I often joke with people that my main campaign strategy is to let the other candidates implode.
Well, that seems to be happening.
In the case of Jacob Elder, I think he just had the worst day of his campaign on Monday.
In the morning, a blog story appeared that did not cast him in a favorable light.
“Last week I posted a statement on a Facebook Page about why I could not support Jacob Elder as mayor. Within minutes he sent me a personal message on Messenger (see attached) telling me I was not really a Marine (“You are not a Marine! You never served!”) accompanied by a barrage of creepy emojis. After I received it, I called him to see if we could have a rational, reasonable discussion. We couldn’t. He wouldn’t let me get in a word and told me that I was “not really a man,” that I am “a disgrace to our nation and Marine Corps,” and that he does not believe I was a Marine.”
The story has been shared with well over a thousand already. Then in the evening, this image from a Monday evening fundraiser started making the rounds on social media.
Here’s a guy the Missoula GOP wouldn’t endorse because he filed as a Dem in his initial paperwork...and yet here he is with Zinke. (To me, Zinke looks confused as to why Elder would be doing such a photo).
This will cost Elder a lot of votes, a lot more than it might earn him from voters supporting GOP-nominated Knopp.
Most of all, I’m reminded of the perils that first-time candidates typically face...and most come right from themselves.
We see it this year with Elder, blocking people on social media and then doing weird stuff accusing people that don’t agree with him.
We see it on RD, with Ward 1 candidate Hunt continuously making exceedingly-long comments that, in my opinion, turn people off more than anything.
This is something that comes with experience, the ability to ‘shrug things off.’
I was the same way when I first ran for office in ‘14. Lot of knee-jerk reactions, lot of taking things personally, a lot of silliness...mostly on my part. I see it in today’s candidates.
When you’re a first-time candidate, out in the public eye for the first time, it’s hard not to take everything personally. But you have to learn how. You have to learn control, and self-discipline.
Personally, I don’t think you develop these in strong quantities until you’ve run for office once or twice. And let’s be honest, in Montana - and much of the rest of the nation - a candidate typically runs once, and if they lose, they never run again.
One and done.
Very few have what it takes to be beaten in the public square, only to come back for more. Those are the leaders.
So many on social media right now are decrying the fact that they don’t want to vote for Engen, but they feel all the challengers are worse. The amount of pushback I’m seeing against Elder right now, gosh...maybe Knopp will be advancing to the general!
But then, let’s remind ourselves who parades around on social media - hardcore Dems and avowed socialists, for the most part. Anyone that’s followed Twitter in Montana for a time knows all the Republican candidates and officeholders left that cesspit years ago. And they're winning.
Oh...here I am, rambling again.
I think I got some of my points across, and that’s good enough for now. Until next time.