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The Nose: Election night view from behind the men’s room door

Lesson No. 1 in the art of relationships: All you really need to know about a potential partner can be collected by snooping in his bathroom.

Does he leave the seat up instinctively? Does he keep any scary prescriptions or vanity products in the medicine cabinet? Does a peek behind his shower curtain reveal fungal undergrowth normally found in the Hoh Rain Forest?

Turns out the same lesson just might apply in politics.

In our pursuit of meaningful election night information Tuesday, we left no stone – or toilet lid – unturned.

The News Tribune put a team of eight student journalists from Pacific Lutheran University out on the streets for the delicious midterm ( midterm-licious!) 2014 elections. They dropped in on campaign parties around the Seattle-Tacoma area, armed and dangerous with cellphone cameras and Twitter accounts.

Among our junior correspondents’ destinations were the clambakes for the dueling Initiative 591 and 594 campaigns.

The former was held at the Bellevue offices of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, whose party invitation aimed a direct shot at the I-594 snobs:

“If you expect champagne and caviar, you should attend one of the ‘billionaires parties’ at the mansions of Mike Bloomberg (in New York City), Nick Hanauer, Bill Gates, Paul Allen or Steve Ballmer. We have to get by on a living wage.”

Blammo!

So, anyway, one of our PLU recruits, Matthew Salzano, showed up. He captured the I-591 crowd's energy, perhaps pent up since last summer's canceled Ted Nugent show at the Emerald Queen Casino.

The excitement melted into tension as the early vote count didn’t go their way and defeat became as obvious as a .50-caliber bullet hole.

At some point, our young gonzo journalist decided to snoop behind closed doors.

Into the restroom — er, reading room.

Nanny staters might scoff at the I-591’ers choice of literature. But at least they weren't distributing the other kind of gun magazines.

Warning, bathroom humor ahead: Some might call what he did yellow journalism. We think he was motivated by a call to duty.

Meanwhile, at another party in Seattle: Gun-control activists were basking in the easy passage of their universal background check measure. Which, of course, ensures a thorough criminal check of any gun bought anywhere in the universe.

And what did the I-594 bathroom look like? A fair question. Unfortunately, our correspondents at that soiree weren't driven by the same journalistic curiosity and/or need to relieve themselves.

We’re left to imagine copies of Vegetarian Times magazine, a countertop covered with origami paper doves and a wall rack for hanging holsters.

Cellphone holsters, that is.

Playing to the stereotypes: We sent our other PLU recruits to local political party bashes on Tuesday night.

The donkeys and pachyderms couldn't really be so clueless about the messages they were sending at those events, could they?

Pierce County Democrats strapped on the feedbags at Famous Dave's barbecue restaurant in Tacoma.

Message: “Win or lose, we still love pork!”

At the same time, South Sound Republicans gathered in Lakewood, where each of the election candidates was given celebratory cake.

Not one slice per candidate, mind you. An entire sheet.

Message: “The peasants have no bread? Let them eat cake!”

Our favorite election quote, No. 1: “It's like having a baby. Before we had ultrasounds we didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl, you just hoped you had a healthy baby. That's what we’re doing here – hoping we have a healthy baby.”

(Lakewood Republican Paul Wagemann, on his still-too-close-to-call bid for an open House seat against University Place Democrat Christine Kilduff.)

OK, fair enough, Paul. As long as it doesn’t take nine months to determine a winner.

Favorite election quote, No. 2: “I feel like a winner regardless.”

(Port Orchard Republican Michelle Caldier, on receiving an election-night marriage proposal from Kitsap County Republican Party Chairman Chris Tibbs. Caldier is locked in a close House contest with incumbent Gig Harbor Democrat Larry Seaquist.)

Congratulations, lovebirds. Hope your honeymoon lasts longer than what the 2015 Legislature will get.

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