Mark Leno's party packed

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Mark Leno's election night party has been a stark contrast to what we saw earlier tonight at Joe Nation's event, which was situated at the unfortunately named "Wipe Out" restaurant in Greenbrae. Leno's campaign office in San Rafael is packed wall-to-wall, the crowd noisy and erupting in frequent applause when new figures from the secretary of state show up on a projector putting Leno ahead.

He told a radio reporter earlier tonight that overall during the election, he's had to raise $1.2 million (we've seen it in the piles of slick, anti-Nation mailers that have mounted in our mailbox). But he says there's got to be a way to overcome the cost of operating a modern campaign election, most of which put people with big ideas but no connections out of the bidding. Leno just thanked a litany of campaign staffers and volunteers for backing him over the last 15 months before heading off to San Francisco where we've heard he also has an event planned for the Lime club in the Castro.

We were situated in a Leno war room with campaign staffers -- including Leno's manager, Tom, described by colleagues as "eternally pessimistic" -- who still seem wary of calling the election for Leno. The numbers, however, are looking more and more inevitable. If he wins, Leno's gonna have to work on the music he rock, representing a district like this and all, which includes San Francisco. Someone just put the Dirty Dancing theme on the sound system. Not good. As far as North Bay events went tonight, Leno's has been much more electric than what Nation had going on earlier.

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On the left, Leno field organizer Carole Mills, and on the right, volunteer coordinator Evelyn Woo.

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Marriage equality activists and Leno supporters Dolores Caruthers, on the left, and Laura Espinoza, on the right.

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Leno campaign manager, Tom, in the candidate's war room. Being a Dem campaign consultant, he'll probably love that we called it the war room, but he's still far too young to be James Carville, and he's got no Cajun accent.

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Melissa Mikesell, a Leno campaign staffer in the San Rafael war room.

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Mark Leno flashing what's probably the brightest mug in California politics.

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Leno talking to the radio folks.

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The war room.

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