Friday, February 14, 2014

When Candidates Drop Out

There are a myriad of reasons candidates choose to leave their races. Over on the Republican side of the aisle, well known scandals of the sexual variety often poke their ugly little heads up, forcing early retirement so that the candidate (or officeholder) can "spend more time with their family." In divorce court perhaps.

Not that Democrats are immune to these peccadilloes. Notably Elliot Spitzer (otherwise known as Client Number 9 - I always wondered why someone didn't name a fragrance that, but hmmm, maybe better not to go there) and the appropriately named Anthony Weiner and his you know what flashing across the Twittersphere.

But there are other reasons candidates leave their races, and it often has to do with lack of finances, lack of momentum in the polls or with the voters, major defeats in partisan endorsement processes.

These candidates usually get out early before they spend down the family coffers. They are not driven or embarrassed out of the race. They are being clear headed and honest about their chances. They are reluctant to leave, but they do not wish to put themselves and their family through a grueling experience, the outcome of which is almost a sure thing. These are the honorable ones,the ones who are in it for the community, for values and principles they hold dear, and which they hoped to be able to further in public office.

They will often be the ones to go on and distinguish themselves in other ways, giving back as volunteers. campaign or legislative staffers to others who share their values. They may even reappear on the campaign scene running for another office or the same office once they have retooled and rethought their strategy.

These are the ones who leave their races for all the right reasons, and they need to be recognized.  Even though they will leave disappointed supporters and donors, they do so with a clear conscience.

And they win respect not approbation for their decision. It's hard to give up a dream, to go back to your ordinary life when you have got used to the excitement and the stress of a political campaign.

And even though it means a loss of income to consultants, the wise consultant must take a step back and look objectively at the decision her client has made, then offer the best advice she can, encouragement to stay and tough it out, if that seems right, but grace to let the client make the right decision for her and wish her well a she goes forward with new endeavors.