Imagine you put your blood, sweat and tears into running your campaign and learn Election Night that you’ve lost by a margin of votes you can count on your fingers. It’s a candidates’ nightmare – and it happens. More often than you might realize.
Because losing is one thing. There is a lot to read into an Election Night loss of hundreds or thousands of votes – it’s not your time, or your messaging wasn’t aligned with voters’ views, or people voted strictly along party lines’ Lots of ways to spin it, and learn from it. Losing by just a handful of votes hurts even worse, because, after talking with thousands of people over the last several months, it means that people who said they’d support you didn’t get to the polls to do it. And that’s due to a get-out-the-vote hole in your campaign strategy.
We found these ridiculously close races to emphasize the point – and they’re not just small town contests. Getting out your vote is critical in every race from school board to Congress. I encourage you to read through some of these articles. Why? To scare yourself, obviously. To understand the importance of not letting up, from the moment you tell you confide in someone that you’re interested in running through the closing of the polls on Election Night, and the criticality of making sure that every voter who says they’re going to vote for you gets to the polls to do it, whether you have to remind them, cajole them or drag them there.
In Nevada, they still settle ties the gentlemanly way: drawing playing cards, with the high hand taking the victory. In 2002, Republican Dee Honeycutt came up short, drawing a jack of diamonds to Democrat R.J. Gillum’s jack of spades for a seat on the Esmeralda County Commission. In 2011, when Tanya Flanagan and Linda Meisenheimer tied in a North Las Vegas city council primary, neither candidate was eager to spend the $600 it would cost for a recount. Meisenheimer ended up drawing a king to Flanagan’s five, but ended up losing the general election.
The moral of the story is: Don’t be the candidate who loses by three votes. Because we guarantee that if you do, you’ll have more than three people tell you after the race is over that they didn’t make it to the polls, and that will sting, big time.