Okay, Election Day has come and gone. For many of you who ran, the results weren’t what you had hoped for. However, to quote Sean Hannity, “…Don’t let your heart be troubled…” over your loss. You are in very good company. Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Governor Spiro Agnew, Governor Hogan and countless numbers of other Republicans lost their first, second, third or even fourth campaigns for office.
Moreover, this phenomenon is not limited to Republicans, since the first attempts to run for office by Bill Clinton and Hubert Humphrey were met by losses. (P.S: Since they were Democrats, I can’t help wishing they had lost every time they ran for office.)
When Governor Hogan ran for Congress in 1992, he lost to Steny Hoyer. In what has recently become an all-too-familiar situation, the Republicans’ win on Election Night was followed by boxes of Democrat ballots just showing up out of nowhere. In 2014, Governor Hogan won the Republican primary in a hard-fought battle and in another uphill battle without big money, beat well-funded Democrat Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who had the endorsements of all the big papers and labor unions. However, in November 2014 we elected the second Maryland Republican governor in my lifetime.
When Richard Nixon ran for president in 1960, he lost to John F. Kennedy, who by today’s Democrat standards would be a right-wing extremist. Not only did Nixon lose his bid for the presidency, two years later when he ran for governor of California, he lost again. This string of losses prompted the candidate’s famous quote “… you won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore…”
In 1968, President Nixon filed paperwork to run for president. He won the Republican primary to get the nomination and face off against the darling of the American left, Hubert H. Humphrey (who lost to JFK in 1960). President Nixon defeated Vice President Humphrey and Democrat segregationist George Wallace who ran as an independent for president in 1968.
Many historians will push back and say that President Nixon would have lost if Wallace hadn’t been running. However, the numbers don’t pan out for Humphrey. He still would have lost, whether Wallace ran or not. What is it with Democrats and their apparent inability to accept election results?
In 1976, President Reagan failed to get the GOP nomination for the second time. This time he fell short to left-leaning moderate candidate by accident President Jerry Ford. Did this deter President Reagan? NO! He not only ran again in 1980, but actually ran away with the nomination and ended up defeating uber-liberal Jimmy Carter.
As I stated in my very first Dr. Politics chapter, the odds of winning on the first try are stacked against you unless you are running in a red district. However, in Montgomery County Maryland, there’s no such thing as a red district, just shades of blue. If Montgomery County had ruby-red districts, your fight would take place during the primary. After we have new lines drawn in 2020, they may or may not be friendly for Republicans. However, since those of you who ran will still have name ID, you will have a better shot in these newly drawn districts. My advice is to take a page out of the historical playbook of previous candidates who lost at first, then won during their second, third or fourth time around.
That being said, I commend all those candidates who ran in 2018, and I hope you will run again in 2022.