Why do people wait to be asked to run?

I was just thinking about that question. Why do people wait to be asked to run?

I've encouraged folks to run before, and the response I usually get is that they had been thinking about running for office someday, they were just waiting for someone from the community to ask them.

So I am asking that question because I truly believe we need all hands on deck to get out of the current crisis our state is facing, and because I believe we have to build for the long haul when there are new redistricting maps after 2020. If we don't have people who are right on the issues entering local office now, then how are we going to have a strong slate of state legislative candidates in 2016, 2020, and beyond?

I guess my advice is, if you know anyone in your life who would be great on the school board, on the county commission, or anywhere else, please tell them. You never know, that might be just what they are waiting for to give it serious consideration. I've learned not to be afraid of the potential awkwardness of telling someone that I'd like to see them in office. And you know what? There is none of the awkwardness that I feared, usually whether they say they will consider it or not, they feel complimented or flattered just to be asked.

If you ever have run for office, what made you jump into the fray? If you're considering running, what would it take for you to make that jump? If you know someone who might be good in office, have you told them yet? We've got less than 50 days now until the filing period opens for municipal elections in 2013.


It's a conundrum

If you're an ideal candidate and cut out for the job, you shouldn't be the only one aware of that, right? But unless you bring up the idea yourself, how in the hell can you expect people to ponder the notion?

Actually, Jake, now that you bring it up, I think you would be a great candidate...

I've weighed the option of running for local office

But living in a progressive stronghold like Chapel Hill means most of the people I could potentially run against are people who are with me on the issues I most care about already.

One problem NC doesn't have though is an over-abundance of progressive strongholds. I think there are a lot more "battleground" offices out there across the state people could run for. And I'm not shy about telling people I'd like to see them in office. I hope everyone will make an effort not to be shy about that.

Why not mentor?

Why not mentor and support someone outside Chapel Hill that could run for office?

I think progressives could have a chance in some areas that are outside progressive/liberal strongholds. They need the encouragement to run and support to help them get there - research on the issues and candidates in their area, ways to connect with donors and voters.

Fear & loathing

Human beings come with a built-in fear of "not looking good." If you throw your hat in the ring, all of a sudden you're under potentially withering scrutiny. Or even worse, no one even notices. (Even after years of being a harsh critic of the mainstream media, I'm still somewhat surprised at the blackout in media coverage of my campaign.)

Another fear involves the lack knowing the political ropes. Outsiders have an especially hard time with this, which is why they are ... um ... outsiders.

Over the past couple of weeks, lots of people have been telling me that I need to be kissing rings of political and media power brokers. "Make the rounds and ask for their input," they say. "Otherwise they won't think you're a serious candidate. And you're going to need their money."

I'm not sure what to think of it all, but I do know this: Jake's original post is right on the money.

I'm hoping and praying that we have a massive groundswell of candidates of all shapes and sizes running in all corners of the state.

Don't worry about whether you know how to do it right or whether you'll look bad. Our entire state is going down the toilet right now. We need help.

What made you take the leap

What made you take the leap to run for city council?

City council ... then governor

City council was a fun story. Though it's something of a cliche, at the time I was on a search for meaning in life, for opportunities to contribute to my community in ways that went beyond running a business. In particular, I wanted to help downtown Chapel Hill come back from years of neglect. Ironically, I was seen by many in town as "the business guy," which I suppose I was. I voted for a dense mixed-use development called Meadowmont, which was a divisive project. Happily, it turned out pretty darn well.

Jumping into the governor's race was a little different. I had gotten to the point of deep sadness and resignation about the future of our state, and saw no way out. One day I went out for a six mile walk and came back resolved to run for office. Somebody has to do it, and until there's a better alternative, I volunteer.

As I've said on my website, I don't really want to be a politician and I don't really want to be governor. In fact, I am highly suspicious of anyone who would.

Many people I know are in public office because they want to contribute. Many others are there because they want power and prestige. It's easy to see the difference. Just look to see who's spending time kissing rings. Just look to see who won't give you a straight answer to a clear question.

Jane made me promise that this campaign would be about doing good, being nice and having fun. That's my plan.


Sometimes I think about running for some office or another. I think I'd make a good representative of the interests of my people - the lower middle/upper-lower/working classes in our state, and then I look at the reality of actually running, and I end up disgusted and discouraged by all the red-tape involved, never mind the public lambasting any candidate must be willing to tolerate.

My wife and I were discussing this the other day and she informed me, correctly, that I am absolutely not cut out for campaigning, debates, and the other "fun" goes along with it. As she put it, if it didn't kill me outright, I'd end up in a dark corner somewhere assuming a fetal position for years afterward, and deep down I know she's right.

I want so badly to help, to jump into the ring and fight like hell for my state and the future my children are soon to inherit, but I'm not one to kiss rings or anything else. I'm more a 'tell me what you want then get out of my way' kinda guy. Team player? Sure, when I believe in the team and that the game isn't rigged (and today it is), but every negative thing I've seen written about James as a candidate, things I consider to be positives, I am probably ten times more so. In short, as good as I think I would be as a county commissioner, school board member, or even GA member, I and people like me, don't stand a chance of ever getting elected.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that IMHO, the people most likely to get the job done, are the least likely to get elected, much less get any support from state or national parties. Sorry if I've rambled on and veered a bit off topic.


"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail


The people most likely to get the job done, are the least likely to get elected.

All you need to do is look at McCrory. Spent a decade running and running and running for office and so far he's been nothing but missing in action ... overseeing a circus of greed, graft and gluttony.

I've thought about it ...

.. and laughed. But, I have three very strong negatives. I'm an nobody outsider, I'm a moderate, and I'm a registered Independent. By nobody outsider, I mean not a political insider with either party, and I have as much name recognition as Xolotrema denotatum (its a snail). All my other negatives, of which there should be plenty, are irrelevant after those.

I'm in an area of NC where the rise in unaffiliated voters is high, but I don't see it really mattering. Here:
Even without that article, in local issues where I decided to be active, I helped the ground game for turnout whenever I wanted to change things. And that's basically what the article says, NC is still a state where party loyalty is considered the most important factor in predicting a vote outcome. So turnout is the what usually decides things. I've been here some decades and generally agree.

Now look at your nice post-gerrymander state pie chart:
Turn out is about to not matter either. Though, just to be sure the Republican winners are starting plentiful voter suppression initiatives. While its good to fight those battles, I don't see it having much practical or immediate effect. Where it used to be party and turn-out

I'm in a newly gerrymandered to mostly safe for Republican district. So, I'm unelectable if I switch to Dem. If I switch and ran as a Republican since that's all that can win my district, I'm unelectable as a moderate. Gerrymandered safe districts tend to drift to candidates that have no need of compromise. And as an outsider, even if I join either party, I'm probably unelectable for that. If I stay as an unaffiliated, I'm just plain vanilla unelectable. And all this before any of my other irrelevant negatives need even be mentioned.

Really, with the gerrymander, the Republicans solved the issue of the Republican primary candidate being so far to the right that they suffer in the general. They can be as far right as they like and it won't matter at all now! Until NC is ungerrymandered, it won't matter who runs.

You've got two real options outside the safe for Dem districts: start the long fight now to ungerrymander or hope the winners get so complacent that they create huge problems and scandals and that crashes their party's popularity. Those options are not mutually exclusive, and I hope it doesn't take the latter before we, as a state, can pull off the former. Or maybe, some districts will have enough influx or people moving out to change the status, but I wouldn't expect that this early in the 10 year redistrict cycle.

You need to start explaining to regular nobody outsider Republicans and Independents like me that they also have no voice or vote that matters in gerrymandered districts.

Congressional District 13 needs a good candidate now!

I live in Cary and am triple-damned by the fact that rethuglicans have managed to BUY all three seats here in my district: Congressional District 13 (George Holding, R), NC House District 36 (Nelson Dollar, R), NC Senate district 17 (Tamara Barringer, R). Please find us someone to run and beat them as each term comes up for election. If there are any democratic candidates considering challenging these incumbents, please let us know. We need to get to work on their campaigns as soon as possible. Thanks.

For anyone thinking of running ....

... I think you'll really need an organization or volunteers to do in-depth oppo research.

Pope's organizations have been doing this "in house" for some time, using what they dig up - no matter how obscure - to smear state legislative candidates in mass mailings, robocalls and other media.

Just remember, if you run, Pope's groups will be putting together something like this on you. You're going to have to do the same in order to compete.