Thursday, August 30, 2007

Second Time's the Charm?

In June 2007, former Congressman Martin Frost wrote a column entitled, "Try Again." Frost writes:
The recent news that my friend Judy Feder was going to run again for Congress against Republican incumbent Frank Wolf, R-Va., in northern Virginia points out that perseverance is one of the most important qualities for anyone who aspires to public office.

To be elected, you have to be a risk-taker and you have to be willing to lose an early race. There is no guarantee Judy will win this second race but she is following in the footsteps of some very interesting people.

Frost then lists a number of races where the challenger lost the first time, then won on the second or third try. For instance:

*Martin Frost himself lost his first election for Congress in 1974, then won in 1978 on his second try.

*"Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) lost races for Congress in 1974 and 1976 before he was finally elected in 1978."

*"Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) badly lost a race for Congress from Chicago in 2000 against the Democratic incumbent, Bobby Rush (D-Ill.). Obama then went on to be elected to the Senate in 2004."

*"Four current freshman Democrats -- Nancy Boyda (D-Kan.), Paul Hodes (D-N.H.), Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.), and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) — lost races for Congress in 2004 and came back to defeat the same Republican incumbent in 2006."

It goes on and on, but I really like this one:

*"In 1978, the year I first was elected to Congress, a young man in West Texas, George W. Bush, lost a race for Congress. He later was elected governor and president."

Can Judy Feder win this time around? As Martin Frost says:
The mental toughness and drive needed to make a second race after you lose are no small matters. The successful candidates often are the ones who posses these qualities.

Anyone who knows Judy Feder knows she has that mental toughness. Anyone who writes her off as a "loser" simply doesn't know Judy -- or the history of American politics. It's often the case that the "second time's the charm." This is going to be one of those cases.

No comments: