Thursday, September 21, 2006

My Election Day

Tuesday, the day of the primary election, was a very busy day for me. I have been working on electoral races all across the state. As it got closer to Election Day I started to work on the DiBella race in Methuen. I ran Chris DiBella's Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaign on Election Day. We came very close to winning but lost by 192 votes out of the nearly 6000 votes cast.

The daily newspaper in Methuen had this headline the day after the election:
Campbell is Democratic nominee for state representative; Wins close contest against newcomer DiBella
Former City Councilor Linda Dean Campbell became the Democratic nominee for state representative from Methuen yesterday edging out political newcomer Christopher DiBella by 192 votes.
I was honored to be part of this campaign. Chris is an amazing guy who believes in many of the same things that I do. There is something about him that inspires people. He actually reminds me of a modern day JFK. I know for sure that we have not seen the end of Chris DiBella.

On Election Day I was in Methuen by 5:30am. I ran DiBella headquarters, managed 50 volunteers, and successfully completely a full scale GOTV campaign. We had poll checkers in place all day, a 10 person phone back, and four teams of canvassers knocking on doors. We got all of the 1500 people who said that they would vote for Chris
to the polls.

The polls closed at 8:00pm and we anxiously awaited the results. As my precinct captains called in the results we remained hopeful. With 9 out of the 11 precincts reporting we were winning by just under 100 votes.

Then the last two precincts came in: we had lost.

In the end Chris got 1715 votes. Unfortunately it was not enough. We needed 193 more to win.
I am very proud to have been part of Chris DiBella's campaign.

After I packed up campaign headquarters and said my goodbyes, I headed back to Boston. That is when I heard the great news that the longtime incumbent Representative from Milford, Marie Parente, had been defeated! I was elated over this news. She has been a staunch opponent of gay rights for 20 years. The best part is that she was planning on retiring this year, but then decided to run for re-election one more time. She made a mistake, and she got the boot!

I was also excited to hear the results of the Gubernatorial race come in. Deval Patrick trounced his competition. My dad has been a big part of Deval's campaign and was extremely excited as well. He headed in to Boston for Deval's victory party.

Then the news came that the votes in the Second Suffolk senate district were going to be counted that night. This was a surprise because every candidate in this race was running a sticker campaign. I did not think that we would know the outcome of this race until the next day.

Around 11:30pm I headed over to Senator Senator Dianne Wilkerson's victory party. I was overjoyed to hear that Senator Wilkerson beat her challenger Sonia Chang-Diaz. I have supported Senator Wilkerson all the way, even in this tough time for her.

In Newsweekly reports on the Wilkerson victory party:
Partygoers included a relieved MassEquality executive director, Marc Solomon, as well as Chris Mason, a campaign manager with the gay lobbyist group. Ken Reeves, the openly gay mayor of Cambridge, was also there to share in Wilkerson's joy.
Marc Solomon, MassEquality's campaign director had this to say to In Newsweekly:
"Two years ago some people in the African-American community said that if things got tough for Dianne the gay community would easily abandon her. But today proved that we were there when she needed us and I was proud to stand with her."

Yet, some in the gay community turned their back on her.

I am very disappointed by those in the gay community that abandoned Senator Wilkerson when she needed us most. She stood up for us when other people would not. She has fought incredibly hard for our community. She has lost family members because of her unwavering support of equal marriage rights.

In Newsweekly endorsed Sonia Chang-Diaz. In their endorsement they write:
We know she's (Senator Wilkerson) inspiring and committed to our concerns. And that would be more than enough to support her for another term, except that she has a bright, energetic, long-time supporter of GLBT rights issues challenging her. This is a woman who has worked with MassEquality, Cheryl Jacques and others on GLBT issues for many years.

In my opinion you support people who have stood up for you. That is the right the to do. Worth mentioning is the fact that, even though the article mentions that Chang-Diaz worked with MassEquaity and Cheryl Jacques, both MassEquality and Cheryl Jaques have endorsed Senator Wilkerson.

Another writer in the gay community to desert Senator Wilkerson was Mass Marrier. He also endorse
d Sonia Chang-Diaz. Some people just don't get it. Not only is supporting Senator Wilkerson the right thing to do, it also is crucial for the fight to preserve marriage equality.

We need to be able to assure the fence sitting conservative legislator that if he votes with us, he WILL be re-elected. We need 151 votes to kill the anti-gay constitutional amendment. To get that number we need conservative legislators to vote our way. We can't have them say to us, "Look what happened to Dianne. In her liberal district she got beat in the primary. How can you possibly stop me from getting beat in the primary in my conservative district?"

I am thrilled that Dianne won her primary race. I was also there in Boston City Hall today as they counted the last eight precincts. Senator Dianne Wilkerson will be able to continue to fight for our community on Beacon Hill, even if some in our community didn't fight for her when she really needed us.

This is a photo that appeared in this weeks In Newsweekly. It was taken around midnight on Election Day. This is four afters after I was in campaign headquarters in Methuen getting the results in from the polls. In this picture I am with the highest-ranking Black elected official in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Senator Dianne Wilkerson, MassEquality Campaign Director Marc Solomon, and the Mayor of my fair city of Cambridge Ken Reeves (the first openly gay black mayor in the United States). (photo credit: Eric Hess)

This Election Day was a long day for me. It was full of emotions. At 8:00pm as the results came down in Methuen I had tears in my eyes. Just a few hours later I was hugging Senator Wilkerson at her victory party. Let's hope the November elections are just as exciting.


At 10:25 AM, Anonymous TJMjr said...

Excellent article. Gave me the chills.

At 9:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a long emotional day! The ups and downs of political life...all in one day. Great job Chriss! I am very proud of you!

At 4:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thankfully, progressives from JP to the South End to Beacon Hill/Back Bay said no to corruption. We may not have had the votes this time, but we'll be back!

At 8:07 PM, Blogger Chris Mason said...

Luckily the black community knows how to stand by someone that has stood up for them. Too bad I can't say the same for so many in the gay community.

At 8:38 PM, Blogger Owen said...

Chris Mason said...

Luckily the black community knows how to stand by someone that has stood up for them. Too bad I can't say the same for so many in the gay community.


I certainly hear that, Chris. For sixteen solid years, I have been out of the closet fighting for equal marriage rights. For this, I was misrepresented in a MassEquality letter that claimed all of Rosemary Sandlin's opponents - all of them - opposed equal marriage rights.

Here's the story:

Sincerely yours,
Owen R. Broadhurst

I am the first and only candidate ever to campaign out of the closet in the Third Hampden District.


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