On this date last year, I announced to Facebook and the Harrisonburg community that I would be seeking a seat on the Harrisonburg City Council that November. In that election, I ran as an independent. Although I had associated with the Harrisonburg Republican Party since the age of fifteen, I had grown increasingly disenchanted with the party over the years as they and their elected officials often endorsed candidates and legislation which stood in stark contrast to their supposed principles. As a result of our growing rift between what they said they believed compared to what they actually did, I was expelled from that organization in February of 2014. Once you couple that issue with open hostility from the Harrisonburg Libertarian Party, running as an independent seemed to be the logical choice.
However, that’s not to say that I didn’t have friends in both the Republican and Libertarian camps. As such, my first official campaign event, taking place on April 24th of 2014, was a signature collection drive on the campus of JMU alongside U.S. Senate candidate Robert Sarvis and 6th district House of Representatives candidate Will Hammer. An article and photo featuring the three of us appeared the following day in my local paper, The Daily News Record.
In the weeks and months that followed, I learned much, met many new people, picked up new friends, and unfortunately discovered a few enemies. Having been involved in politics for so long, I’ve certainly seen and faced a lot.
Prior to this campaign, one of my worst experiences centered around a death threat I received while working for Dr. Ron Paul in 2007. However, soon after making my announcement for council, I received a phone call from some who used to call me the best of friends who promised a barrage of unyielding personal attacks against me if I continued in my effort to seek elected office. Although I decided to press onward, as you might imagine, this blackmail cast a dark cloud of uncertainty over the campaign, making my effort all the more difficult, and did much to crush my enthusiasm for this project. As I have been reminded consistently over the years, and last year’s race for city council was no exception, politics often attracts the worst elements of humanity. However, I should add that while there are certainly those that sought to destroy me, there are others who came forth that evening to lift me up.
April 24th of 2014 was marked by unbridled hope while the following day brought crushing disappointment. Therefore, even one year later these two days remain a bittersweet memory of the beginnings of my foray to seek public office.