Lessons I’m learning as a Candidate

I love the “Are you a Jew?” question. Hilarious. Your Lesson #4 is excellent. I wish all candidates would do this, and your honesty got you a vote you deserved. – promoted by Rosi

crossposted from DailyKos

Hi all,

A little over a month has passed since I last updated the blogosphere on how my campaign for Township Council (in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey) is progressing. You can read the previous updates here and here.

With a month and a day remaining before Election Day, I wanted to provide an update on the race, and offer some thoughts on what it’s like to be a candidate.

My Campaign Website

Why I’m running for Township Council | NJ.com

Credentials for running for Berkeley Heights Council | NJ.com

Article from Woman’s Day website

First of all, I’m pleased to announce that on October 13th (Wednesday), from 7-9PM, Linda Weber and I will  be holding a free meet-and-greet, with Dick Codey as the guest of honor! The event is located at 15 Locust Avenue (the Veterans of Foreign Wars building). If you can make it, I’d love to see you all!

Since my last update in August, the campaign has resembled more of a roller coaster ride than the proverbial “marathon” used to describe an election cycle.

On the plus side: I’ve had several successful meetings with residents, knocked on hundreds of doors and been interviewed by local and national media.

On the minus side: my running mate for Mayor (as per my last article) dropped out for personal reasons and we were unable to find a replacement; my campaign signs keep getting stolen at night; and I’ve somehow become visibly nervous when speaking in public.

Despite all this, my running mate for Council (Linda Weber) and I are continuing to run strong. With our opposition divided (two Republicans quarreling AND two Tea Party-style independents) and voters looking for something other than the status quo (which both groups represent), I remain confident that I will win on Election Day.  

Why am I confident, you ask? Here’s why:

1)I’m going door to door and actually listening to voters – my opponents aren’t.

2)I’ve got over 20 friends ready to hit the streets on my behalf; my opponents don’t.

3)I’ve got new ideas and a fresh perspective to help Berkeley Heights; my opponents don’t.

I’ve had some unusual experiences as a candidate this year. Perhaps the best example is this one: I was walking in my local voting district and met an elderly voter. I spoke to her briefly about why I’m running, and then she asked me a question: “Are you Jewish?” I (very) hesitantly nodded. “Wonderful!” she replied. “Of course I’ll vote for you! And you want to know why? Because Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior was a Jew!” I walked away unscathed.

Lesson #1: Expect the unexpected from constituents when you ask for their vote.

Lesson #2: When seeking said votes, be prepared to answer questions you might not necessarily want to answer. Unless your Press Secretary’s taking the bul…err, responding for you.

Other lessons that I’ve learned from being a candidate (to date) are:

Lesson #3: When you’re a candidate, people will look at what you say and do differently. I’ve unfortunately lost a friend because he thought being a liberal was akin to being a leper. We had never discussed politics before, but as a candidate it inevitably came up.

Lesson #4: If you don’t know, tell the truth. A voter asked me a question on an issue I didn’t know about, so I confessed that to her. She appreciated my honesty, and when I got back to her with an answer a week later I also got her vote.

Lesson 5: The Internet is a double-edged sword for a candidate. On the one hand, it’s been great for raising awareness of my campaign and getting friends involved. On the other hand, photos of me from That Medieval Thing (a reenactment society I belonged to at Drew University) have become fair game in the campaign…such as my fighting a gypsy woman in 12th century Poland (it was staged).

On the whole, running for office has been a positive experience. At some point after the election, I hope to write a book about my campaign. Hopefully it will have a happy ending!

Stay tuned for further updates on my campaign as I inch closer to E-Day.


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Comments (5)

  1. Stephen Yellin (Post author)

    Thanks for reading!  

  2. Stephen Yellin (Post author)

    Am thrilled to be on the front page of Blue Jersey! Hope readers can make it to my campaign event with Dick Codey on October 13th!


  3. Senator Loretta Weinberg

    And good luck.  Thanks for becoming part of the process. You sound like you will make a terrific addition to the Council!


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