McBride: Just another day in life'
HELPER Bill McBride and his grandson, 4-year-old Kyle Wayne Boyken, tallied precinct results Tuesday night as they came in. McBride sat with a few family members and friends as he waited to hear the election results. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
June 6, 2001
Tuesday was a long day for Bill McBride, Independent candidate for mayor, but while facing defeat, he remained ever focused on the future.
McBride congratulated the mayor on his re-election and told him he would be supportive. "I hope you can be," Smith replied, and thanked him.
McBride received calls as early as 6:30 election day morning from people needing rides to the polls. He was out and about by 7 a.m., providing transportation and checking on the voter turnout precinct by precinct.
By 6 p.m. McBride had three polling places in Ward 5 left to check for the last time and bad weather was rolling in, which McBride said wasn't a good sign. The voter turnout was already less than he had expected.
He swung by City Hall, the Courthouse and Crestwood School to check the numbers before meeting up with family and supporters at the Comfort Inn about 7 p.m. He thanked everyone he saw leaving the polls, for voting.
In the hospitality room at the Comfort Inn McBride settled in with his wife, Vi, other family members and supporters. Pizza and soft drinks were abundant. Blue and yellow balloons were tied to chairs and a whiteboard listed the 15 voter precincts down the left side with the four mayoral candidates written across the top.
McBride noticed the candidates' names were in alphabetical order, which put his name in the third slot.
McBride's daughter, Dana Boyken, offered a prayer before everyone began eating. She asked that God's will be done with the election.
At one end of the little room a television was on but there was no sound.
The channel was changed. For the rest of the evening the crowd was tuned in to "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire." The volume was still turned all the way down, but people periodically called out answers to the questions posted on the screen.
After the first results of the election scrolled across Regis Philben's chest, there wasn't much sound in the room either. It was about 7:25 p.m. With six precincts reporting, Smith was listed with 62 percent, McBride a distant second with 20 percent.
By the second posting of results, about 10 minutes later, showing Smith with 62 percent and McBride with 16 percent, the room had grown loud again. The suspense was over. Friends were catching up with each other. People were enjoying each other's company.
By about 7:50 p.m. the results of all precincts showed Smith with 66 percent of the vote, independent challenger Charlie Haynes with 16 percent, McBride with 14 percent and Democratic candidate William Hugh Johnson with 4 percent.
The whiteboard was never used. Within an hour of the polls closing an unofficial total had been counted and broadcast.
The turnout was a sad statement to McBride, considering there are more than 17,000 voters registered in Meridian.
Steve Gillespie is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3233, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.