When I awoke on the morning of May 16th, it was with mixed feelings. It was here - the goal we had been working toward for over a year. I had been thinking for months about what this day would be like and now it was here. I felt conflicting feelings of excitement and sadness.
Cutler poll workers had gathered the night before at Campaign Manager Ryan Aument's home where we received our final instructions and assignments. I was going to be a Poll Watcher. As a Poll Watcher you can actually enter the polling place. Poll workers have to stay 10-feet away from the polling place. Also as a Poll Watcher you can observe the voting machines being opened after the polls close and watch the votes being tallied. Although the totals you receive are not official until certified, this can be the first true sign of whether your candidate has won or lost.
I arrived at the Colerain Township Building just after 6 a.m., with the polls scheduled to open at 7 a.m. Like most of the people working on the Cutler Team, I had barely slept the previous two nights but sleep was the farthest thing from my mind. I was ready to go.
After everything that had occurred, I wondered how the people working for Gib Armstrong would act toward me. I needn't have worried. We were all in the same boat, hoping our chosen candidate would prevail. It turned out to be a great day with shared hopes and treats.
Going into the day I imagined I would have a good idea of how people were voting. That was not the case though. Overall people treated all of the workers, no matter who they represented the same. Those who knew us personally would stop and chat those who didn't were friendly but obviously focused on voting and leaving.
At 8 p.m. the poll doors were shut and I sat inside as the machines were opened. Forty-five minutes later, I was on my way to the Solanco Senior Center where the Cutler Campaign was gathering to tally the votes. I felt numb as I drove into the parking lot. Inside the mood was happy but subdued. It took me about two minutes to come out of my stupor and loudly announce that we had won Colerain a township we were expected to lose.
In the end we won the Primary by a stunning 17 percent. Few expected us to win and it was never more evident than when the Channel 8 news van arrived. The lone cameraman was apparently there to film Bryan's concession- instead it was a victory speech.
By 1 a.m. I was back on the road again, this time going home. On a last-minute whim, I took an out of the way detour and rode up Route 222. This road had been littered with campaign signs and I knew that by the next day they would be gone. I just wanted to see it all one more time. To my surprise all of the Gib Armstrong signs had already been removed and only Bryan Cutler signs were left for as far as the eye could see.
Our faith had not been misplaced, the voters had spoken.
Note: Republican Bryan Cutler is currently running unopposed for the 100th District State House of Representatives seat. Election Day is Nov. 7.
Shelley Castetter lives in Bart Township. Her email address is email@example.com.