The results are in
Published 1:42 am Wednesday, November 5, 2008
The halls of The First Lady were buzzing.
Seventy friends and family members were waiting for Mayor Linda Johnson to make an announcement, an announcement that was seemingly obvious to everyone in attendance.
Everyone except Johnson.
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With 20 precincts reporting, Johnson was winning the mayoral race handily – Dwight Nixon was Johnson’s closest competition, and was trailing by 3,000 votes.
But the mayor was still pacing through the rooms of the Victorian house on West Washington Street. She was waiting for the last two precincts to call in before she made any announcement, much to the chagrin of her supporters.
“Linda, if you were on Deal or No Deal, it would go on for a year,” Ron Williams joked as Johnson checked the votes online.
“I’m not calling anything,” she quietly replied.
While guests like Councilman Jeff Gardy and Councilman-elect Rob Barclay mingled with supporters, Johnson bounced between her cell phone and laptop checking the latest reporting data.
Finally, the reality hit.
Councilman Charles Parr charged through the front porch, talking on his phone as he got the numbers from the two remaining precincts.
Johnson could finally claim her win.
As Ernie “Elvis” Hefferon played “You’re Still the One” by Orleans, Johnson took the stage.
“Thank you all and thank you, Suffolk,” she proclaimed to thunderous applause.
Johnson went on to thank the 68 people who were out working the polls throughout the day, as well as the volunteers who had worked for 16 weeks prior to Election Day.
This will Johnson’s second term as mayor, and both terms have been historic. When she was appointed mayor in 2006, she became the first woman ever to hold the office in Suffolk. This time, she is the first mayor ever to be directly elected by the people of Suffolk.
It’s a point of pride for Johnson, who was a great supporter of giving Suffolk the right to vote in its own mayor.
“I did really believe Suffolk citizens had the right to vote their own mayor,” she said. “And, I said if I am elected, great, and if not, it’ll still be a great thing for the city,”
Johnson added that going through the campaign process, she has had the opportunity to meet more residents across the city and hear more of their concerns.
“It opened my eyes to issues that need attention and that can make a difference in people’s lives,” she said.
As Johnson met with more friends and family, her supporters relished in her victory.
“I wanted someone to lead this city that has a passion and love for the city, but also the knowledge to lead it” said Cindy Ferguson, board member for the Economic Development Authority. “Linda is well versed and the right person to take us in the next four years.”