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In Tied Race, Candidate's Wife Didn't Vote

Here's a lighter story to round-out this election week.

On Tuesday, 27-year-old Bobby McDonald ran for one of six city council seats in the town of Walton, Ky., population 3,724.

"The night of Election Day, I was watching the results come in," he told NPR's Guy Raz. "And I ended up in a tie with the other candidate."

McDonald was tied 669-669 with his opponent, Olivia Ballou.

"There're many ways you can tie," McDonald said. "But in my situation, I let my wife sleep in and not go vote that day. And she's mad at me cause I did not wake her up."

The McDonalds, like a lot of Americans on an average weekday, are busy. They have three kids. Bobby has a day job managing the family business, a campground. His wife is a nursing student and also works at a local hospital.

"She just worked her first-ever, four-day, 12-hour-plus shift. Plus, she's doing her last couple months of nursing school. So she pretty much counts the hours that she sleeps on one hand," he said.

"I thought I was being the nice guy letting her sleep in," he adds. "I thought I was well-known enough — campaigned enough, talked to enough people — that I didn't need to interrupt her sleep to get elected. But I did."

Now, if no candidate wants a recount, they'll decide the race with a coin flip. It looks like that's what will happen. In the meantime, a lot of people have been calling since McDonald's story appeared in a local paper.

"You know, a couple days ago you Googled my name and you came up with nothing. Today you Google my name and you've got stories from the Huff-Po and USA Today and Fox News. I got a call from Anderson Cooper Live saying that they want to talk to me."

McDonald thought that one was a joke, until he Googled the area code of the producer who contacted him: 212. But he's not sure if he'll make the trip to Manhattan.

"No, I think this is just my 15 minutes of fame, and it's going to run out eventually."

McDonald says he'll use that 15 minutes to lobby for early voting in Kentucky — currently not provided for under state law.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Brent Baughman
Brent Baughman is a senior producer in the Programming division at NPR, where he works on new and existing podcasts.