Primary Runoff Election before and after

by Daniel Schere

Elections can be an emotional roller coaster for those involved, including the candidates themselves, campaign volunteers, fundraisers and casual observers who care about politics. That could be seen Tuesday night at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Greensboro where Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr’s supporters gathered for what they thought would be a victory celebration. Yet in the course of a few hours, the mood turned from celebratory to somber as the heavily favored Berger Jr was defeated by Mark Walker. There was a noticeable change in tone as you talked to people throughout the night.

“There’s been a good turnout, a very strong turnout and I’m confident we’ll pull it together and we’ll take a win here,” campaign staffer Ryan Kane said at the beginning of the evening.

As the returns started to come in, responses to questions about turnout become somewhat more guarded and mellow.

“It’s nerve wracking. I don’t know what’s left to come in,” said financial consultant Mary Elizabeth Tillman Barwick.

She did however, say she was pleased with the day’s turnout.

“If you look at the numbers from the state board of elections, that was more than I thought would vote which is a good thing for six districts,” Tillman Barwick said.

And once the final tally was in, displays of emotion became apparent. Those in attendance hugged and congratulated each other on a hard fought campaign in a hotly contested runoff primary.

“Our team has been grinding for 18 months and to know that we did so much for our candidate who we know is the right choice, it’s just, deep down inside it’s a gut wrenching feeling,” campaign staffer Michael Martineau said as he composed himself.

“I’m going to wake up, I’m going to pray. I’m going to come tomorrow for a meeting, and say Phil thank you for hiring me for this position. I’ve learned so much in my short period of time in politics.”