While voters were casting their ballots Tuesday at Centennial Mall, Terry Carwile, an incumbent city councilor, took to the open road.
Instead of trying to get some last minute campaigning done, Carwile decided it would be more productive to take his road bike out and pedal to Hamilton in the early afternoon.
"I just go about it like it's a normal day," he said early Tuesday. "I try to get all of my normal work done and get a ride in."
Sticking to a normal routine was important for Carwile. He said it helps keep his mind off the election.
"A watched pot never boils," he said. "If you think about it too much, it seems like time doesn't move at all.
"I did my taxes and all the other little day-off things we do. It's been a generic day, except for the election. I voted, and I don't think about it too much."
Carwile's hands-off approach worked in the election, as he placed third among the six candidates running for city council. The top four vote-getters earned a council seat.
But Carwile's experience with elections hasn't always been positive.
He ran unsuccessfully for the state Legislature in 2002, and county commissioner in 2004, and was finally elected to the City Council in 2005.
"Third time was the charm," he said.
Carwile said he has enjoyed his time on the council because of the opportunity to be directly involved with the people of the city.
"What we decide happens right away," he said. "And if someone agrees or disagrees with what we do on the council, they can come up to us on the street and say so."
His best campaigning tool was his council experience.
"I feel like I've sort of established myself as a representative of the community," he said. "I feel that I've accomplished some things, and as a council, we've done some pretty good things for the community."
Carwile's other campaigning tools have been around for a while.
"My signs are all recycled - I'll just use the same ones I've been using, but I might put tape over some of the lettering," he said. "I appreciate seeing the signs around town, but I try not to pepper the landscape with them."
As the afternoon wore on, and the clock inched closer to the poll's closing, Carwile's attention turned to the election. He said he was optimistic, but cautious.
"I'm hopeful I can continue, but there's always an unknown," he said. "And I don't want to jinx myself."
At 7 p.m. candidates began filing in to the Moffat County Courthouse to hear results.
"This is the fourth time I've come down to the courthouse," Carwile said. "And every time I'm this excited."
In a packed section of the courthouse, candidates and their friends and family members waited for city clerk Shirley Seely to emerge and read the results. When Seely read Carwile's name, with 484 votes, he smiled and began rocking on his heals.
For Carwile, the top vote-getter in 2005, just getting in is enough.
"I'm happy and relieved at the same time," he said. "Every time Shirley steps up here, it's always a little nerve-wracking."
Carwile said the quality of the candidates made him nervous while the results were being called out.
"This time around there were a bunch of new candidates, and I think any one of them would have served capably," he said.
And, although Carwile didn't plan to celebrate his Tuesday victory, he did earn his just reward. He said continuing to serve, continuing to do what he enjoys, is good enough.
"I've always enjoyed local government," Carwile said. "It's where the rubber meets the road."
Ben Bulkeley can be reached at 875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org