By Judy Stahl, M.A., LMT
Do you remember the story of the little engine that could? This blog is a tutorial on the mindset of a Democratic candidate for public office in a district where registered Democrats are vastly outnumbered by Independents and Republicans. That candidate is me. I would not be running if I did not believe that I could win. However, to win my race in this tough district, I will need the support of every Democrat, most Independents, and some Republicans. Is it likely? No! But if I lived my life based on what is likely, that life would be devoid of fun, challenge, commitment, or transformation. In other words, that life would not be mine. Now that you know the challenge, let me tell you why I believe it’s possible for me to win.
For the first time in many years, there will be no incumbent in this race. When I made the decision to run, there were two incumbents in this race. Even knowing that, I was willing to take on this challenge. I believed that I am the best candidate and that I would be the best representative. I still do. Incumbents enjoy a great advantage in running for election. The fact that there will be no incumbent in my race is a significant advantage for me. Instead of the incumbents starting on third base while I am at home plate, the Republicans who survive the primary will start on second base. Yes, given the numbers, they will not even be starting on first base; they will start on second. This open race status bumps up my chances of winning by a couple of percentage points. Still, there is a long hill to climb.
I am the only Democrat who made it onto the official ballot, so I do not have to compete in the primary. This means that no matter what, I will be on the general election ballot and have a chance to win. Conversely, Republicans must wage a primary battle, using time and resources to compete against each other. At the same time, my team is laser-focused on building and strengthening our campaign. Every day, the amazing volunteers and staff of the #StahlForAll campaign spend our time reaching out to folks in LD1 (even with the challenges of campaigning during a global pandemic), getting my name out to the voters, fleshing out my platform, cultivating relationships, and asking for and garnering support. I am the Democratic candidate for Arizona State House of Representatives for Legislative District 1 and proud of it.
The Arizona State House has two seats to be elected for each of our thirty legislative districts. I am in a multi-seat race. In my election this fall, three candidates will make be on the general election ballot. One of those candidates, we already know, is me. Two candidates will ultimately be elected. Here is where the “Single Shot Strategy” comes in. Simply put, Single Shot Strategy means that, as the only Democrat in the race, the clear underdog, you must vote for me and leave your other possible vote blank. If you follow this *perfectly legal strategy* the effect will be that I will be receiving two votes instead of one. It’s called an ‘under-vote’. This will bring us a far sight towards victory. Remember, two candidates will be elected. One will be a Republican. I only need to come in second to win!
Realistically, even a perfectly executed Single Shot Strategy in my multi-seat race will still not be enough for me to win. My team is right now doing the work to make up for any further deficit. Nevertheless, without employing the Single Shot Strategy, I will not win. Simple as that. So, even if you like one of the Republicans on the ballot, here is a fact, if you vote for me AND you vote for that Republican candidate, then I will lose.
It is imperative that I get my message out to all the voters who could decide to vote for me. There are plenty of folks who will not vote for me. Understood. Heck, there are plenty of Republicans in this district who will not even look at the ballot, will not consider, will not even think, and will vote a straight Republican ticket. If they win and I lose, then guess what? We in LD1 will get more of the same. With history as our guide, Republicans will continue to carry on the legacy of failed leadership in Arizona. And in 2022, there will likely be two incumbents in the multi-seat race, making it even more difficult for the ‘same old, same old’ to be defeated. As deeply challenging as this race is, the 2020 election is the best chance we have had in two decades to elect a Democrat to the AZ State House from LD1.
In this multi-seat race, one Republican is assured of winning a seat to the state house in November. Do you think we need two? Or do you think we need a breath of fresh air and balanced representation? If you believe we need change in this district at the Arizona Legislature, if you believe that I am the leader to best represent our shared American values and get something done, then vote for me and only me. Are there enough folks here to help me win? Can we do this hard thing? This blog has not been roses and unicorns. I’m not going to lie. It’s a fine line. It’s a challenging race. It’s going to be close. If you believe in me, help this little engine that could get to the top of the mountain. I believe that together, doing the hard work, we can win.