Since I was 7, many of my friends and family have told me it was only a matter of time until I ran for office. I never really anticipated it. That said, when I decided to run for County Treasurer in January, I went at this at the only speed I know: 100% full throttle. From the first time I crafted this very website with my brother, sitting by the fireplace until it turned cold embers – to the last doors I knocked in Shiremanstown on Monday, falling over in exhaustion and pain, I ran this race with no regrets. I left nothing on the table.
Since this was a treasurer’s race, let’s run some stats: I met my personal canvassing goal of knocking on 5,000 doors, the same amount of people I helped register to vote as an undergrad at Bloomsburg University. I stepped foot in every one of the 33 municipalities throughout the campaign. I put myself out there and fundraised donations from $1 to $1,000. I ran out of my 10,000 palm cards because my team pounded pavement. I reached the low end of my supposed win number of 22,000 votes.
The problem is we were met by a well-oiled Republican machine. They were motivated to vote (I met my win total and still got wallopped 59% to 41%). Whether it was supporting Judge Peck (a County Court of Common Pleas Judge) running for statewide office, the Common Pleas race for 2 seats, any of the county or municipal races, or to thwart our advancements, they orchestrated quite an increase in turnout.
Most of all, I was impressed with Kelly Neiderer, my opponent and our Cumberland County Treasurer-Elect. There was some nastiness in other 2019 campaigns, but we were dedicated to running good, positive races. We’ve crossed paths a few times throughout the campaign, and each time it’s been very cordial. One of the most profound memories I’ll have of this race is when she asked to talk a bit after our only debate. It was a good 15-minute discussion, and we shared stories of both policy and family. She’s a great candidate and even more so a person, and she’ll serve the county well in her new position.
To Devin, my supportive wife and campaign guru, thank you. I love you and I can’t wait to do more things with you and the boys.
To my supporters – friends, family, and volunteers – I am so very humbled by your support. I can’t even begin to list you all. Honestly. Truly. Thank you.
To the voters – I hope you saw I gave it my all and worked to earn every one of your votes.
To my fellow Democratic candidates Michael Fedor and Sean Quinlan, you both ran good, races that resounded a message. I’m proud of you. So did so many of you on the municipal level. And congratulations to Jean Foschi, Cumberland County’s newest Commissioner!
To my fellow politicos, we have work to do, and it’s not going to get done as Facebook Warriors and Twitter Trolls. It’s time to act. I was not able to do this alone. Neither will the next person.
For the rest who were merely watching on from the sidelines, I have a message for you: Starting tomorrow, talk to people about running for office like anybody can do it. Because they can. And they should.
To paraphrase President Theodore (he hated to be called Teddy) Roosevelt: “Anybody can go and complain – it takes only a certain someone willing to put themselves out there in the arena to make a difference.”
Seriously, when your neighbor criticizes those in office, say, “You should run.”
When you talk to your kid who has a concern, say, “Let’s find someone to run.”
And when you think to yourself that you have an idea to make this world just a bit better, say, “I should run.”
The people who ran in this race were… just people. Sure, we can talk about their accomplishments and resumes, but I can say with no reservations there was nothing special about any one of us. We all had our quirks. We all had our insecurities. We all did our best. We all rode this emotional roller coaster of running for office. We all sacrificed time with family and friends to try to make the world just a little bit better.
Someday, you’re going to come across someone who seems almost pre-destined to run for office. They might be 7. They might be 37. They might be 77. But they won’t run unless you ask them.
Tomorrow, I’ve got 137 fourteen-year-olds who are going to be interested in hearing about this race. But, from day one, it hasn’t been about me. It’s been about them. About my own kids. Your kids. About our future. Not about political hackery. Like local elections should be.
Now let’s get out there and talk to them about running for office. Or think about it yourself.
See you on the other side of the tunnel.