I will just say it; Election Day sucks for a candidate. The polls stay open for 13 hours and then it often takes another two hours beyond that to compile the results. Instead of lining up people to cover approximately forty polling locations, I relied on refreshing the State Board of Elections website on Tuesday evening. In theory, it should only take a few minutes to upload the computerized data. For whatever reason, modern technology seems slower than the days of hand counting each ballot.
As the results poured in, I noticed a pattern; I lingered between 4th and 5th place the entire night. At the time, I had no way of knowing what precincts had already reported their data online. By midnight, I only knew that I trailed Michael Peroutka and Chris Casey by about 250 and 70 votes respectively. Meanwhile, Faith Loudon and Nathan Volke won the first two seats by a wide margin. I conceded to my opponents Wednesday morning.
Thursday, the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections website uploaded the tallies from the individual voting precincts. Technically, we have forty-four precincts in District 31, although some locations contain two separate ones. When I looked at the information, a few things stood out to me. For example, at Brooklyn Park Elementary and Brooklyn Park Middle, I received more votes than any of my opponents. Likewise, I finished second at Brooklyn Park Library, Fort Smallwood Elementary in addition to one of the Riviera Beach Elementary School precincts. Finally, I placed third at Belle Grove Elementary, Chesapeake High School as well as Emmanuel Lutheran and the VFW in Pasadena.
Clearly, I did well in the Brooklyn Park area. I concentrated a great deal of effort door knocking in this area. True, I already knew some people in that live in these Northern suburbs. In fairness though, the overwhelming majority affiliate with Democratic Party and thus couldn’t vote for me. I am especially proud about my showing at Fort Smallwood Elementary and the Pasadena VFW. I vote at the former, but many of my neighbors go to the latter. Either way, it shows my neighbors cared about and believed in me enough to give their support. As for Riviera Beach Elementary, I worked that area pretty hard through door knocking, literature drops and a mailer.
As mentioned, I notched third place finishes at Chesapeake High School and Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Pasadena. Many of my stanch supporters live near the high school and I know they worked valiantly to spread the word to their families, friends and neighbors. That’s grassroots politics in miniature. Finally, I spent last Sunday placing business cards on mailboxes of homes on Rock Hill Rd, Valley Rd and Meadow View Rd in Pasadena. Incidentally, one guy on Meadow View Rd starting to bang on his window as I walked up his driveway. I could literally see the veins in his neck pulsating as he demanded me to get away from his property. For some reason, I doubt he knew my identity. Wouldn’t it have been something if he picked my name at random on Election Day? Oh, if he/we only knew.
As for familiarity, I spent time knocking on every voting Republican door in the Fox Chase area, off Hospital Drive. District 31 took over that area from District 32 in the latest round of redistricting. I felt I got positive response from the neighbors, minus the one guy that tried to slap literature out of my hand as he declared I had no business soliciting in the area. Maybe so or maybe no, but that certainly didn’t warrant an assault on his end. Of course, I just smile and move away from jerks. Bottom line, I will not let them deter me from going to the next door. These residents vote at Grace of God Fellowship. In turn, they awarded me with a third place finish in that precinct.
Admittedly, I am very upset with my showing at Marley Middle School and North County Library. I knocked heavily in both areas and took away positive vibes. Nonetheless, I finished 6th and 7th respectively. Now, I won’t declare the visits to Sun Valley and Harundale a waste of my time. After all, I met some great people in those neighborhoods. Over the next couple of months, I will try to rationalize an explanation.
All told, this gave me some insight into how I might refocus my efforts in the slim chance I run for another office. I will continue to discuss the same in subsequent posts.