AUSTIN, Texas -- After a crowd of thousands left the street in front of the Texas capitol Tuesday night, a smaller crowd was left behind.\nWhile those who came to hear Gov. George W. Bush speak Tuesday had the luxury of being able to return home, those who worked the event had to stick around until Wednesday, cleaning up trash, providing security and waiting for news of who would be the next president.\nWhen election mania overtook Austin this week, a gaggle of journalists loomed close behind. Among them was Dallas Morning News photographer Erich Schlegel, who had not showered since Tuesday morning. He'd been in Austin since early Monday, sleeping little. After falling asleep in the\nMorning News' Austin office at 4 a.m. Tuesday, he was soon awakened by his cell phones and pagers.\n"It's such a historical and weird election," Schlegel said. "It was changing by the minute. There were a lot of emotions going on. Right away we thought Bush lost because he lost Florida. Later, he was announced the winner. It was up and down, up and down. It's the most exciting and interesting political story I've ever covered."\nBefore the media and spectators began descending on the would-be victory celebration early Wednesday morning, thousands of police, security and Secret Service agents cordoned off the celebration area, manning barricades and setting up metal detectors. Among them was Austin police department detective Mark Breckinridge, who, by 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, had been working in 40 degree weather for 17 hours. He said he looked forward to getting back to his office and settling down with a cup of coffee Thursday.\n"I don't know what to think about what happened last night," Breckinridge said. "This is probably one of the strangest ones I've worked. I certainly didn't think I'd be here this long. Everybody's in a rush. They're all tired."\nBreckinridge managed to get in two hours of sleep the night before, which he said were tiding him over. He worked the long hours in the rain and 40 degree temperatures to come up with extra Christmas cash for his two sons, Justin, 13, and Christopher, 10, who wants to be president someday.\nBreckinridge's job wasn't made any tougher by the crowd, which he said was pretty easy to control.\n"The rain and the cold kept the turnout down," he said.\nLong before Breckinridge's son is old enough to run for president, the remnants of Bush's Wednesday morning bash will be swept away by the dozens of workers who spent Wednesday disassembling the stage, sweeping up trash and taking down electronics. One of them, machinery operator Todd Corbitt, was busy taking down the large amplifiers which would have broadcast Bush's acceptance speech to the world last night, save that it hadn't been made.\nHe was at the rally for six hours but was finally sent home when storms came into the area.\n"I thought (Bush) won six months ago," he said. "I didn't vote for him, but yeah."\nCorbitt's support for Green party candidate Ralph Nader was bolstered by Bush's failure to appear at the event.\n"I thought he should have at least showed up," Corbitt said. "A lot of people showed up. A lot of people did a lot of work"