Election Day

Today is Election Day in the home ‘burg.  For those who didn’t see the earlier post on this, I’m running for my local school board.

My vote’s in.  The walking is done, the candidate forums are done, the mailers have been sent and now it’s up to the voters and we’ve got 10 hours and 20 minutes until the ballots start getting counted.

Wish me luck.  It’s been a very interesting and informative process.  After I get over the results tonight (positive or negative) and take a day to rest my brain, I’ll write a bit about the experience.

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51 thoughts on “Election Day

  1. Good Luck! I’m sure I’d be voting for you if I lived in your district.

    If you lose, you have my sympathies.
    If you win, you have even more sympathies, because then you’ll have to deal with being on a school board.

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    • Interestingly, I wound up getting more in donations by a large margin than I originally expected, because the incumbent decided not to run and I wound up getting a lot of the organizational endorsements, many of which came with money.

      My original thought was that I was going to need about $7,500 to compete. I figured that was doable at $75 each from 100 people, which was my donation pitch in the first three months. I spent somewhere in the $8k range, I stopped keeping daily records when I got a $2500 check that took all of the pressure off soliciting from community members. I’ll give a full accounting in the post when I can write it.

      By far the majority of that was in direct mail (there are 13,000-ish registered voters in the District, with about 2,700 “likely” voters… direct mail ranges between $0.50 and $2.50 per head. I split the difference and chose a middle-format mailer that was big enough to have a lot of content and mailed everybody on the likely list once (and then sent out some other ancillary mailers that overlapped with the first group about half).

      I didn’t robocall (my opponent did). I printed up walkflyers which I distributed by hand, and distributed about 200 yard signs, had three candidate coffee events.

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      • I’m impressed you spent so much.

        Actually, I’m impressed you were able to raise so much. Good for you.

        Is there a stipend attached?

        More importantly, best of luck. I hope you win.

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      • I’m impressed you spent so much.

        I’m a little depressed that I needed to to compete, but them’s the breaks. More on that in the post.

        Actually, I’m impressed you were able to raise so much. Good for you.

        The fundraising part will be a focus of the post, because it’s integral to running, and I’m intending the post to be “What You Should Know When You Run For Local Office, An Anecdotal Report”.

        Is there a stipend attached?

        $350/month. For 20-35 hours of work, if you want to do the job properly. Awesome, huh?

        More importantly, best of luck. I hope you win.

        Hey, if I can get you, Chris, Maribou, Jaybird, Hanley, Erik, the Doc, and rTod all in my corner, it says something really rewarding for my “rejection of political labels” approach on the blog.

        Thanks, SN.

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      • $350/month.

        Wow, in NJ it is illegal to pay school board members.

        They can get their expenses reimbursed upon board approval, and most boards will reimburse the annual convention in Atlantic City.

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      • One of the interesting things I found out about during this whole process is the wide disparity possible in local offices.

        In California (even prior to the Bell Scandal) many if not most cities had city charter limits embedded on compensation for City Council and Mayor offices, and most school districts have charter limits on how much you can increase pay.

        So the guys in charge can’t just vote themselves a bigger salary.

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      • Did you work with any professionals? Any campaign managers? I’m fortunate enough that if I ever considered something, I’ve got some friends who spend all or most of their careers as essentially hired guns for political campaigns. They’re psychopaths, but they are VERY good at getting people elected.

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      • Did you work with any professionals? Any campaign managers? I’m fortunate enough that if I ever considered something, I’ve got some friends who spend all or most of their careers as essentially hired guns for political campaigns. They’re psychopaths, but they are VERY good at getting people elected.

        This is a large part of the upcoming post.

        Shortest answer: running your own campaign is tackling the boss level on Insane settings. I don’t recommend it, but that’s what I did.

        It worked, but yeah. Insane.

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  2. I’m always amazed at the sudden breathing room on election days, that brief time (that can feel like an eternity) when the results are unknown, but the work’s been done, and all there is to do is breath. Enjoy it.

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    • Right now I’m in the midst of a very minor panic attack.

      (You always could have done more. Why didn’t you do more. What if we lose?)

      For someone who suffers from panic attacks, this probably would be an insulting characterization of the level of anxiety. It’s certainly not up to diagnostic levels. For me, though, it’s an experience I’ve had exactly once before, when I was going into the screening exam for the doctoral program.

      And the same level of self-ridicule follows… “You did what you were supposed to do, you’re as ready as you need to be, now shut up and calm down.”

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      • I’d guessed as much, having spent the day with candidates going through the same.

        It’s good to digest your mistakes (especially if you win; easy to skip that part of running a campaign if you’re the winner, and a bad habit if you think you might ever run another!), but its also good to enjoy the day, kinds of like getting through the night till Christmas morning.

        So presuming you want to at least maintain the option of doing this again, breath today, and analyze in a day or two. (And has all due diligence been done to make sure everyone who needs a ride to the polls has a ride? Everyone who might vote is voting?)

        Best of luck. I wait your announcement and (hopefully, hint hint hint) your thoughts on the process. It’s an incredibly important thing you’ve done, you know. Thank you.

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  3. Good luck.

    I’m curious… what did you find were the qualities/qualifications people seemed to be looking for in a school board member? I’ve considered running and figured my background in education would serve me well but I really don’t know.

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  4. Patric, I think it is great that you did this. We really do need more people doing this, and it is nice to see someone who obviously cares take the time.

    I also eagerly await your post on the experience, should be fascinating.

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  5. For the sake of inquiring minds…

    … yep, I got 55%.

    More later. It’s late. It’s been a long few months. Thanks for the well wishes, nice thoughts, good karma, strong prayers, or moderately interested idle musings.

    They all mattered.

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