Election night went off without a hitch for City Council incumbents.
Across the board, Twin City residents favored veterans over newcomers, reelecting every incumbent on the ballot for another term by a comfortable margin. Incumbent Molly Leight in the South Ward and Dan Besse in the Southwest Ward easily reclaimed their seats with more than 71 and 81 percent of the vote, respectively.
The only newcomer to the Council is Jeff MacIntosh, who overcame his Republican contender, Lida Hayes-Calvert in the race for the Northwest Ward with 58 percent of the vote. MacIntosh, a realtor for Leonard Ryden Burr said the good news was still sinking in as he took a much needed break from the campaign alongside family members and supporters at Bull’s Tavern Tuesday night. The father of two said he believes his decades of service to the community prior to the campaign were what tipped the scales in his favor in the end.
“I think it just speaks to how long I’ve worked. I’ve lived in the ward for 30 years and I’ve been engaged for 30 years,” said MacIntosh, who will succeed fellow Dem Wanda Merschel on the Council. “Lida is a strong candidate. She worked very hard, so that’s what I attribute it to.”
The Council remains heavily Democratic. Its only Republican member – West Ward representative Robert Clark – faced no opposition Tuesday. East Ward representative Derwin Montgomery also had no General Election challenger.
With decades of public service under her belt, Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian Burke is the most seasoned member of the Council, but longevity is common among the group; Mayor Allen Joines and Besse have both served for more than a decade. Burke was elected for her 10th consecutive term on Tuesday.
“When you talk about the years somebody served, if they are good years, they pass and they pass fast,” she told supporters at her celebratory gathering at the Ramada Inn (formerly Sundance Plaza) Tuesday night. “…I have reached across generations. There are some people I have stood with as children and I worked with their parents, and now they are the adults.”
Despite her storied career, Burke says she never takes an election for granted. She checked frequently with her smartphone-wielding supporters on Election Night to gauge turnout. In the end, she commanded a comfortable lead with more than 75 percent of the vote, despite being the only incumbent on the Council who faced opposition from both a Republican and an unaffiliated candidate (Keith King). Though she has been roundly criticized by some for not passing the torch to a younger candidate, “age is just a number,” Burke said. She thanked her supporters and constituents for giving her another term.
“I stand here because of you and most of all because God had this wonderful plan for me,” she declared. “I am so grateful to each one of you… You’re in my heart and I carry you in my heart all of the time. I love Winston-Salem, and that means that I love the people of Winston-Salem and I’m grateful to the people of the Northeast Ward for having confidence in me.”
Whoops of excitement and cheers of acclamation went up as the official results rolled in at the Election Watch Night Party at North Ward Council Member Denise “DD” Adams’ home on Marlowe Avenue. A visibly moved Adams made her way around the room, embracing family members and friends who came out to support her. Adams, who had to miss months of meetings earlier in the year because of health concerns, said the challenges she has faced made her success even sweeter.
“It humbles me,” she said of her first reelection victory. “It has been a very challenging year for me and a lot of people I saw today, they prayed for me and I thanked them for that as well as for their votes … If it had not been for my family and friends who came to my support, I could not have done it.”
The Southeast Ward’s James Taylor Jr. made several stops on Tuesday evening, taking time out to share the celebratory moment with colleagues from across the city.
“It feels good being approved by the people you’ve represented,” said Taylor, who has led the ward since 2009. “I’m happy to be reelected but there’s more work to be done … I’m excited to be back in, but the excitement will be short lived. Tomorrow, it’s time to get back to work.”
visit our Election Night Watch 2013 photo gallery here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.667537476611791.1073741854.355902327775309&type=1&l=4cb5c9a8c6