WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY'S 'THE RANT' BY NEWS DIRECTOR SCOTT PICKEY) -- I learned something interesting last night about former congressional candidate Ilario Pantano. Even though he's a war veteran, an author, a former Wall Street executive, a father, a husband, etc., etc., he doesn't deal well with losing.
First there was the Ilario Pantano of 11:02 p.m. That's when our Asha Dave interviewed him live at his party at Mayfaire. Even though he was down by a point or two to State Senator David Rouzer, he was upbeat, excited, ready to wait it out for the long haul.
Then there was the Ilario Pantano of 11:17 p.m. That's about when the Associated Press called the race for Rouzer. We called Asha from the station and let her know we wanted her to interview him again based on the update.
She called back a few minutes later and told me, "Ilario's not talking to the media now." What??? I asked her to repeat herself just in case I had misunderstood her over the roar of his supporters in the background. "He says he's not going to talk to the media now and that he's going home."
That's when I saw him in the live feed in the control room while we were in an interview segment. He was making his way across the room hugging supporters. Asha was still on the phone with me. "Tell him I'd like to talk to him," I told her. I saw her walk across to him and let him know I was on the phone. "He doesn't want to talk with you," I heard back on the phone.
Wow, I said to myself, this guy is actually taking his ball, going home, and leaving his supporters behind after learning that he lost. I thought, you know, all he has to say is that it's still too close to call, let's sleep on it, see what the final numbers say in the morning, and we'll take it from there. The AP's been wrong before. Let's never forget Truman and Dewey.
But instead, he pouted, refused to talk to the media, and left his supporters behind while he went home to sulk.
If that's how Mr. Pantano handles defeat, maybe it's a good thing he's not going to Washington.