How an election is won: Election Day is a long day for candidates
Story by Chris Graham
Election Day started early for Chuck Ricketts.
“I was out at five this morning putting up campaign signs,” the Waynesboro mayor said as the day wound down toward the 7 p.m. close of the polls at Westminster Presbyterian Church, the city’s Ward D voting precinct.
And then it was to the polls by 6 a.m. to get his own vote registered.
And then he made the rounds of the four voting wards in the River City.
It was a 13-hour day.
“It’s a long day … up and down … all these emotions … exciting … an element of the unknown … it’s all of that swirled into one,” said Waynesboro School Board at-large candidate Doris Hulvey as she campaigned at the Waynesboro Public Library in the city’s Ward B.
As of 12:15 p.m. on Election Day, Hulvey had already been to all four of the voting wards at least once – and the library and Westminster Pres twice.
Staunton City Council challenger Doug Manning knew the feeling.
“I put all my signs out last night, so I slept in a little bit,” said Manning as he worked the polls at the National Guard Armory.
Manning didn’t hit the campaign trail until 7 a.m. – among the later entries for the roster of 12 local candidates in contested races in Tuesday’s elections.
“It’s the big unknown,” Manning said of the experience of being a candidate on Election Day.
“People ask you all day how you think you’re doing. I really don’t know. And you’re not going to know until all the votes are counted. That’s tough,” Manning said.
“You can’t go sit at home and watch TV. You can’t do much of anything. All you’re doing is thinking about the election. So you might as well be out at the polls,” Manning said.
On the other side of the parking lot was incumbent council member Rita Wilson, who takes a different approach to managing her Election Day.
“It’s no big thing to me,” Wilson said. “Of course, everybody wants to win. But if I don’t, it won’t be the end of the world. I’ve got plenty on my plate. I’ve got 14 grandchildren. I’ve got plenty to keep me busy. So I guess I don’t feel threatened at all.”
Not feeling threatened was the order of the day for Waynesboro City Council Ward A candidate Tim Williams and Waynesboro School Board Ward A candidate Doug Norcross – both of whom were unopposed.
“As nice as it is to run unopposed, it’s healthier for the community if they have a choice to make on the ballot,” Williams said during a cameo appearance at the Westminster Presbyterian Church polling precinct.
“Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I haven’t had to campaign or raise a lot of money. I just think it would be better for the community to have an active campaign where the candidates have to discuss the issues in depth,” Williams said.
Moments later, Williams noted to Norcross the campaign sticker that Edwards was wearing on his suit jacket.
“We should’ve had some of those stickers with our names on them for today,” Williams said.
“I didn’t even think of it until today,” Norcross said, looking exasperated – for the moment.
“Running unopposed, you tend to get out of tune with these kinds of things,” Norcross said.