New Britain is a city of approximately 70,000 people. Among registered voters there are about 16,500 Democrats and 3200 Republicans. Both parties reached out to me inquiring if I would be interested in running. Truth be told, I am a registered Democrat. My background includes working for a member of the Kennedy family. With Democrat voters outnumbering Republicans 5 to 1, running as a Democrat would make sense. Well, for most people. Not a guy who grew up on 80s movies.
I grew up watching movies like the Bad News Bears, Rocky and Rudy. My favorite cartoon was Underdog. I would go against the odds. Where there is a will, there is a way. I decided to accept the Republican endorsement while remaining a registered Democrat. We would beat the odds. 5 to 1 be damned.
So, I embarked on my campaign. A fellow business owner in town named Mark Bernacki was running on the Republican ticket. He had an MBA, owned a business downtown and was an experienced politician with 20 years on the City Council in various positions. He was a good guy who helped me tremendously when I first moved to the city. I wasn't going to let the (R) after his name dissuade me from supporting him. Besides, if the movies taught me anything, the underdog always wins.
What could go wrong? With "Eye of the Tiger" playing in my head, I began the campaign. My opponent was a popular and experienced four time incumbent who enjoyed strong union support. Did I mention that my opponent was also a senior citizen, a widow, and shared a name with Hollywood's favorite child actor Shirley Temple? As you can imagine, Ms. Shirley Black wiped the floor with me. Welcome to Politics 101. Class is dismissed.
|It's an odd feeling to vote for yourself.|
Putting yourself out there can be harrowing. Strangers start questioning your character. I had people question whether I even lived in my district. I was even involved in a "scandal" when a political blogger uncovered that I was a tax scofflaw. (I was late in paying around $100 of motor vehicle tax on my jalopy). I fared better than other candidates that owed tens of thousands of dollars.
Despite all this, I sincerely enjoyed the experience.
Which brings me to an actual exchange I had in open court with a Superior Court Judge.
JUDGE: So Attorney Baron, I hear you ran for city council, how did you do?
Dashing Former Candidate: Not too good your honor.
JUDGE What happened?
Dashing Former Candidate: I blame the prosecutor. He put all of my supporters in jail.