Election process was quite an experience!
November 9, 2012
I wrote the following editorial on election day. I decided to write about my experience as a candidate as voters were actually casting their ballots. If you don’t know already, you can find out if I won seat #3 of the South Bay Irrigation District at the bottom of this editorial. I didn’t know the result until the day after I wrote the following:
To say the least, as a candidate, I am anxious to see the results. I would like to win but I have been through enough of these elections to know that as a first time candidate, running against an incumbent, I am facing long odds at best. It wouldn’t surprise me if my campaign falls short.
I wanted to write this editorial today, instead of waiting for the final outcome. The result is not as important as the process.
When I first decided to run three months ago, I was apprehensive. Running for public office appears to be a daunting task. You need money, time, and a flexible work schedule. The normal routines of your life are altered, and more likely put on hold. Then there is always the awkward position of having to ask people for contributions, for many this is the hardest part.
I went into this campaign not knowing what to expect and had lots of questions – Will anybody contribute? Will I get help? Will anybody vote for me?
What I found was that folks do help if they believe in you or have a cause they want to fight for. Asking for contributions was not hard, but I wasn’t as tenacious as I should have been. Although I didn’t enjoy fundraising, one of the more enjoyable aspects of this whole process was meeting so many nice people.
They say the secret to winning a campaign in Chula Vista is to walk the precincts, meet the people and let them get to know you. So, three months ago I started walking, at first on the weekends and then after work. The only real downside was the weather. It was very hot during much of the three months and after ten minutes of walking I would be soaking wet with perspiration. I made a rookie mistake the first weekend and walked the neighborhood around my house during the mid-day, without water. After about an hour, and yes, it was a very hot day, I started to feel sick, feeling like I was suffering from heat stroke. That was the last time I went out on a hot afternoon without water.
The other thing I found out is that it takes a long time to walk a block. I thought I would just knock out the streets one right after another. No such luck, one block would take about 45 minutes or more, depending on how long you talked with the neighbors. That was the nice part, almost everyone was nice, only one person shut the door on me. Almost all were willing to chat for a minute or two. That part I enjoyed.
I also saw parts of Chula Vista that I rarely traveled through or knew little about. There are some really nice neighborhoods with some really nice yards with inviting homes. The people of Chula Vista should be proud of the work and care they put into their homes, which in turn makes Chula Vista wonderful place to live. I guess I should mention that the neighborhoods of the district I campaigned in are on the West side of Chula Vista.
With all of that said, the absolute best part of this whole campaign was that it turned into a family affair.
My wife, Veronika, helped by walking with me, plus she did her campaigning for Yes on 30 and No on 32. Both of my young daughters helped. My son Mathias helped out running errands and whatnot, and to top it off on one of his trips to the Register of Voters office he got a job as a poll supervisor at the church around the corner. And he got to hire three of his friends to work the poll location; so for first year college students the money was great. So it was a family affair which involved both teamwork and learning about the political process that makes our country great.
There is no way I can thank everyone enough for all that they did, for the contributions, and most importantly for the support. We all worked hard, we reached out, we mailed out, and there were phone calls. The interesting and good part was that while walking, folks were talking about my race and their vote, it surprised me a bit that they were that involved in a race that draws very little if any media attention.
I have to say that the whole process was interesting and enjoyable. Win or lose I want to thank the community for this opportunity.
Postscript: I lost the election by 817 votes.