School counselor Amber Liermann was up before 4 a.m. Wednesday working out and then placing orders for supplies.
One would hardly know she had been in the middle of a late-night election drama – except that those supplies she was ordering were T-shirts and decals for her General Election campaign.
“Wow, I’m just sort of processing everything,” Liermann said.
In the six-person race for three seats on Maricopa City Council, Liermann was part of a trio vying for two spots in a runoff. With Nancy Smith and Bob Marsh taking the first two seats, the early returns had incumbent Julia Gusse with a lead for third place and Andre LaFond close behind.
As the vote count continued through the night, LaFond came up even stronger. But then late in the night, Liermann suddenly surged past LaFond and Gusse. If the percentages hold up, Liermann and Gusse advance to the General Election.
“I’ve had people reaching out to me this morning saying, ‘What can I do? How can I help?’” Liermann said.
People were messaging her all day Tuesday as she was out in the heat talking to voters coming to the polls. Liermann, spending the night and morning thanking supporters, said people felt connected to her campaign goals.
“People are excited for change in Maricopa. People have dreams and goals for why they live here,” she said. “That gave me a lot of motivation for what I’m doing.”
Her campaign has been “Strong Family. Strong Community.” She will get feedback on whether that evolves for the runoff campaign, which, as a one-on-one competition, becomes more direct and personal.
Gusse, too, is gearing up for the three-month General Election campaign as she hopes to hold onto her seat. Candidates in the runoff will continue to have the difficulty of reaching voters without having large gatherings.
Currently serving her second, non-consecutive term on council, she has campaigned around unifying on a common goal such as improving State Route 347 and smart economic development. Gusse knows a thing or two about close elections. When she was first elected, it was by just 30 votes.
Currently, in the race for third place, Liermann has 2,330 votes, Gusse has 2,317, and LaFond 2,295.