As the first batch of ACT election results came through just after 6pm on Saturday night, a silence fell over the Liberal faithful gathered at Civic's QT Hotel.
The early results were headlined by big a swing away from the Liberals in their heartland southern suburbs electorate of Brindabella, placing Andrew Wall's seat in doubt.
The count was still young, but the signs weren't good.
The answer might be all three.
The odds are perennially stacked against Liberals in the ACT, due to the combined popularity of Labor and the ACT Greens.
But 12 months out from the 2020 election, Alistair Coe's Liberals were buoyant about their chances of ending Labor's stranglehold on power.
The shock retirement of popular Labor minister Meegan Fitzharris, and Caroline Le Couteur's decision not to run again for the Greens, had substantially boosted the Liberals' odds of picking up the two seats needed to from a majority in the next ACT Legislative Assembly.
Despite rumblings of discontent about Coe's electability, the opposition could see a path election victory in October 2020.
And through a persistent focus on skyrocketing rates, the ACT's mounting debt burden and bungles in transport and health, the Liberals believed they could generate the electoral momentum needed to carry them there.
But the election strategies crafted prior to 2020 would soon be thrown in the bin, as the year's rolling catastrophes upended the political narrative.
The summer fires, freak hailstorm and then, most significantly, the COVID-19 pandemic turned politics on its head by making it almost irrelevant. In the face of real and present threats to the lives and livelihoods of Canberrans, Labor and Liberals put down their political guns.
The all-consuming events of 2020 robbed the Liberals of a genuine opportunity to raise their leaders low public profile.
The start of the campaign proper triggered a release of pent up energy, a flurry of policy announcements and a mad scramble to sell their message.
Their $1.1 billion package of policies, which included a promise to freeze residential and commercial rates and slash car registration, were aimed at one key issue - cost of living.
Coe spoke of little else during the campaign, repeatedly refusing to answer questions on other topics.
In the final fortnight, the Liberals launched a political hail mary, re-modelling their typically stiff and serious leader as a stunt man.
He baked pies and smashed boxes in a desperate attempt to gain attention.
The contrast with sensible, boring Labor was no starker than on the final day of campaign. Andrew Barr fronted the media from inside Mitchell's light rail depot, next to the product of the largest infrastructure investment in ACT history, while Coe stood in a park and pulled a "frozen" rates bill from an esky.
The Liberals' hopes of ending their 19 years in political exile hung in the air until voting started on Saturday night.