BOSTON — It was 9:47 p.m. at Charlie Baker's campaign headquarters when a projector showing NBC's live election coverage flashed a graphic projecting that Gov. Deval Patrick had won re-election.
Within a span of five seconds, the packed crowd at the House of Blues in Boston gasped, fell silent and then started booing.
It was the first credible indication that the former Swampscott selectman's bid for governor — which he'd later call "the craziest job interview I've ever had" — would end in defeat.
About 45 minutes later, Baker conceded the hotly contested race, repeatedly thanking his wife, Lauren, and three children.
"They've been the rocks in all of this," he said.
Baker and his family walked out to one of his favorite songs, "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" by the Dropkick Murphys, as supporters waved signs and cheered.
"To use a much overused quote during the campaign, 'At the end of the day,' things didn't turn out quite the way we hoped they would," Baker said.
The Baker campaign had projected a tone of confidence and optimism throughout the day. As the polls closed, radio host Greg Hill, comedian Lenny Clarke and former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling tried to pump up the crowd on stage.
"It's a great night to be a Republican in Massachusetts, isn't it?" Hill said.
Soon, however, television screens at the headquarters would be switched from local election coverage to the national networks, where the news was much brighter for the GOP.
The prospect of celebrating a Baker win drew John Bakas, a contractor from Peabody who immigrated from Greece 47 years ago, to the Republican's campaign party.
He voted for Patrick four years ago but said he's now fed up with the governor's policies.