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Friday, November 17, 2006

"Losing" an election, and what I'll do if Price vacates his seat

The News & Record today runs an article about the Ron Price situation. It's written by Gerald Witt. And Witt gets something wrong in his write-up here: I don't believe this was intentional, but he conveys the sense that a lot of us who are pursuing this thing with Price are doing it because we "lost" the election.

I don't believe any of us "lost" in last week's election, and I wrote about this at much further length a few weeks before election day. A democratic republic is not supposed to be run as if it's a sporting event. And the sooner we move past this mentality that it's this "us versus them/winner takes it all baby" thing, the better off we're all going to be.

Here's part of the e-mail I sent Witt about this...

Dear Gerald,
I just read your article about the Ron Price situation. Just a suggestion: in the future you may wish to use "unsuccessful" instead of "losing" when referencing candidates who did not win an election. I've thought about this a lot over the past few months: anyone who appeared on the ballot who did not win a seat did not "lose" the election. It simply means that they did not get enough votes to achieve a seat. "Losing" is something that happens in a game because one person did not exert as much skill or strategy as the person who won. And the democratic process is anything but a game. Or it's *supposed* to be a lot more than a game anyway. When you think about it, there really is a difference between "losing" a game and "not winning" an election. Those of us who were candidates who did not win seats offered our services, were considered by the voters and were politely turned down: "losing" doesn't figure into that at all. I for one didn't "lose" this election: I just came about 700 votes from acquiring a seat... and I'm still rather shocked that I got the number of votes that I *did* get :-)

To use the word "losing" so much implies that because we "lost the game", that the candidates who are raising this issue about Ron Price have some kind of axe to grind. That because we *weren't* successful, we're now using this to "vent our rage" on Ron Price.

That's not it at all. And I've already said that I'm not going to pursue Price's seat if he vacates it. For me personally, I don't want to see such a bad example set for the students of Rockingham County if Price takes this seat and somehow thinks that that's going to smooth over the fact that he broke the law...

I've mentioned this to other news outlets but it hasn't been picked up yet, so I'll repeat it here: I'm not going to be pursuing the seat on the school board if Ron Price vacates it (and if he's interested in doing the right thing then he will). If it opens up, mine will not be one of the names nominated to fill it... or at least I won't be applying for the nomination personally anyway. It was my desire to win a seat by popular vote. In my mind, this isn't the right way at all for me to achieve that. I would rather it go to someone much more deserving of the position. If another election is held for school board, I will run again... but that's the only way that I'm going to even try to win a seat.