Senator-re-elect John Boozman (above) thanks supporters at the Republican watch party at Embassy Suites. (AMP photo by Joe Kramer)
At the end of the day, at the end of his campaign, Jeff Yates wept.
And that was before he knew he had lost the race for Little Rock’s Ward 4 city director.
He was tucking into the pizza at Grady’s (he hadn’t eaten since 10 in the morning), which is where he held what he hoped would be a victory party. From noon to 7 p.m. on Election Day, he had stood on a curb and waved his campaign sign. At 7:15, he went home to see his 8-year-old daughter and to tell her he was sorry for the time his race had taken from their lives.
“If I wake up tomorrow, and I didn’t win, I’m still Evelyn’s dad, I’m still Dana’s husband, and I’m still a good guy,” he said as he recounted the final hours of his campaign, “I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing. That’s the way I was raised. I give back.”
Fifteen minutes away, at Cajun’s Wharf, Capi Peck, restaurant owner and the new Ward 4 director, said she had clung to the power of positive thinking during her campaign. “Honestly, I haven’t even entertained the idea that I wouldn’t win,” she said as stood in the midst of her supporters, which included former Little Rock Mayor Jim Dailey, one of her mentors.
Ms. Peck out-polled Mr. Yates by 49 percent to 43 percent.
Across town at the bigger parties, Republicans and Democrats gathered round the TV screens, the cash bar, the cake, and the finger food. At Embassy Suites, U.S. Senator John Boozman and U.S. Representative French Hill, both re-elected, thanked their supporters as they awaited the outcome of the presidential election.
“What a great turnout to see the red majority across the United States,” Mr. Hill said. “I want to thank God and my family for allowing me to continue as a representative.”
Mr. Boozman defeated Conner Eldridge 60 percent to 36 percent. Mr. Hill defeated Patrick Henry Hayes 50 percent to 46 percent.
In Union County, the aptly named Michael Makepeace, 69, was running to become justice of the peace in District 3. “My wife told me ‘I’m tired of you complaining about (politicians). If you’re not happy with what’s going on, run, do something about it,” he said in a speech to the El Dorado-Union County Chamber of Commerce in September, according to the El Dorado News-Times. The final tally hadn’t been posted by deadline.
Conner Eldridge campaigning. (From Conner Eldridge Facebook page)