After combining to raise more than $1 million in their bids to be the next president of Metro, Bob Stacey and Tom Hughes will learn tonight who’s the winner.

And what are Stacey (top photo) and Hughes (bottom photo) trying to win?

The chance to be president of the only elected regional government in the country—a government whose purview covers about 1.5 million people in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties.  The council president (elected regionwide) and six councilors (elected by district) run the Oregon Zoo and Convention Center, oversee the counties’ solid waste and recycling system, and manage transportation planning as well as the urban growth boundary.

Dry? Perhaps. But important? Yep.

So important that we’ll be at the election party tonight for each candidate.

Hughes, the former two-term mayor of Hillsboro, will be aboard the Portland Spirit, docked near the Salmon Street Springs Fountain in Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Stacey, former executive director of 1000 Friends of Oregon, will be at Rontoms on the inner Eastside.

Check back later tonight at to see which candidate is toasting to victory and which is drowning his sorrows.