Is there ever a lonely victor?

As the numbers came in, so did the people. They filled the air with whoops of delight and fell into each other's arms at Sharon Pratt Dixon's party last night, a crowd testifying to the joy of winning and the lure of success.

"A lot of new faces here," said an amused Greg Rhett, Dixon supporter, as he surveyed the ballroom at the Park Hyatt Hotel. "This bandwagon is getting real full now."

But there are a lot of ballrooms in Washington and not all of them had suddenly become the place to be. Consider the mayoral parties: At John Ray's the dance floor was empty and the massive buffet barely enjoyed. At David Clarke's there were the inevitable, weary thanks for jobs well done. At Charlene Drew Jarvis's party (optimistically booked into a room that can hold 2,000), reporters and bartenders seemed to outnumber supporters. And, at Walter Fauntroy's, there was faith.

Of course, there were other winners too, or at least other celebrants. There was Statehood candidate Alvin Frost and Republican candidate Maurice Turner, who had no one over whom they could declare victory. But at Turner headquarters, relatives by blood (assorted Turners) and relatives by party (assorted Republicans) showed up to celebrate and figure out what to do about the new-found competition (Dixon).

And so the next part of the story began, with parties over before they began and one party few expected.