Today is candidates filing day for State and Local offices. For many incumbents and non-incumbents running for office it’s a nerve-racking day. I actually enjoy it as the official kick off to the Election Day race. Many incumbents are worried about drawing opposition. No opposition especially as a Democrat in a Santa Fe County Primary means the race is over and you've won. Non-incumbents are worried about who will actually file and who will not. There is really no telling how many opponents you will have and who they will be until filing day comes.
I have always begun my race with the General Parade at Fiesta's. This is in September of the year prior to the primary. The first time I ran in 1998 only then Under Sheriff Ray Sisneros and I had been campaigning for 7 months when filing day came. On filing day three others jumped into the race. It was disappointing to both of us but especially me. With Ray pretty much running as an incumbent along with Sheriff Benjie Montano planning to be Under Sheriff the rest of us were pretty much splitting the vote of those unhappy with the current administration. I worked hard and still came in a close second.
Today there were no surprises in the race for Sheriff. I drew an opponent whom I expected to run. I won't mention the opponents name since the opponent is relatively unknown. It's kind of fun when I have been campaigning and people ask me who my opponent is I just smile and say "no one else knows who it is either so I don't give the name out." People usually laugh and go along, some ask "no really, who is it?" I don't give in. So don't expect to learn the name in any of my blog postings.
After filing time ends at 5 PM the candidates all gather and draw numbers to see who's name comes first, second etc. on the ballot. Everyone wants to be first but I really feel it does not matter. Ok, just for disclosure sake I drew second to my opponent. But really, I have never drawn first and was third and last on the ballot in my last race. This was the race I won. Some people actually think that if you are first on the ballot that an undecided may go in and pick the first name not knowing whom else to vote for. Even though some people don't really study the candidates I still have more faith in our voters than to believe that any more than the very few would ever vote in this fashion. I also feel that if anyone votes in this fashion that the candidates have not done their job. It is our job as candidates to get exposure to the voting public. No one should walk into the voting booth not at least recognizing our name. If they vote for others based on some other reasons that is one thing. However, not knowing even one of the candidate’s names is something else.
So, the gate is up and the race is on. I really enjoy the campaigning part of this job. I really enjoy meeting people, shaking hands and debating the issues. It's odd isn't it? That someone would actually enjoy the madness. It’s a good thing you don't have to pass a psychological test to run for office because you have to be crazy to do it. Anyway, Happy Filing Day!