I spent last evening at an election results watching party for a couple of candidates that ended up on the short side of the count in their respective races down here in Greene County. At the end of the evening, when it became apparent that the number of remaining ballots were fewer than the number of votes needed to take the lead, the closer of the candidates dismissed us with what sounded like a concession speech even though the race was close enough to go to a recount.
In the speech, he thanked everyone there for their support in his campaign, whether in financial donations or in knocking on doors when the temperature hovered in the middle 90s. He said he couldn’t do it without us.
Well, be that as it may, we could not have done it without him.
It takes a lot more to be a candidate than to support a candidate. He had to work his day job and then do the full time job of being a candidate at night and on the weekends. He forewent vacations, private time with his family, and frankly relaxation time that I take for granted and get cranky if I don’t get every night.
He didn’t have to travel far as his district was small, but some do. This year’s Senate primary had a baker’s half dozen candidates, some of whom bothered to travel throughout the state at their own expense sometimes to try to gather support and to get their messages out.
So candidates put their lives on hold for six months, or a year, or sometimes more, with the hopes of having to travel somewhere away from their families to serve in government. They’d trade their current full time job for a fuller time job as an elected official, and although I’m often cynical, I don’t really believe that these guys, on our team at least, go into it to make millions or to become famous. State legislative offices or county government only brings a wealth of headaches if you’re doing it right. Instead, they do it because they feel something akin to a calling, a desire to do it the right way, or at least to do better than the current crop running the country.
No, sir and ma’am, thank you. You took all the risk, all the burden, and sometimes awaken on the first Wednesday in office with nothing but some debt and another day at your regular job to show for it. Supporting a candidate is helpful, but running for office is the hard work.
(Cross-posted at 24thState.com.)