This is a note from one who has lost a race for the GOP nomination for Congress in 1980, State Comptroller in 1982, for State Rep. in 2000 and for Govenror in 2002.
OK, the race for Governor as a Libertarian against Rob Blagojevich and Jim Ryan probably doesn’t count.
It was expected after my chicken-hearted gubernatorial opponents refused to accept the Illinois League of Women Voters debate invitation, even though I met the requirement of having achieved 5% in an independent poll.
I did have a lot of fun with the imagery of Jim-Rod, the Two-Headed Chicken.
Particularly satisfying was seeing vehicles carrying both candidates drive around the perimeter of the WGN parking lot in order not to drive past where I was standing at the main entrance.
They went in the back way.
Even so, you can see that the loss still impacted me.
In 1980, I ran for the Republican nomination for Congress against long-time incumbent Robert McClory.
As a State Representative with a statewide name identification of about 60%, I carried McHenry County, but lost Kane and Lake.
I was like any of the primary losers this year.
My term wasn’t up until January.
Not much energy to do anything.
It took about six months to get over my inability to marshal enough election resources to win the contest.
There was small consolation when McClory didn’t run for re-election after his district was re-apportioned.
In 1981, Governor Jim Thompson asked me to take on Roland Burris in Burris’ first re-election bid.
I laid out a robust campaign based on free media, but, after the first story, a poll from a Peoria TV station showing I was losing badly, I couldn’t catch the attention of the media.
And I lost.
Burris didn’t even give me the chance to concede before he declared victory.
That also took about six months before the depression lessened.
In 2000, I lost my State Rep. Primary Election to Rosemary Kurtz.
Another six-month funk.
So, losing candidates–and there are more of you than there are winners–buck up.
In six months, maybe less, you’ll be back in the swing of things.