It truly has been a very long time since I have posted a blog entry, and I do apologize for that. And there has been so very much that I should have blogged about. But the truth is that a lot has happened in my life both personally and professionally since that last blog post and those changes have kind of deflated me a little bit where the desire to write has decreased a great deal, and the spare time available to me to write has also taken a hit.
However, the reason I am picking up the keyboard today is because I have been considering, very seriously considering, announcing my candidacy for the 85th Assembly district. And I had made a promise to myself that today, March 13th, would be the day of the announcement.
The reason why I feel now would be a good time to make a run at that seat (as an independent as I really don’t identify myself well with any particular party) is that I feel there is a very high likelihood that this will be an open seat, with no incumbent. My current representative in the Assembly, Donna Seidel (D-Wausau), has announced that she plans on going up against Senator Pam Galloway (R-Wausau) in the now-certain upcoming recall election. With Senator Galloway being a freshman with just over a year of service and there being a pretty strong anti-republican feel to things, I put Rep. Seidel’s chances of success in that Senate election pretty high. This would leave the 85th up for grabs.
So far, two people have declared their interest in running for this seat. And any hopes thatWausauarea moderates had for a candidate they can truly support are waning quickly. Although I am hopeful others will announce their candidacy, as it stands right now we have the chair (or former chair?) of the Marathon County Democratic Party going up against a right wing local Rush-wanna-be radio host.
And then there is me. I have been saying for a long time that I want to make a run for the Assembly, and I have been saying that I want to make that run as an independent. I truly believe that the more left the Democrats go and the more right that the Republicans go that there is a larger and larger base of people who are somewhere in the middle who are able to identify less and less with either party. To me, the timing could not be much better. A larger “middle” hoping to not go to the ballot box and figure out who is the least worst choice combined with a district with no incumbent. So for me, it is truly time to put up or shut up.
After long consideration and discussions with friends and family, possible political allies and potential political opponents… with people who strongly support my run and would help with the campaign and with people who think that my run would be a bad idea because that third party vote would hurt their chosen candidate… with Madison insiders whom I trust, and a few whom I often question the motives of… and most importantly, long discussions with Mrs. Rent who for over a year now has been in Oklahoma because she was not able to find a job in her field here… After all of this, I have decided that although it may not be time to truly shut up… it is not right for me to put up.
I am not going to run for Assembly, at least not this election cycle.
There are a great number of reasons why I was thinking that it would not be a good idea to run, but the more people I talked to whose opinion I value, they indicated that every reason I thought I would make a bad candidate is actually something that would help my case.
For example, one of the big changes in my life since my last blog entry is that I am no longer a small business owner. After trying to weather these hard economic times, I just couldn’t hold out much longer and I was able to negotiate turning my properties back over to where I purchased them. I thought that failing in my business venture would not help my case as a candidate. Also having a wife who lives inOklahomawouldn’t help me either. However, I am told those things might actually help. I know what it is like to be impacted by this economy… to have a business venture fail, for my wife to have to find a job a thousand miles away because there was no work for her here… these are things that families can relate with. People want someone they can identify with and I am going through things they can relate to.
However, the main reason that I have decided not to run is because it is pretty clear that I am going to be running against two very well-funded partisan candidates. I will not be able to compete against them in the money game. Therefore, I will need to compete by doing what I do best. By talking… by writing… by having the electorate get to know me and who I truly am. By getting my message out there about what I believe in and what I oppose… and on what things I think I need to do to represent them. The way to compete against money and ads and special interests is to get out and talk to people, one at a time and win each vote by asking people to vote for the person, and not the party.
I truly believe that I could actually win with this strategy. I don’t want to run and get 5% of the vote, I want to make a race of it.
The problem, what I would need to do to win, that one on one… that knocking on doors… that is just something I don’t know that I can do.
First of all… when would I do it? Because I no longer own my own business, I can no longer make my own hours. I am on someone else’s payroll now. I can’t afford to leave that job to take the time to campaign, and with that job taking anywhere from 60-70 hours per week, that doesn’t leave much time for me to get my message out there.
However, time is not the biggest obstacle… my own comfort level is. For those familiar with personality typing… I am an I-S-T-J using the Myers-Briggs typing… or an Introverted Sensing Thinking Judger. It is a personality that is actually well suited for public service and is often called the personality that “Does What Needs to be Done.”
The problem is that I am, by nature, a private person. I don’t think people realize how big of a deal it is that I write this blog and often share personal feelings and experiences. I am not on facebook or myspace or twitter, because those social media outlets are a voluntary invasion of privacy in my opinion. This style of campaign will require me to open myself up to my district, the state.. the world for that matter and I am not sure I am comfortable doing that.
Although I do really enjoy public speaking and I think I would do extremely well in debates and speeches and things like that, to win as an independent, I would need to go beyond the large group setting and knock on doors and talk to people one-on-one. I would need to shake hands and start “Hi, my name is John…” To be brutally honest with myself, and with you, I don’t know that I have that in me.
So, I will not be on the November ballot for Assembly, and I apologize to those who want so strongly for me to run that they were ready to help out on the campaign. But, I must be true to myself. I know what I must do to get elected, and I just don’t believe that I can do what needs to be done. I have always believed that if you are going to do something, do it right. Throw yourself into it 110%. If you are not going to give it your all and give it all that you have, you should probably not even do it.
Do it right or don’t do it at all. I am choosing to not do it at all and hereby declare my non-candidacy.