It has been almost two weeks since the election and I have been doing a great deal of thinking. . These past two weeks have been a mad scramble as I finish up coursework for my college term. I have had some time to chat with various people and think myself about what it all means. So what did I learn?
Running for office is a lot of fun
I had a blast doing almost everything with the campaign. Mainstreeting and talking with people at doors was a real high. There is a vast diversity of people in Oak Bay and in that diversity there are many smart and informed people.
I loved working on the website and all the other flyers. Doing this work allowed me to hone my message and think hard about the core ideas I wanted to talk about. I enjoyed posting on this website. It kept my hand in the writing game.
There are a lot of people in Oak Bay who want a young person on council
The vast majority people I talked to were receptive, be at it the door or on the street. Even if they didn’t agree with me on some or all of the issues, they all saw the value in having a young person on council. There were a few times that knowing that Oak Bay people cared was the only thing keeping me out there.
You get out what you put in
Although I lost, I did manage to collect over 1000 votes, 1167 to be exact. I spent just over $1000 , flyered about 1000 homes and knocked on a few hundred doors. I got about 400 visitors to my website. Basically, for every dollar I spent and every flyer I distributed, I got one vote. Does this hold true for the other challengers? Once their campaign financial documents are filed, I intend to pull them down and run some analysis. As for my own records, I will posting more details as soon as I finish my own campaign finance documents.
Not preparing a speech for the all candidates meeting worked for me
If you were there, you probably didn’t realize it, but I was operating on about 4 hours sleep, two hours the night before and two in the afternoon. I had spent a great deal of time thinking about what I was going to say but hadn’t actually written anything down. I enjoy speaking on the fly but have never talked to a strict time limit before and when that 45 second card went up, it through me off nearly every time.
Talking to people is the only way to go
This sounds obvious, but all that flyering and other non-contact stuff is only the window dressing. One of the most apparent ways this manifested self was with my signs. Of the nearly 50 I had out, only two of them came from the website. Every other sign came from personal contact of some kind, whether I knew the person beforehand or not.
Don’t worry about making a mistake with one person
The number of doors I flubbed with my delivery or people I tripped over my own tongue with while mainstreeting is huge, especially in the first few days. But I had to keep telling myself that this is only one person, there is going to be another person right around the corner. It also allowed me to try out different approaches to see what kind of reaction I got.
I didn’t win a council seat. I didn’t even come close. But I knew entering into this race that my candidacy was a dark horse. Late in the campaign I set myself a personal goal of at least a 1000 votes. Setting this small goal allowed me to get out there in the last two weeks and hand deliver just under 1000 flyers and talk to many more people.
So what about 2011?
At this point in my life, I will likely run again in 2011. I don’t see myself moving in the next three years. The place I live is great, I pay almost criminally low rents and my landlord is amazing. Not to mention I live five blocks from Willows Beach, near shopping of all kinds, walking distance to Camosun and on a bus route to UVic and Downtown. But the world changes. As a renter, I have zero housing security. My house could be sold tomorrow.
But, all in all, I regret none of it. I refuse to beat myself up about thinking that if I had just knocked a few (hundred) more doors I would have made it. Or if I had done a million of the other things I thought about during the race.