For Those Who Did Not Win

While many races remain too close to call this morning. Others are already aware they have come up short. This post is specifically for them, written and posted at my old website July 21st of 2010 – a decade ago, after another primary night.

10 years and 2 nights ago, I had to stand up in front of my friends and family and tell them that our campaign efforts fell short, and worse, I needed them to support someone who had been our opponent just hours ago. It wasn’t easy, but we started with a goal, and he was the guy they needed to support was the only one remaining who could achieve what we wanted.

Frankly, standing there and saying that sucked.

I knew when I decided to run in a race that attracted three experienced politicians that the odds were long. When others get on board and believe in you, it’s not easy to tell them that you let them down, that the road has ended, that the campaign has no tomorrow. But if your overall goal was truly bigger than yourself, it has to be done. Leaders get the job done, no matter who takes the credit.

There is no way a candidate who has lost will take consolation calls in an upbeat manner. I had many people talk to me like I had died. Or even worse, was going to kill myself. As hard as we worked for a few months, my life wasn’t over. I tried. It didn’t work. It was time to move one. The calls were well intentioned, but reeked of pity that I wasn’t prepared or willing to receive. Enduring those for days, then weeks, was about as bad as the original concession speech to supporters.

I say that to say this: I congratulate those who tried. Few will ever understand where it is you stand tonight. Do not hold your head low for trying, for most will forever just sit on the sidelines and complain.

Hopefully your efforts pulled you and others into a process that too many ignore these days. Perhaps you influenced your opponent in such a way that they will govern better. Perhaps, should you try again, you learned what will make you a better candidate next time.

And hopefully, as I did, you’ll meet new people and have a new appreciation for those who wish you well.

Tomorrow is another day, and there is a new challenge for you somewhere. Because this was not your time does not mean you cannot make your place for change either in this political system or in some other meaningful way.

Regardless, get some sleep. You’ve earned it. Then look forward and not back. Count your blessings and not your shortcomings, lest you be bitter.

Each of you, even those who have been on the receiving end of some prime Peach Pundit snark, have my sincere thanks for trying.

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