Careering down a dark road in Manchester, New Hampshire, on primary night, Gina Glantz, Bill Bradley’s campaign manager, is on an adrenaline high as she talks nonstop into her cell phone. “The polls just closed, and we’re looking strong,” she crows. “Al Gore thought he’d come roaring into New Hampshire and put us away.”
With Bradley and his wife, Ernestine, in the van just ahead, Glantz, a 56-year-old Westfield, New Jersey, native, is already plotting the next move in her man’s insurgent campaign: the March 7 showdown with Gore in New York, a do-or-die date for Bradley, who considers the state virtually his home turf. “Get a good night’s sleep,” she admonishes a colleague, the kind of advice that’s earned her a reputation as the campaign’s den mother. “Tomorrow we’ll decide where to send you next.”
Stopping briefly at the restaurant C.J. Sparks for another reception, Bradley – who had been so lethargically downbeat the previous day that reporters joked he must be on Thorazine – lopes into a room filled with VIP supporters, shaking hands, smiling, and trading quips with actor Ron Silver and Chase Manhattan’s Tom Labrecque. Meanwhile, Glantz, a slender woman with a pixie haircut and dangling earrings (actually, she looks a lot like Ernestine Bradley), throws herself into the arms of Betty Sapoch, Bradley’s director of fund-raising, a hug of pure relief. “We all went to bed last night concerned,” Glantz keeps saying – but now they could allow themselves some hope.
Last year, Glantz took a leave from her consulting firm in Mill Valley, California, and rented an apartment near Bradley headquarters in West Orange, New Jersey. It was a homecoming of sorts. During the seventies and eighties, she ran state and local campaigns (including one for a Democratic opponent of Bradley himself), and she was the national field director for Walter Mondale’s presidential race. “Gina’s a workaholic,” says her husband Ron, a director at Tiger Management.
As the Bradley vans pull up to a back entrance at New Hampshire College, the candidate and his staff run a gauntlet of photographers and reporters. Standing in a back hallway, Glantz, campaign chairman Doug Berman, and press secretary Eric Hauser confer on the logistics of the evening and decide Bradley should go on the air right now. Suddenly Glantz, who is notoriously camera-shy, races into the gymnasium where Bradley will speak in a few minutes; a TV reporter grabs her, saying that campaign staffers had promised Glantz would talk to them. “Who offered me up?” she laughs, sounding outraged and amused. Moments later, she’s surrounded by reporters. “If you were writing tonight’s headline, what would it be?” Glantz hoots, “BILL BRADLEY SHOCKS AL GORE!”