In a dark, loud pub on East Main Street cheers erupt as the polls close. The Bull City Alliance is victorious, with incumbent city council candidate Javiera Caballero appearing to beat challenger Joshua Gunn by less than 500 votes
After a close vote with precinct 3 and 31 casting the deciding votes, Caballero emerges from the corner of a booth she was sheltered in, and the crowd erupts.
“I feel good but we have a little work to do. One step forward in accomplishing the work we need to do,” Caballero says.
Amongst the cheers, Caballero stands up on the table, the Durham city flag centered behind her.
After being appointed to Steve Schewel’s vacant city council seat in 2017, Caballero explains that she chose to do something different with her city council appointment. She specifically chose to work with co-council members Charlie Reece and Jillian Johnson, also winners Tuesday.
The three of them even campaigned on a shared Bull City Together platform. Through their 98 proposed policies, Caballero tells the crowd that they are choosing to do something “different, harder, and more courageous.”
Caballero ends her victory speech with a deep breath and a long list of thank yous. Her family, her campaign manager, the Bull City Together team.
Despite a tumultuous campaign, including an accusation against her citizenship with no evidence offered, Caballero says she is particularly grateful for those who stood by her campaign. “It was bullshit but also emotionally tragic,” she says.
“Pick people who love you, respect you, and hold you in dignity,” she says.
A cheer of “te quiero” breaks through the crowd in response: “I love you.”
And as she steps off the table into the crowd of supporters, the rhythm of “si se puede,” chants and claps permeates the pub.
“Yes you can.”