidence to a more funereal tone as they whip out those hastily written note cards to deliver the speech no candidate wants to give.
Whether you’re looking for a satisfying soirée or a serving of schadenfreude, here’s what’s on tap for Election Night in Central Florida.
Republican Ron DeSantis is holding his election night celebration beginning 6 p.m. at the Rosen Centre’s Executive Ballroom, 9840 International Dr, in Orlando. Though the former Congressman will be in the City Beautiful and Andrew Gillum will be celebrating in Tallahassee, Central Florida won’t be without a party for the Democratic nominee — his Orlando team will be alongside several Florida House candidates at the Orange County Democrats Victory Party at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Downtown Orlando, 191 East Pine Street, starting at 7 p.m.
Bill Nelson will also be at the Orange County Dems party watching to see if he can hang on to the U.S. Senate seat he’s held since 2000. His opponent, current Gov. Rick Scott, has put a substantial dent into his personal wealth in an effort to flip the seat, but recent poll results have been more encouraging for Nelson than they were in the early goings of nationally watched Senate race.
One of the groups backing Amendment 4, which would restore voting rights to most convicted felons who have completed their sentences. The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition party will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Orlando at SeaWorld, 10100 International Dr., and will get underway at 7 p.m.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy’s shindig will kick off at 7 p.m. at An Tobar Irish Pub, 600 North Lake Destiny Dr., in Maitland. Her Republican challenger, state Rep. Mike Miller, will be at the Embassy Suites Orlando North, 225 Shorecrest Dr., in Altamonte Springs.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto will be at the Ramada Gateway Hotel Ballroom, 192 in Kissimmee. Republican nominee Wayne Liebnitzky hasn’t announced an election night activity, possibly because Florida’s 9th is a Dem lock.
Orange County Republican Party
The Orange County Republican Executive Committee will be at the Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa, 9055 Turkey Lake Rd., in Orlando. Many of the Florida House candidates from Orange County will be there.
Republican David Smith will be watching the returns starting at 6:30 p.m. at Dominick’s Restaurant, 1301 Winter Springs Blvd, in Winter Springs. Democrat Lee Mangold will be at the SemDems Election Night Party being held at the Miller’s Ale House in Altamonte Springs, 477 East Altamonte Drive from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Incumbent Rep. Scott Plakon watch the results flow in alongside other Central Florida Republican candidates at the Embassy Suites in Altamonte Springs, 225 Shorecrest Drive. Festivities get underway at 7 p.m. Democratic challenger Tracey Kagan will be hoping to celebrate a flip at Hurricane Grill & Wings, 2401 W. SR 434, in Longwood. Her bash gets going at 7 p.m.
Republican Rep. Bob Cortes will join Plakon at the Embassy Suites in Altamonte Springs where he and supporters will be watching to see if he can hang onto the seat he flipped in 2014.
Republican Rep. Jennifer Sullivan hasn’t announced her own party, but her Democratic challenger, Debra Kaplan, will join other Lake County Democrats for a watch party at the Fish Camp Restaurant in Tavares, 901 Lake Shore Blvd.
Republican state Rep. Mike La Rosa will be at Gator’s Dockside in Saint Cloud. Democratic nominee Barbara Cady will be at Soto’s party at the Ramada Gateway in Kissimmee.
GOP Rep. Robert “Bobby O” Olszewski will be watching to see if he can defend his seat from former Sen. Geraldine Thompson and earn a full term at Winter Garden’s Carieras Fresh Italian, located at 1041 S Dillard St.
Anna Eskamani will be alongside other Dem candidates for the “Orange County Democrats for our 2018 Victory Party” slated for 7 p.m. at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Downtown Orlando, 191 East Pine Street. Republican nominee Stockton Reeves has not announced a watch party for his campaign.
Rep. Amy Mercado will also be at the 7 p.m. Orange County Democratic Party’s at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Downtown Orlando, 191 East Pine Street. GOP challenger George Chandler will be at the Westgate.
Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith is yet another of the Orlando-area Democrats heading to the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Downtown Orlando, 191 East Pine Street. Republican candidate Ben Griffin doesn’t have anything on his agenda.
Republican incumbent Rene “Coach P” Plasencia may not be partying down, but Democrat Pam Dirschka is. She’ll be among the candidates at the Orange County Democrat’s big bash at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Downtown Orlando.
In the contest to replace term-limited Rep. Tom Goodson, Republican nominee Tyler Sirois will be watching the results come in during a party at Kay’s BBQ on SR 520 in Cocoa.