Licking my wounds...and analyzing the scabs

School board races are interesting creatures:  We had 5 candidates in the race for 4 seats.  Voters each selected 1, 2, 3, 4, or no candidates for a grand total of over 30,000 votes cast. Over 5,500 voted for me, or about 17.8%.  To put things in perspective, 4th and 3rd finished with 18.2% and 19% respectively.  It was a razor thin race.  I said on my facebook last week that I can empathize know how Al Gore must've felt in Florida with falling just a few hundred votes shy of a majority in 2000.

For inquiring minds, I'll analyze why I fell short:
1) I'm the new guy.  All the other candidates have political household names and were able to win with running a minimum amount of advertising and campaigning.  That's no disrespect to them, but it's simply how politics works. 
2) I'm a south Wilkes-Barre guy.  All the other candidates have families in Plains and live in Miners Mills, so I fell short in the five Plains wards and north Wilkes-Barre.  Because the residents elected commissioners this year, there was more of a reason for folks living there to come to the polls.  A lot of Wilkes-Barre residents stayed home. 
3) I won only the Republican nomination.  It's hard to pinpoint with certainty how voters split their ballots amongst the candidates, but one thing is certain:  the straight party function harmed my candidacy.  There is a 4:1 ratio of Democrats to Republicans in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District.  Over 30% of Democrats and 25% of Republicans voted the straight party line.  That 5% discrepancy alone made the difference between coming in 5th or coming in 4th or 3rd.
4) I just didn't work as hard as I should have.  I wore out two pairs of shoes, shed 10 pounds, and met over 10,000 voters on their doorsteps since last February.  I was expecting to edge out the competition, but I missed the mark by failing to convince just 116 more people to vote for Harry Haas. 

What's in store for the future?
Only God knows. I had a blast meeting so many great people and finding little nooks across the voting area.  Kelly Street in Miners Mills, Dauphin Street in South Wilkes-Barre, Almond Lane in the Heights: there's a whole lot of our area that is good and worth bragging about.  People are upset about the status quo and real change is required to win back the people's confidence in our elected offices from the school board to the courthouse.  Unless the issues on my platform page are addressed, I will run again in 2011.  Please keep checking in on from time to time, and thank you for your past support and present encouragement.

Winning in November

Summer is half over, and the campaign is in full swing making the rounds at bazaars, restaurants, Thursday farmer's markets, and even some door-to-door.  In discussions with voters, people are asking me what they can do to help, and my answer comes down to three things:

1) Vote smartly on Nov. 3rd
2) Spread the word
3) Donate time or money

1) Vote smartly 
     Because of the unique nature of a school board race, it is difficult for new and unconnected candidates to win.  Why?  Because voters may choose up to 4 candidates on the fall ballot, and they often do so.  This means that the support of a voter will be divided amongst 3 other candidates and not result in any net gain.  Family members of candidates and the politically connected will many times vote for just one candidate for this reason.  I am imploring you, the voter, to vote for only the candidate(s) who you know will fight for real change.  Please don't cast all 4 votes just because you've heard of a name before.  
     Also important is to not vote for all of one party (a.k.a. voting "straight party ticket") for three reasons.  One: political parties are irrelevant on a school board.  Republicans and Democrats want the same thing: the best schools for our kids!  Two: You automatically vote for all 4 candidates, some of whom you don't agree or don't even know.  Three:  See paragraph #1...your vote will be diluted!

2) Spread the word
     The best and cheapest way to win a campaign and enact real change is to tell your family members, neighbors, and friends in the Wilkes-Barre School district about Harry Haas.  While political signs may help, YOU are the best endorsement!  For the more passionate, I have made t-shirts up that you can wear in your daily travels around the valley or on your street.  Check out my facebook page or to place an order.  The company is selling them at cost because I don't want to make a profit; I just want to see the name get out there.

3) Donate time or money
     I never realized how much money had to be spent on a little campaign like school board.  Any donation that you care to send to offset the campaign's debt would be much appreciated.  However, your time investment is even more important to me.  As we near the November 3rd election, I will need volunteers to help go door-to-door.  On election day itself I need volunteers to man the polls to greet and remind voters of Harry Haas.  

Thank you so much for your interest and support.  Please fill out a contact form on the website to get more involved.  With your help we can make Wikes-Barre public schools the best in Luzerne County! 

5 weeks to go till election day

Thank you everyone for your support!  I have been getting very positive feedback from people all over our community.

When I was considering to run for school board last winter, I didn't expect this campaign to be a referendum on a rotting political system, but that is what it has become.  This election won't be won by fancy newspaper ads or big tent political parties or even "vote for me" political signs.  Change will come when you, the concerned voter, spreads the word to your family and friends living in the WB school district.  Please encourage those you know to check out and vote on May 19th!  (and of course, putting out a sign in the yard wouldn't hurt!)


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