Saturday, May 23, 2009

Our Next Delegate in the 69th

When I decided to run for the School Board last year I sought the advice of my state delegate Frank Hall. After talking for a while, Frank gave me this one great piece of advice—elections do not turn on issues, they turn on personalities. If people like you they will vote for you even if they do not fully agree with your positions on the issues. If people don’t like you, they will not vote for you even if they love your positions on the issues.

Well, it’s nearly a year later. Frank’s advice didn’t help me win my election, but it sure explains how I’m going to vote in the Democratic Party primary elections next week. Let me start with the contest to replace Frank Hall in the House of Delegates (Frank has moved on to an appointed office in the Commonwealth). The candidates are Carlos Brown, School Board member Betsy Carr and former president of the Richmond Crusade for Voters, Antione Green.

Frank Hall’s principle leads me to a great case of heartburn in this election. I consider both Betsy Carr and Antione Green to be personal friends. I have known Betsy for four years. We work together in the Micah Initiative. During my campaign last summer she helped spur me on to do the grunt work of politics—knocking on doors and shaking hands. I think that Betsy is highly qualified to serve us in the House of Delegates. I would not only like to vote for her, but I would have liked to work on her campaign. But… I met Antione last year at the Crusade school board candidate forum. We quickly became friends. Although the Crusade did not endorse my candidacy, Antione and I met many times over the summer and fall discussing school issues and the campaign. I think that Antione is highly qualified to serve us in the House of Delegates. I would not only like to vote for him, but I would have loved to work on this campaign.

As you might guess, I have worked on neither Betsy’s nor Antione’s campaigns. I just couldn’t get myself to campaign against either of them. How will I vote next week? I can’t tell you now. It will be either Betsy or Antione and I probably won’t decide until I am at the voting machine.

But, you may ask, what about the third candidate, Carlos Brown? I don’t know Carlos Brown. It is possible that last year I shook his hand during the campaign, but I don’t remember. I have received several pieces of his campaign literature. I read what he stands for. I notice that he is endorsed by Mayor Jones and State senators McEachin and Marsh. Those endorsements do not sway me one way or the other.

I will not vote for Mr. Brown. Why? He’s not my friend. I don’t have any personal feelings for him. And as Frank Hall taught me—voters choose based on the person, not the issues.

My advice to you, trusted reader—vote for Betsy Carr or vote for Antione Green. They are both good people.

And to Betsy and Antione I say—Good luck next Tuesday. Whichever one of you wins the primary, be assured that I will work to get you elected next November.

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