Judy Barker wins race after night of ups, downs
Posted: Wednesday, November 5, 2008 9:33 pm
By JOHN BRANNON
and GLENDA CAUDLE
After an evening of ups and downs in the numbers, Democrat Judy Barker of Union City ultimately won her race for state representative, House District 77, defeating Republican businessman Bill Sanderson of Kenton.
The unofficial count as of 10 p.m. Tuesday was Barker 11,389, Sanderson 10,862.
Mrs. Barker, a Union City attorney and newcomer to the political campaign wars, will represent Obion, a portion of Dyer and Lake counties in the Tennessee House of Representatives. She succeeds incumbent Democrat Phillip Pinion, who withdrew early in the primary race.
She gathered with local party faithful at the Democratic headquarters on Second Street in Union City to watch election returns Tuesday evening.
Congressman John Tanner described the mood of the evening. “Talk about an emotional roller coaster,” he said. “First she won, then they told her she’d lost by 130 votes, then she found she’d won by about 500.”
Tanner said he’s very proud of Mrs. Barker and confident she will be a great representative for the 77th District. “During the campaign she talked about economic development — the river port, I-69 — all the things we need for economic development for this area to provide jobs. I wish her the best.”
Other reaction includes:
• Paige Carlton, chairman, Obion Democratic Party.
“What an emotional night! I feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster ride and it all happened on Second Street in Union City,” she said. “We went from feeling like we hadn’t done enough to now feeling we did just enough. We’re happy the people of the 77th District saw what we saw all along: a wonderful candidate, a respectable lady with great moral values who can represent us all in Nashville. We are so proud to call Judy Barker one of our own.”
• Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire.
“My congratulations to Judy. There was a lot of slander on both sides in this campaign that I’m not proud of, but that’s all behind us now,” he said. “She will represent us well.”
• Wayne Barker, Judy’s husband.
“It’s been a lot of hard work and it’s been a challenge,” he said. “But we’ve made so many friends in the 77th District the last nine months. I’ve enjoyed working in the campaign. I think we ran a solid campaign. We didn’t waste any time. We worked every weekend, every afternoon. Every opportunity we had to meet people, we were there.”
• Glenn Tittle of Union City.
“It’s been a long, tiring campaign,” Tittle said. “I’m glad to see it’s over. It was a dirty campaign. I believe in winning a campaign, not destroying somebody.”
Late Tuesday, after it was all over but the shouting, so to speak, Judy Barker reminisced about the campaign.
“You learn as you go,” she said. “It would be really hard for someone to tell you the challenges on the front end because it could possibly overwhelm someone entering politics the first time.
“But once you get in there, you take the ups and downs and stay focused and deal with them every day. Stay flexible.
“I want to thank my husband, Wayne, and our sons Tyler and Parks. I especially thank the volunteers who worked so hard for us. This was their campaign.”
A word from Sanderson
“Though the election did not fall in my favor, I am not disappointed in the effort I’ve put forth, along with my family and campaign team. I would like to sincerely thank all of the people who voted for me, my dedicated team of volunteers and, most of all, my wife and family for standing by me during this campaign process,” Sanderson said as Tuesday’s night’s totals told a story different than the one he had hoped for.
Sanderson’s effort to claim the Tennessee 77th Congressional District seat won the attention of the state Republican party, who hoped he could move the district into the GOP column in Nashville.
Sanderson came very close, losing only 527 votes of the 22,251 cast in Obion and Lake counties and part of Dyer County.
“It has been a rough night for all Republicans,” Sanderson told a crowd of supporters who had met at GOP headquarters in downtown Union City to add — and re-add — totals.
“It’s been a fascinating journey. I’ve made friends I wouldn’t have made otherwise and I’ve learned a lot. Judy (Barker) did a good job and was a worthy opponent. I want to commend her on a job well done.
“I got votes from people I don’t even know — people whose hands I never got to shake. I have no regrets. I think this campaign made us closer and I will never forget you,” Sanderson said to his election team and those who have stood with him through the seven-month campaign.
“We can catch this seat. We can build and strengthen the foundation of the Republican party in the 77th District. We came so close to victory. We’re on the brink of reaching across county lines and building a great party here,” said Sanderson, sounding very much like a man who may be ready to campaign again soon.
Published in The Messenger 11.05.08
Bill Sanderson, Judy Barker, Obion County