The West Wing Episode Guide -
Bookmark this Site

Election Night

Original Airdate 11-06-02 Rerun 07-30-03

Previous Episode  ||  Season 4 Episode Index  |  Main Index  |  Season 4 Information Index  ||  Next Episode
Descriptions  |  Credits  |  Information Links  |  Awards  |  Media Quotes


President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) faces the voters, but when he returns to his limousine in Manchester, N.H., after casting his own ballot, Charlie (Dulé Hill) notices things in the president's behavior that make him fear more for Bartlet's physical health than his political well-being. Meanwhile, in Orange County, Cal., the recently deceased Democratic congressional candidate might not be as politically dead as had been assumed. And in Washington, Debbie Fiderer (Lily Tomlin) is making rules that Josh, for one, doesn't like; and Andy (Kathleen York) is pregnant (with twins), but dad-to-be Toby (Richard Schiff) is worried mostly about how that will play professionally.
From NBC:
Election Day arrives as the President (Martin Sheen) and his staff begin counting exit poll votes across the country -- especially in a conservative California congressional district where the result has important implications for Sam (Rob Lowe) and its maverick campaign manager (Joshua Malina).
From Warner Bros.:
On Election Day, Bartlet and his staff begin counting exit poll votes across the country. In a conservative California congressional district, the results have important implications for Sam and a maverick Democratic campaign manager, Will Bailey (Joshua Malina). Meanwhile, Donna meets an intriguing Navy Lieutenant Commander, Jack Ross (Christian Slater), who has been transferred to the White House as Deputy Military Aide.


Rob Lowe as Sam (Samuel Norman) Seaborn Deputy Communications Director
Stockard Channing as Abbey (Abigail Ann) Bartlet M.D. First Lady
Dulé Hill as Charlie (Charles) Young Personal Aide to the President
Allison Janney as C.J. (Claudia Jean) Cregg Press Secretary
Janel Moloney as Donna (Donnatella) Moss Assistant to Deputy Chief of Staff
Richard Schiff as Toby (Tobias Zachary) Ziegler Communications Director
John Spencer as Leo Thomas McGarry Chief of Staff
Bradley Whitford as Josh (Joshua) Lyman Deputy Chief of Staff
Martin Sheen as
Jed (Josiah Edward) Bartlet President of the United States
Special Guest Stars    
Christian Slater as Lieutenant Commander Jack Reese  
Joshua Malina as Will (William) Bailey Orange County Campaign Manger
Lily Tomlin as
Debbie (Deborah) Fiderer President's Secretary
Guest Starring    
Kathleen York as Rep. Andy (Andrea) Wyatt Congresswoman
Omar Benson Miller as Orlando Kettles Anthony's Friend
Danica McKellar as Elsie Snuffin Orange County Campaign Staffer
Andrew McFarlane as Anthony Marcus Simon's Little Brother
Michael Mulheren (uncredited) as Statehood Supporter Member of Josh's troupe
Megan Cavanagh as Voting Shortcut Member of Josh's troupe
Kaarina Aufranc as Ten Dollars Member of Josh's troupe
Kris Iyer as Andy's Doctor  
Devika Parikh as Bonnie Communications' Aide
Kim Webster as Ginger Assistant to Communications' Director
William Duffy as Larry Congressional Liaison
Peter James Smith as Ed Congressional Liaison
Melissa Fitzgerald as Carol Fitzpatrick (last name)
Assistant to the Press Secretary
Richard Saxton as Anahiem Anchor Alan
Lynette Romero as Anahiem Anchor  
Ivan Allen as Anchor Roger Salier
Penny Griego as Anchor  
Christopher Schauble as Anchor  
Mindy Thomas as Anchor  
Howard Mann as Senior Citizen  
Don Dowe as Technician  
Ron Ostrow as John Reporter
Charles Noland as Steve Reporter
Timothy Davis-Reed as Mark O'Donnell (last name) / Reporter
Maria Lazam Hanson as Passerby Member of Josh's troupe
Derek Thompson as Man Member of Josh's troupe
Leesa Severyn as Michelle Security
Kris Murphy as Katie Witt (last name) / Reporter
Ron Morehouse as Bow Tie  
Ashleigh Olden as Aide Sharon (first name) /
Orange County Campaign Staffer

Information Links



Eddie Awards

Best Edited One-Hour Series for Television Nomination for
Janet Ashikaga A.C.E.

Media Quotes

"We want to stay on the other side of the street from the actual election," he [Aaron Sorkin] says, noting that the political calendar on the series is intentionally two years out of step with the real one.

"Undebatable: 'West Wing' In A World Of Its Own "
by James Endrst
October 4, 2000
Hartford Courant

He [Aaron Sorkin] also hopes to put Bartlet on a train for the first six episodes of that fourth season, taking the show on the road for a series of whistle-stops "all over the country."

"Sorkin's drug subplot ending"
by Ed Bark
July 22, 2001
Dallas Morning News

Regarding this year's season, Sorkin will only say that Bartlet faces re-election against James Brolin's Gov. Robert Ritchie in episode 6 (during November "sweeps" of course).

"Shaking the chill of the attacks"
by Eric Deggans
September 8, 2002
St. Petersburg Times

One assumes James Brolin's Republican presidential hopeful Robert Ritchie will also exit mid-season. "Unless he wins," jokes [Thomas] Schlamme.

"Fall Preview"
by Unknown
September 9, 2002
Entertainment Weekly

Bartlet's campaign will culminate in an election episode in early November, and though it's a safe bet he'll win, Schiff said, it won't be a cakewalk. "I've always said, the real brilliant way to go out would be to lose," Schiff said last month during filming on a Lawrence County farm. "We would go out on top of the ratings, we'd shock the TV world. Then they could pick up sequels. Josh and Donna could do a sitcom. Leo would be the next Lou Grant, and I'd go back to off-off-off-off-off-Broadway. Artistically, you've got to admit...." - Richard Schiff

"Aaron Sorkin wants to put fun back into 'West Wing' "
by Rob Owen
September 25, 2002
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

While he's in New York, the cast and crew are in California shooting Season 4's fifth episode. And they're waiting for Sorkin to finish the next installation.


His workload is evident on the hotel room's floor, where carefully-aligned pages are organized by scene, and each one is precisely marked with titles like "NH Polling Scene" and "Will/Sam."

"'West Wing' wizard"
by Heather Salerno
October 6, 2002
Journal News

Wondering what it would take for Christian Slater to accept a spot on series television? Two words: Aaron Sorkin. "Aaron called and offered me the role, and it was something I just could not say no to. I just love that show. Love it."

Slater's talking, of course, about The West Wing, in which he'll appear November 6 for the big election-day episode. When prodded about his character, Slater was a bit tight-lipped but did offer this: "I know Aaron said I'm a good guy, but the way he writes, you just never know. Still, he did allude to the fact that I was a good guy...and I think I'd prefer to be on the right side."

"Halloween Spoiler Surprises, a Firefly Plea--and a Quickie with Kiefer"
by Wanda
October 25, 2002
E! Online

"It was supposed to be a one-episode deal, but they said I'm coming back for several more," the actress [Danica McKellar] says by phone from Los Angeles.

"She's past 'Wonder Years'"
by John Kiesewetter
October 29, 2002
Cincinnati Enquirer

Next week, for instance, Christian Slater signs on for a guest stint as a love interest for Donna (Janel Moloney).

by Paul Droesch
October 30, 2002
TV Guide Online

Last week's episode, the one with the extremely unclimactic presidential election, included a bit of dialogue during which senior aide Josh Lyman fretted about the impact local weather events might have on voter turnout in regions friendly to President Bartlet.

"It's raining in Oregon," he mused, darkly.

Happily for him, and for those of us in our vote-by-mail state, U.S. letter carriers are sworn to perform their appointed rounds come rain, sleet, snow and even inaccurate scripts.

(Note to wiseguys: Yes, I know that you can't mail in a ballot on Election Day itself, but we're making a general point here.)

"'West Wing' stumbles, viewers grumble, KPAM fumbles"
by Peter Ames Carlin
November 11, 2002

"I think some of that was the election [story line], some of these were not our best episodes, some of it was that we got hit with 'The Bachelor' and people started to leave, given an excuse," [Thomas] Schlamme said.

"Shedding light on murky look of 'West Wing'"
by Phil Rosenthal
January 15, 2003
Chicago Sun-Times

"Some of the critics have said, justifiably, that the election really couldn't create drama. We knew he was going to win," - Thomas Schlamme

"Ironically, Bartlet's re-election did The West Wing's ratings no favours"
by Liane Faulder
January 26, 2003
Edmonton Journal

"I started out with a five episode contract," the 37-year-old [Joshua Malina] tells TV Guide Online. "It was 'five and we'll see' - and finally, we saw. ..."

"Sports Night Star Replaces Rob Lowe"
by Daniel R. Coleridge
February 5, 2003
TV Guide Online

The only time we've shot handheld was in an episode during the fourth season where we wanted to convey a sense of nervous energy. We shot every shot with long lenses and handheld. It was a show where the President was about to lose the election, and that's about as tense as things get. - Thomas Del Ruth

"A Conversation with Tom Del Ruth, ASC"
by Bob Fisher
Date Unknown

"There were some decisions made about the election that didn't have much dramatic punch," says [John] Wells. "You knew Bartlet was coming back. And that story line coincided with a wave of successful reality-TV programming."

"The West Wing"
by Allison Hope Weiner
September 12, 2003
Entertainment Weekly

Malina was initially signed for a half-dozen episodes. "The way Aaron put it originally, probably to spare my feelings, was, 'We'll see whether you're happy. Whether we're happy.' As if there was much chance that after six episodes I was going to go, 'You know it's not working out from my point of view. I don't want to continue!"'

"Josh Malina has been clever add to West Wing"
by Bridget Bynre
April 19, 2004
Canadian Press

During an autograph session that followed the speech, someone asked about how Will had gone from being such an optimistic "Mr. Smith" character to being the guy who defends a VP of dubious moral fiber. Malina sighed and said "I used to make it rain."

"Josh Malina Talks Post-Sorkin WEST WING!!"
by "Leo"
October 26, 2004
Ain't It Cool News

In 2002, the city [Manchester, NH] sent six voting machines for the "West Wing" to use in an election episode.

"'West Wing' gathers authentic NH items for episode"
by Michael Cousineau
November 27, 2004
Manchester Union Leader

At the end of series four, Schiff approached the show's creator Aaron Sorkin and recommended he end the show.

"But the economics of the business of TV over here is that TV shows don't go into profit until series five, so it's in the network's interest to maintain the show's life as long it can to squeeze every last nickel out of it.

"I recommended to Aaron that because President Bartlet was coming up for re-election in year four, he should lose and we'd finish before everyone started attacking us for not being great any more.

"But Warner Bros studio wouldn't go for it because they'd lose hundreds of millions of dollars.

"Artistically it would have been better to end the show."

"Schiff's back in control"
by Robert Fidgeon
August 23, 2006

For more information about this episode:
Continuity Guide to "The West Wing"
Previous Episode  |  U.S. Flag Main Index 4 Cast Season 4 Episode Index U.S. Flag Season 4 Information Index  |  Next Episode