ST. THOMAS — At the end of a vigorous campaign, a former educator turned federal law enforcer won the Aug. 6 primary race for Senator-At-Large. Brian A. Smith, a resident of Estate Adrian, won over two rivals for the at-large seat on Saturday, August 6.
Barring anything unforeseen, Smith is expected to run unopposed in the November General Election and solidify his hold on a seat in the 32nd Legislature.
The day after his first political success Smith expressed satisfaction, relief and hope. He also congratulated his competitors. “I feel excited and exhilarated, and extremely tired,” Smith said.
Because the senator-at-large represents constituents on St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John, the campaign trail ran territory wide. Meeting the demands of the voters, he said, was something he could not have imagined before he began.
Opponent Stacie January, an administrator with the Housing Authority, spent the evening on Saturday watching the numbers come in by Election System headquarters in Sugar Estate. Once the poll judges from the five district voting centers arrived and loaded information into the computers, printouts appeared on screens and on paper.
Candidates and campaign workers scoured the numbers. At one point, the spread between Smith and January was 50 votes. It was a number observers told January put her within range of a win if absentee ballots, counted on Monday, turned up in her favor.
But twenty minutes later, when the final tally appeared, that prospect looked dim. Smith won 49.2 percent of the vote over January’s 34.30 percent.
Write in votes — believed to be largely for school safety officer Steven Payne — came in at 16.48 percent.
January expressed her disappointment. “Naturally you question what you could have done better. Could I have been more aggressive? What could I have done differently? For the most part, I did the best that I could,” she said.
But after Primary night was over, Smith said he wanted to include his competitors in what comes next. The duties of the senator-at-large cannot be met alone.
He said he realized that while speaking to voters. Those voters said others who won seats in the Legislature stopped working once they got into office, he said.
But Smith said for him, things would be different. “I want to show the people of the territory that I’m a hard worker,” he said.