When the buzz of Election Day descended on the Capital District last week and swarms of politicos huddled around televisions and computer screens in bars, restaurants and meeting halls, one candidate decided that the best place for him to spend the evening was at home with his family.
Charlie Voelker, a Democrat running on the Conservative line in the 46th District Senate, lost to long-term incumbent Neil Breslin, D-Delmar.
Despite the outcome, he said running for office was a great experience.
Voelker, who lives in Delmar just across the road from Bethlehem High School, said his decision to watch the historic night unfold from the comfort of his own couch stemmed from a belief that elected office is not about fancy clothes and lavish parties.
I'm not dressed up for some acceptance speech, Voelker said as the votes started coming in.
While most politicians gather en masse with their campaign volunteers and other party affiliates, Voelker decided on a quiet gathering at home with family.
Voelker, dressed in University at Albany athletic garb, his alma mater, was checking the election results with his wife, whom he said shares his passion for politics. Voelker was using a variety of media to keep him in the loop, including the Albany County Board of Elections Web site and television and radio coverage of races from every level of politics.
"Tonight is about being able to enjoy the big night; the historic night," he said as electoral votes started rolling in for presidential candidate Barack Obama.
Voelker, an advocate of change, said he was excited to see history made as Obama became president-elect.
He said he ran for office to bring change to the Capital District, and to fulfill his civic duty.
"I did this for my family," he said. "I've had a good life, and many accomplishments. This was about giving back. I could care less about the titles."