Run Josh, RunLast night I went to the Philly for Change Meetup/Happy Hour. It was the first one I have ever been too. It is Philly, so I saw some familiar faces, even one of the "in theory" contributors to this blog. It was an interesting crowd, skewed a little older than I expected. I had some good conversations about framing, and met Chris Bowers of MyDD. While that was all good, what got me really excited was the long conversation I had with Philly for Change member Josh Richard.
In this past election, Josh decided to make a "quixotic" run for State Rep, against 24 year incumbent Republican Mario Civera, of Upper Darby. I put quixotic in quotes, because despite spending a grand total of... $1,500 dollars, here are the results:
RICHARD, JOSH (DEM)
CIVERA, MARIO J. JR. (REP)
In other words, in a State where incumbents do not lose, Josh spent $1,500 dollars, won 46 percent of the vote, and lost by only 2,800. That is an amazing showing.
How did he do it? Well, I (and others I talked to since last night) hope to hear it directly from him. But the short version is that he simply got out there, organized, and knocked on door after door after door.
Now Josh has to decide where to set his sights for 2006: State Rep. again, or Township Councilman. It is a question of aiming high and maybe losing, or aiming more locally and getting a definite foothold as a Councilman. That is only a decision that he can make. That said, this is probably the best chance in the entire state to take a Republican House seat. And to replace that Republican with a young, progressive, decent human being would be wonderful for Upper Darby, the Philadelphia region, and PA as a whole.
In my blathering last night, one thing I promised him was that if he did run again, he would have help. I know that Alex and the Music for America crowd would be interested in this race (right?). The Philly for Change people would be interested in the race. The question is, how many other social networks could be mobilized to help Josh win? I think numerous. This is exactly the sort of thing I think this website could be useful in doing.
Upper Darby is a working class, inner ring suburb with rapidly changing demographics that will only help our cause. That said, when you get 46 percent of the vote, people start paying attention, including your opponents. I guarantee that Rep. Civera will not be asleep at the wheel for this campaign. But, 46 percent... Imagine what could happen with candidate training from Wellstone Action. With a bigger organization, for which, he has already laid down the tracks. With volunteers.
Josh, email me to talk about it some more.
Alex, Charles, everyone else out there; if he runs, will you step up to help a young, progressive Democrat go to Harrisburg?