I write this post from the home of Justin Tomczak, a good friend of mine who earlier today came up a bit short to Bert Guy in his race for First Vice-Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party. The hardest part about remaining neutral in GOP races this season was an inability to advocate for a good friend. Bert is a good man, and will serve the GOP well. Justin will continue to support good candidates and causes. Life is good.
The Chairman’s race is a bit more complicated and has stronger immediate implications on the future of Georgia Republican Party and Georgia politics in general. I’ll have most of my thoughts on that in my Monday column. Tonight, I’d just like to say a word about Tricia Pridemore.
It was very hard for many to separate Tricia’s campaign from that of Governor Deal. In some senses, that’s fair. In others, Tricia is her own person, and has a good future in the Georgia GOP. Tricia is a relative newcomer to many of the circles within the power centers of GOP convention delegates. Being somewhat unknown is a hard postion to be in within a party which rewards seniority, dues paid, and an unwritten pecking order.
My personal experiences with Tricia have always been positive. Despite her position and advocacy during the Governor’s primary, she was the single Deal person who took the initiative to make positive outreaches to me during both the runoff and general election. Knowing and understanding our differences, she still always saw the bigger goal.
I am in no way disappointed that Sue Everhart was re-elected, and I congratulate her on her victory. But most analysis on “what’s next” will focus on division, unity, and the ability of a party to stand together during the next elections. I expect that Sue will remain the gracious person who I know she is, and would hope that she can find a meaningful place for Tricia in the Georgia GOP.
I wrote this piece on the general primary night last July. I’ll repost it here. For those who ran, thank you. There remains a lot of work to be done. Get a good night’s sleep, and then get on it.
10 years and 2 nights ago, I had to stand up in front of my friends and family and tell them that our campaign efforts fell short, and worse, I needed them to support someone who had been our opponent just hours ago. It wasn’t easy, but we started with a goal, and he was the guy they needed to support was the only one remaining who could achieve what we wanted.
Frankly, standing there and saying that sucked.
I knew when I decided to run in a race that attracted three experienced politicians that the odds were long. When others get on board and believe in you, it’s not easy to tell them that you let them down, that the road has ended, that the campaign has no tomorrow. But if your overall goal was truly bigger than yourself, it has to be done. Leaders get the job done, no matter who takes the credit.
There is no way a candidate who has lost will take consolation calls in an upbeat manner. I had many people talk to me like I had died. Or even worse, was going to kill myself. As hard as we worked for a few months, my life wasn’t over. I tried. It didn’t work. It was time to move one. The calls were well intentioned, but reeked of pity that I wasn’t prepared or willing to receive. Enduring those for days, then weeks, was about as bad as the original concession speech to supporters.
I say that to say this: I congratulate those who tried. Few will ever understand where it is you stand tonight. Do not hold your head low for trying, for most will forever just sit on the sidelines and complain. Hopefully your efforts pulled you and others into a process that too many ignore these days. Perhaps you influenced your opponent in such a way that they will govern better. Perhaps, should you try again, you learned what will make you a better candidate next time.
And hopefully, as I did, you’ll meet new people and have a new appreciation for those who wish you well.
Tomorrow is another day, and there is a new challenge for you somewhere. Because this was not your time does not mean you cannot make your place for change either in this political system or in some other meaningful way.
Regardless, get some sleep. You’ve earned it. Then look forward and not back. Count your blessings and not your shortcomings, lest you be bitter.
Each of you, even those who have been on the receiving end of some prime Peach Pundit snark, have my sincere thanks for trying.