We had our Lincoln Day Dinner a few days ago. All in all about what I expected. However some random thoughts, more indepth stuff to come.
Some Advice for candidates
A) If you are going to an event where most people are wearing suits, your 'guys' should be wearing suits, regardless if they are in their 20's and want to look 'cool'. If I have to dress up you have to dress up, it's petty and not fair, but that is the way it is.
B) If you are running for a state wide office, one of the things I am going to think about is how friendly you seem relative to others running for statewide office. If another statewide candidate takes the time to chat with me and make eye contact. I am expecting you to talk to me for at least 1 minute without you looking for someone you perceive as more important.
C) If there is a head table at the event, odds are there is some local folks who do good work locally and are liked locally, be they a committeeman, local political official or even local pastor are seated there. Go make an effort to go say hi to them and shake their hands. Every local is going to notice that. Heck even do the back of the room thing (work your way forward).
In response to the 'respect is earned' comment.
-- True, however at some level it is also given first, then earned or lost.