Scene is set for Whitman victory party


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The stage is set for Meg Whitman.

On a night she is expected to capture the GOP gubernatorial nomination, Whitman will speak in front of a large drawing of a field of poppies that says, “Jobs are on the Way,” and will be flanked by large U.S. and California flags. Green ferns line the podium, and the sides of the ballroom feature signs that say, “Better Schools are on the Way” and “Fiscal Responsibility is on the Way.” Nets full of orange and green balloons are suspended from the ceiling, ready to drop if she is declared the winner.

Looks like a new campaign mantra is on the way.

Attendees needed a “golden ticket” to gain entry to the festivities at the Hilton in Universal City. Supporters are streaming in, partly filling the ballroom, which features buffet tables loaded with crudités, cheese, fruit, cookies and brownies. Cash bars dot the ballroom and large flat-screen televisions lining the walls play her positive television ads in a loop.


Whitman visited the ballroom to check out the stage setup around 4:30 p.m., but was not expected to make any remarks until the Lakers game is over, after 10 p.m. An announcer warmed up the crowd.

“We’ll be watching the latest poll results -- and the latest Lakers’ score, of course we’ll let you know about that,” said emcee Michael Hartson. “Let’s keep this party going and let’s rock!”

-- Seema Mehta in Universal City