Well, the results from yesterday’s election are in—and I won! At some point (soon, I hope) I’ll be sworn in as a member of Lamar Town Council.
I don’t have photographs of the final print-out, so I don’t the breakdown by precinct, but I hope to obtain that information soon. I got the results from the election workers as they pulled the receipt from the voting machine shortly after 7 PM EST last night: 121 for Cook, 69 write-in.
That’s a total of 190 votes. In a town of 1000 people, with maybe 750 of them old enough to vote, I’d consider that a solid turnout (I’m guesstimating around 25%), especially for a special election held on a soggy, rainy day the second Tuesday in January. Those conditions are ripe for low turnout, but thanks to a really dedicated—and highly motivated—group of volunteers and a lot of word-of-mouth, we pulled off the victory and put up some good numbers.
With 121 of 190 votes, I won with 63.68% of the votes. My opponent—a last-minute write-in candidate, a college student named Keion Mack—won 69 of 120 votes, or 36.32% of the votes. That’s a nearly 28-point margin of victory. There were apparently three invalid ballots, but I’m not sure if they come away from Mack or me, so I’m leaving those numbers alone, especially as they don’t affect the outcome of the election.
That’s almost the opposite of my first run for Lamar Town Council, which was back in July 2020. In that race the surprise last-minute candidate, now-Councilwoman Mary Ann Mack, won with 62.8% of the votes, defeating the two filed candidates—Buzz Segars and myself—86-28-23. Ms. Mack was recruited and ran literally at the last-minute—she claims she was approached the day before the election to run—and won. Her supporters were able to take advantage of the low-turnout from a rescheduled, mid-July election—the slowest point in the year for political activity—and mobilized seemingly along racial lines.
This time, however, the people of Lamar and my small campaign were ready. Everyone I talked to was anticipating another write-in candidate emerging at the last-minute; sure enough, Keion Mack stepped forward late Monday night. It’s impressive organizationally that he managed sixty-nine write-in votes (especially with a first name that is easy to misspell), but folks in town were not happy about the write-in last time, and were determined to make a repeat more difficult.
Fortunately, their determination worked! I was blessed to have a group of highly motivated individuals who campaigned very vigorously on my behalf: knocking on doors, calling up friends, texting neighbors, sharing Facebook posts, etc. It was the spirit of what a small-town election should be, and I am floored that so many people took part in the democratic process.
I’m also incredibly humbled. I could not have won—much less by such a landslide margin—without those folks pounding the pavement on behalf. They have put their trust in me to represent them, and I take that trust and the attendant responsibility very seriously.
I have a lot to learn before my first Council meeting in February, but I’m excited to tackle the job! Stay tuned for more updates.