By Taylor S. Rousseau
Surrounded by volunteers and campaign supporters after the polls closed Tuesday, November 5, Democrat Jeff MacIntosh awaited the final precinct results at Bulls Tavern downtown on 4th Street. The unofficial results for the seat of the Northwest Ward of the Winston-Salem City Council reported MacIntosh defeated Republican candidate Lida Hayes Calvert with a total of 2,172 votes, or 58.31 percent of the total.
“Having the victory party downtown, in the ward, was symbolic of the success the downtown district has had with the revitalization,” said MacIntosh who attributes much of the success of his campaign to his wide accessibility to the downtown residents.
Hayes-Calvert could not be reached for comment.
MacIntosh, after running his first race for City Council, took the open seat of the Northwest Ward left by former council member, Wanda Merschel, who endorsed MacIntosh when she chose not to seek re-election. As neither Hayes-Calvert nor MacIntosh held the power of incumbency in a ward which the Forsyth County Board of Elections reports a population of 28% of unaffiliated voters, the race between the two candidates had potential to be “one of the more interesting general contest for a city council seat,” suggested a Winston-Salem Journal run article in September of 2013.
“By no means was the race a breeze, we knocked on thousands of doors, met thousands of people,” said MacIntosh. “We faced quality components from the primary’s on through the general election, but I think the Northwest Ward really liked my platform to continue the successful trajectory downtown has been on.”
John Horsman a resident of Shady Boulevard supported MacIntosh at the polls this past Tuesday.
“Jeff is very accessible. He’s very busy because he is involved with a little bit of everything, but the few times I’ve meet him he’s been very approachable,” said Horsman who was confident in MacIntosh’s victory. “ Still, I didn’t want to take any chances, so I had to come out to vote.”
Horsman, a director of the youth orchestra for the Winston-Salem Symphony, backed MacIntosh for his promise to continue the revitalization of the downtown district, with particular focus in supporting the Arts Council of Winston-Salem.
“MacIntosh helped rebuild my neighborhood. He took a chance on the area when no one else would, I want to see him do the same with the performing arts spaces downtown. I would really like to see him turn the Steven’s Center renovation into a reality.”
Entering into the last leg of the election, MacIntosh’s finance reports filed at the Forsyth County Board of Elections showed an available $11,597.60 from his year long fundraising total of $28,388.81. Reports filed by Hayes-Calvert showed $9,688.49 available from her total fundraising of $29,486.81 – which included a large personal loan of $25,000. Both candidates spent their funds towards advertisements, although the two approached campaigning in entirely different manners. MacIntosh’s Disclosure Report documents smaller receipts of advertising materials whereas Hayes-Calvert’s Disclosure report records large sums spent on consulting firms and promotional agencies.
MacIntosh’s opponent, Republican Hayes-Calvert, is the owner of S&L Painting and Decorating Inc., a local small business she and a friend started in 1986. In her first attempt running for office in the Northwest Ward, Hayes-Calvert ran unopposed in the primary elections. Her platform focus was set on the economic development through the support of small, local businesses and creating and sustaining job growth in the area. Although the candidate supports downtown restoration and growth, she believed also in branching out from the area to ensure businesses outside of downtown district are receiving the same opportunities.
MacIntosh’s campaign platform to continue placing a strong emphasis on the downtown development gained a significant amount of support from the 902- Brunson precinct, made up of mostly central downtown residents. 182 of the total 220 votes from this precinct went MacIntosh’s favor.
“The trajectory of the downtown district has been really good. From the time I moved here in 1983 to where it is now it has been successful; I want to continue that by encouraging more development and growth,” said MacIntosh.