The campaigning is now all a blur of yard signs, door knocking, forums, meet and greets and dozens of other activities designed to attract voters.
The Municipal General Election took place on May 6, which was also Kentucky Derby Day. While 20 three year olds were racing in Kentucky, in Garland 3 candidates were racing for election to the city council’s District 3. When the Derby was over there was a ceremony in the Winner’s Circle at Churchill Downs and the presentation of a mantle of roses. When the Garland race was over, it really wasn’t over!
On the evening of May 6 I was with a group of folks who had been active in the campaign for jerry Nickerson. We all watched on TV and online as the precincts reported in and the votes were counted. There was a short period of celebration when we learned that Jerry had ended up with 47% of the votes, while Ed Moore had 29% and Patricia Anthony with less. Congratulatory messages began pouring in, and the mood was celebratory until Bryan Bradford, our City Manager, confirmed that a runoff election would have to determine the winner. Nickerson hadn’t gotten the more than 50% of the votes in order to be officially declared winner of the race.
While the winners in the Kentucky Derby could bask in their glory, Nickerson had to begin his race all over again! That evening it seemed that all resources had been expended to get that far, and now Nickerson had to begin all over again. We soon learned that the two man race between Jerry Nickerson and Ed Moore would take place on June 10th. On that date the Belmont Stakes would be taking place in New York and it would again be Election Day in Garland, Texas. Campaigning for the runoff election was a little less complicated than the first race, or at least it seemed so to this observer.
The horse race was over in the late afternoon, and again a winner was declared immediately afterward and the celebration ensued. Here in Garland the polls did not close until7 pm, after a hot, sunny day of poll greeting at Lyles Middle School, Toler Elementary School and South Garland High School. There had also been early voting at the Garland Richland College Campus from May 30 through June 6. Let’s not forget the mail-ins, there were also those to be counted. This time we gathered at the home of Jerry and Marlee Nickerson, as it was also jerry’s birthday, and we were going to celebrate, no matter the outcome of our Garland race. Neighbors, family and friends gathered to wish Jerry a happy birthday. Patricia Anthony arrived with her sister, Lisa, who sang her rendition of “Happy Birthday” that rocked the house; something we’ll all remember for many years to come.
Precincts started reporting results around 9 pm, and we held our collective breaths, as Jerry had been only 11 votes ahead after the early votes had been counted. Little by little the results were posted, and finally, at the end of the evening, we knew Jerry Nickerson would be our new City Councilman for District 3. After the victorious second race he had wound-up with 51% of the votes. That was all he needed to be declared winner, and a joyful cheer went up at the good news. Metaphorically speaking, Jerry’s mantle of roses was presented in the form of all the handshakes and hugs from all present. The winner’s circle, in this case, was the kitchen island, which held a delicious German chocolate birthday cake made by Marlee. The victorious group finally departed, leaving the exhausted but triumphant Nickersons to enjoy a peaceful night’s rest. The rest of us went our separate ways, trying to process all we had learned about political campaigning.