May 28, 2014 —
In the spirit of this political season, I am recounting the tale of an affable chap who loved politics but found the winner’s circle only once.
Hitting once in three times in baseball is a .333 batting average. That usually gets high marks in the big leagues but not in politics.
His first foray into the political arena came as a young married man whose wife was about two months away from delivering a child.
He read in the local newspaper that not enough candidates had filed for City Council so there was an opportunity for write-in candidates to launch instant campaigns.
Kentucky’s voting machines in those days were not simple to operate. It was especially so for write-in candidates whose supporters had to open a small sliding door at the bottom of the ballot and write a name on a slip of paper.
Our hero enlisted the help of a friend who printed some hastily-designed campaign cards with confusing instructions on write-in voting. Then he convinced his very pregnant wife to go door-to-door in nearby neighborhoods.
Three days later, voters went to the polls and elected one write-in candidate for City Council but not our man.
He fell a few votes short but caught the fever which found him on the regular ballot two years later.
Lo and behold, he finished in the top six and earned a seat on City Council. In fact, he took office just as the city was going broke and had to impose a payroll tax.
It was 30 years later when the political bug bit him again and he ran for mayor. The voters had better judgment than he realized because he lost badly.
Today, when asked about my political career, my standard response is:
“The next thing I‘m running for is the county line.”