November 8, 2006 - Posted at 4:18 a.m. CST
JONESBORO, AR - The race for the Circuit Judge's seat in the Second Judicial District was one of the most hotly contested local races in Region 8. Three candidates battled it out in the May primaries and that number was narrowed down to two.
But Tuesday, voters declared Barbara Halsey the winner over candidate Ray Spruell.
For friends, family and supporters of Barbara Halsey, Election Day evening was a long night of watching, waiting and hoping as election results came in.
"We have worked really hard. We came very close to this point in may and then just started all over again. Our volunteers grew and grew and those that we had seemed to be more committed to this and so this is a sweet victory," said Halsey in her first statement as the new Circuit Judge.
"It would be nice to say my support helped her, but I don't know that she really needed it. I think she would have won without it," said Alan Seagrave.
Former candidate Seagrave lost to Halsey in the May primaries, but he believes the best man, or woman in this case, was elected to the job.
"As an attorney practicing in this area, we want to have the best individuals on the bench that we can get and I felt like Barbara was a strong candidate and better experienced for the job and better qualified," said Seagrave, "For as long as I've known Barbara, she's been a very hard worker all her life and I know she will take that work ethic to the bench."
Halsey's political campaign for Circuit Judge has run the course over an entire year and spanned over six counties and as it boiled down to the last few minutes, it appeared as though all her hard work finally paid off.
"This is a large territory with six counties, we've tried to be out and see as many people as we could to make those personal contacts with people. And when we couldn't see them personally, I tried to get on the streets and see them all as they go to and from work. That seems to be what the people want, so we are really happy about the way the campaign has gone and we're really happy that it's over!" laughed Halsey.
While campaigning becomes celebrating...this candidate-turned-judge knows there is still plenty of hard work ahead.
"A special thanks doesn't do it, a heart-felt thanks doesn't do it," said Halsey, "It will be many, many days and perhaps months of saying thank you."
And as for the first thing Halsey plans on doing as Circuit Judge, "I'm going to get sworn in!"