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One that should have won, but didn't.
November 4, 2008 10:20 PM   Subscribe

Perhaps lost in the well-deserved joy of Barack Obama's victory is the race for the Kansas House of Representatives, district 15.

(Previously).

Sadly, Sean Tevis lost to Arlen H. Siegfreid by 4 points (a little over 400 votes). Despite an XKCD-inspired and interweb-fueled campaign, change didn't make it to that particular part of Kansas. Sean, I hope that you're not completely put off politics and are willing to try again. I found your effort to be refreshing and inspiring. Congratulations on what you've accomplished.
posted by scblackman (51 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sean, I really appreciated your campaign up here in Nevada. I respect you for taking on the challenge that you did.

Life is nothing without perseverance.

Having never met you, but judging by the internet company (and style) you keep, I wish you well in your future ambitions.
posted by clearly at 10:40 PM on November 4, 2008


My candidate for Illinois State Senate lost too, only difference is, he isn't a mefi member. Me no like post. Still, nice try for Sean.
posted by IvoShandor at 11:03 PM on November 4, 2008


Sean, you gave a lot of us outside of Kansas a good dose of hope. Thank you for your run.
posted by Shutter at 11:09 PM on November 4, 2008


A 400-vote differential is still quite a triumph. Congrats, Sean, get 'em next time.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:09 PM on November 4, 2008


I live in Tevis' district in Olathe, Kansas, and in the last week or so, Siegfreid (and the Kansas Republican Party) sent out a large number of the usual sort of hate-mongering, liberal-baiting direct mailers that you get dozens of in the last stretch of election season. His arguments against Tevis can be summarized like so:

1. Tevis was smart enough to raise tons of money through a clever campaign. Because these donors are not from Olathe, they're obviously all America-hating liberals.
2. Tevis has pictures of himself enjoying his life, friends and family on the "internet".

Seriously - there was a mailer with some photos of Tevis goofing off I assume were grabbed off of Facebook or the like with the captions "Actual Photo of Sean Tevis" - as if this old bloated shitbag couldn't imagine that some upstart kid challenging him would have the gall to, you know, fully express his inner dork.

To Sean's credit, his campaign communications were concise, friendly, optimistic and very well-done. In retrospect, perhaps he should have taken some cheap digs at Seigfreid to try to those extra 400 votes, but at least he can say he took the high road.

So, Sean - chin up, please run again in a couple of years, good luck with your new baby; and if I run into you around town, I'll be sure to buy you a drink (after identifying myself with the Secret Metafilter Handshake).
posted by phong3d at 11:10 PM on November 4, 2008 [5 favorites]


On the other hand, that horrible Elizabeth "My Candidate Isn't Christian" Dole was royally flushed down the sewer. May that be the start of a trend of getting rid of the shitheads.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:11 PM on November 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


nooo, the really exciting overlooked race was in minnesota's 6th district because michele bachmann got soundly defeated.
posted by krautland at 11:16 PM on November 4, 2008


krautland, sadly you are wrong. Bachmann won by about 13,000 votes.
posted by hariya at 11:36 PM on November 4, 2008


Franken and Coleman are still pretty close with Colman about 0.2% ahead, but some strong Franken areas still being counted.

Darcy Burner is ahead by 6% with 12% of the votes counted.

Not that I can find a link to either of these that isn't a bloody flash interface.

Oh, and Missouri's official language is now English. No word yet on what we're going to call the state from now on. I'm guessing Jay Nixon will be the Thane come his swearing in.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:43 PM on November 4, 2008 [6 favorites]


I was hoping Sean could pull it out. I gave some money to the campaign when it first launched (got a nice tshirt) and revisited a couple weeks ago and gave enough to sponsor a postcard mailing to every registered voter in the district (I think it was $100 which seemed like a bargain).

I was a wee bit bummed I didn't get a thank you note or picture of what the mailer looked like (I don't even know if they sent one based on it), but I'm still glad I gave.

I know in small time races, they're usually all about the ground game, but I was surprised that the blog and twitter account seemed to be barely used. There was like one post a month since the summer and only a handful of twitter posts in the last couple months. I guess it doesn't really help among constituents, but as an outsider interested in seeing a nerd triumph over an old guy, I felt like I would have been more invested and returned to visit (and give more money) if I felt like I could keep up with daily updates on how things were going.
posted by mathowie at 11:53 PM on November 4, 2008 [4 favorites]


Make that two MeFites who voted for Tevis. I'm living in Olathe and saw his name, and was like "OMG, I'm voting for a metafilter user, how meta" (three mefi members in Olathe? How can it be?)

I was really bummed that this one didn't go through. I never saw the mailers (fortunatly).
posted by hellojed at 12:05 AM on November 5, 2008


I wish I had had the opportunity to vote for you, Sean, but I live in Oklahoma. =(

Please try again next time, though! You were so close!
posted by aliceinreality at 12:08 AM on November 5, 2008


krautland, sadly you are wrong. Bachmann won by about 13,000 votes.

damn. matthews mislead me?
posted by krautland at 1:05 AM on November 5, 2008


On the other hand, that horrible Elizabeth "My Candidate Isn't Christian" Dole was royally flushed down the sewer.

True, although she was flushed in part because the claim was a lie. She should have been flushed because the claim was irrelevant.
posted by DU at 4:10 AM on November 5, 2008 [7 favorites]


I was surprised that the blog and twitter account seemed to be barely used.

Honestly, I'm not at all. The infrastructure in middle America, particularly the information infrastructure is abysmal compared to where we, the wealthiest and arguably most technologically advanced nation should be. A platform based on rebuilding our infrastructure should be Obama and everyone else's main focus for the next eight years. Better infrastructure means better education, better health and healthcare, less dependance on foreign oil, less energy use period, more jobs, better jobs, more and better skilled jobs, all of the above for future generations, etc., etc... You get broadband to every home in America and even rural Kansas will be using blog and twitter accounts more and be better for it!

I'm sorry Sean, well fought and get back in there!
posted by Pollomacho at 4:45 AM on November 5, 2008


I direct a PAC in Kansas and its safe to say that the Obama "Change" tidal wave did not wash over Kansas. Sean's race is like almost every other Kansas legislature race in that the incumbent held on. My late night analysis showed virtually no change in the KS Senate, and a democratic gain of only 1 seat in the house. No idea if my math still holds.

Last night we celebrated Obama.. Today we dig the trenches a little deeper and begin the long push to the 2010 state elections. Let's encourage Sean to give it another go.
posted by jlowen at 5:03 AM on November 5, 2008


What's still The Matter With Kansas?
posted by Rykey at 5:56 AM on November 5, 2008


Oh, and Missouri's official language is now English. No word yet on what we're going to call the state from now on.
I believe the standard Anglicization is "Misery."
posted by nicepersonality at 6:15 AM on November 5, 2008 [11 favorites]


Sean - my dad lost to an incumbent the first time he ran. The years until the next election were long ones for him, I know, but they were also ones of expectation. He had started something that he intended on finishing.

Don't let this be the day you gave up. Stick to your guns and wait for your next chance expectantly and pro-actively.

I still remember the morning after the second election dad ran in. I was about 13. I woke up early for school and took the dogs outside, normal morning routine. We lived out in the country on about a 6 acre plot so we had fences on the property to keep the various animals in. On the front gate of our driveway, facing our house, a bunch of dad's campaign workers had drunkenly hung a billboard-sized poster of the incumbent that my dad had taken out of office.

It was a day worth waiting for, for a lot of people.
posted by allkindsoftime at 6:37 AM on November 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


I'm going to Kansas today and I'm really curious to talk to local librarians about what their impression of a lot of the local races was.
posted by jessamyn at 6:48 AM on November 5, 2008


Sean, hard luck, but great work - you outperformed Obama by five points. That's not bad going. You've built a solid foundation - take a second shot at it next time round (and, yeah, update your blog more often...)
posted by flashboy at 6:55 AM on November 5, 2008


Sean, please run again the next time around. We'll try again.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:01 AM on November 5, 2008


Ahh so glad that Bachmann is gone. I would have Turned the campaign into Overdrive to get rid of that ass-hat.
posted by Mister_A at 7:22 AM on November 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


Hi all

I'm still recovering from all of this, but I wanted to give you all a (much deserved) update. There has been much to post about. I've never worked so hard and so long for anything before in my life.

Since late July it's been 12-14 hour days, every day. I hosted seven town hall meeetings (seven more than my opponent has done in six years). I knocked on over 2,400 doors in three months and talked to people. I spoke at three nursing homes, five chamber of commerce meetings, two VFW halls, two Optimist and 1 Elks club meetings, and others.

As Matt Haughey pointed out, it would have been really cool to post about all the strange things that candidates need to do to run a race, but ultimately I didn't because of two things: 1) there is a rabid opposition that checked my site multiple times a day looking for clues as to what I was doing, and 2) I needed to spend my time campaigning.

Convincing people who have never voted for a Democrat in their lives isn't easy, but I did it. It might take three or visits to their house or listening on the phone to them for an hour to talk about their child custody battles, their mother's medical ailments and healthcare plans, and hundreds more things.

It's not a digital lifestyle community. Blogging is as strange to most of these people as talking about bow hunting or NASCAR standings might be to many MeFi members.

Some of my hard work vaporized in the last three days because of dirty tricks.

On Monday a woman I had worked hard to win over called me to say that she wasn't voting for me because I had called her house 12 times that day and it kept waking up her baby. I ran over to her house and was told that there was automated "robocall" that said it was from me that would call her house every 15 minutes. I tried to find a return phone number on caller ID, but it was unlisted. I can't prove who it was from, but many people got this harrassment they thought was from me. It made me sick to my stomach.

The direct mail with goofy photos of me from Facebook and Flickr I thought were absurd, but I imagine that a 67-year-old couple who live on a farm and don't use online photo sites don't understand where these come from.

I'm still regrouping from all of this. Thank you to everyone.
posted by stevis at 7:27 AM on November 5, 2008 [118 favorites]


Sorry to hear about this defeat. It was a fairly mixed election in Kansas; on-balance, I think it swung a little further to the conservative end. We sent Dennis Moore back to the US House, but he's pretty much a Democrat in name only. Also, Lynn Jenkins took Nancy Boyda's US House seat, and Jim Slattery got blown out of the water by Pat Roberts. Bleh.

But, Lawrence voted to keep its transit system. Also, Democrats won three out of five State Board of Education races, so I think Kansas will still be teaching evolution next year. (Could be wrong though; I'm not sure of the make-up of the seats that weren't up this year.) It seems absurd to celebrate the SBOE thing, but small victories, I suppose.
posted by cog_nate at 7:33 AM on November 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


On Monday a woman I had worked hard to win over called me to say that she wasn't voting for me because I had called her house 12 times that day and it kept waking up her baby. I ran over to her house and was told that there was automated "robocall" that said it was from me that would call her house every 15 minutes. I tried to find a return phone number on caller ID, but it was unlisted. I can't prove who it was from, but many people got this harrassment they thought was from me. It made me sick to my stomach.

Stevis, please contact Talkingpointsmemo.com with this info as they're very interested in collecting evidence and exposing GOP dirty-trick ops like the robocalling. Sorry you didn't win and I hope you try again.
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:34 AM on November 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


That really sucks, Sean. My condolences.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:46 AM on November 5, 2008


there was automated "robocall" that said it was from me that would call her house every 15 minutes. I tried to find a return phone number on caller ID, but it was unlisted. I can't prove who it was from, but many people got this harrassment they thought was from me. It made me sick to my stomach.

Ugh, I'm so sorry to hear this. A similar thing happened to a friend that ran for a state rep seat in Oregon. Robocalls and push-polling in the last two days opposing him and misrepresenting his views. He did some digging and found out it was done by a friend of his opponent, but there was no business connection between the two, so he couldn't prove the opponent paid/directed/initiated the calling.

Use it in the next race against him -- it's the dirtiest of political tricks he used against you.
posted by mathowie at 7:49 AM on November 5, 2008


Sean, for what it's worth, I am so proud of what you did. I know that the loss is painful, especially because of dirty tricks that exploited harassing technology that you would never use. But you had a mountain in front of you, and you did a tremendous job with it. I do hope you'll try again next time.

I am sorry for your loss, and, again, for what it's worth, I couldn't be more proud of you.
posted by Alt F4 at 7:52 AM on November 5, 2008


Sean - sorry to hear about the loss - hope I wasn't in any of those photos your opponent circulated :)
posted by offtheroad at 7:55 AM on November 5, 2008


Use it in the next race against him -- it's the dirtiest of political tricks he used against you.

Yes, please do. If the tone improves in this country, as I expect it may very well, that could be a deciding factor in people's votes next time.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:04 AM on November 5, 2008


I was sorry to hear about your loss Sean, but you did come close, which has to seem like some progress. Count me as another MeFite who hopes you run again. Please let us know how we can help.

and robocalls totally suck!
posted by DiscourseMarker at 8:22 AM on November 5, 2008


Another race to keep watching: Merkley, Smith nearly tied in Ore. Senate race
posted by wastelands at 8:29 AM on November 5, 2008


Way to go, Sean. It's too bad about the election, but I was definitely following it closely and you did yourself good. Unseating an incumbent is tough. You should feel good.
posted by lunit at 8:49 AM on November 5, 2008


You deserve congratulations for such a hard-fought race and for doing so well - I was rooting for you too and while it's disappointing not to win, you did amazingly well and proved that you could challenge an incumbent with little more resources than hard work and grit. Please run again, you've got a solid foundation to build upon!
posted by ukdanae at 9:05 AM on November 5, 2008


Sean, I am so sorry you lost! You clearly fought a hard race and to come as close as you did is an amazing achievement. This is not the end of your political career -- it's only the beginning. You'll root the bastards out next time.
posted by sugarfish at 9:23 AM on November 5, 2008


I think you deserve congratulations - to take the race against an incumbant in the favoured party to something like 48-52 is a great job, well done.
posted by jb at 10:19 AM on November 5, 2008


Congratulations on a race well run Sean. You did amazingly well considering you are one of those funny "computer people", not an octeganarian, not an incumbent. and not Republican.

Please consider helping out with electoral reform (banning defamatory robocalls, perhaps?) in the next four years now that you've seen the inside of the sausage factory. Your insight would be invaluable in helping to de-polarize the electorate.
posted by benzenedream at 11:10 AM on November 5, 2008


Congratulations from the Big Apple. Your web site is awesome. If nothing else, maybe you can consult and teach politicians how to create GOOD ones.
posted by micawber at 12:34 PM on November 5, 2008


Sean, I'll donate twice as much to your next campaign. Don't give up!
posted by buriednexttoyou at 1:12 PM on November 5, 2008


Nice showing, though, Sean! Count me in the camp of people who hope that you don't give up and try again next time. People like you are the future of this country - young people who dare to challenge "the way things have always been", even if it's hard. Best of luck in the future. Don't forget to hit us all up for donations again next time!
posted by gemmy at 5:42 PM on November 5, 2008


Definitely run again, make this guy work for his seat. Every minute you hold his ass to the fire is a minute you're still talking to voters, getting your message out and making them more comfortable with who you are and what you (and your Internet Friends) represent.

Hopefully we can get some more national expertise in addition to national money in your and other districts. I don't know what the counterattack to robocalls and dirty tricks is but someone must.

Stay fired up!
posted by Skorgu at 5:51 PM on November 5, 2008


Sean, I'm sorry for your loss. Congratulations though on an impressive result nonetheless.
Don't lose your hope, stay fired up, and if you can, expose the robots!
posted by lodev at 3:53 AM on November 6, 2008


Sean, congratulations on your efforts and tenacity. So you you've been bloodied a bit in this race and have learnt that it's a hard, dirty game and that the opposition will pull all kinds of stunts to keep you down. This means they are afraid of you so you must be doing something right. I hope you are not defeated by this and treat it as a learning curve and I also hope that others within your organisation recognise what you have done and reward you for it.
posted by adamvasco at 4:47 AM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Please please please run again. I'm in Maryland but I will absolutely donate again when you run!
posted by mincus at 6:23 AM on November 6, 2008


I'll donate for another run.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:19 AM on November 6, 2008


Some crimes are disproportionately punished because society has an inordinate interest in ensuring that those actions don't take place.

"Dirty tricks" in elections should be considered something akin almost to treason. It is, after all, an intentional subversion of the democratic process. Instead, of course, we treat them almost like garden variety white collar crime.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:53 PM on November 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Fake robocalls of that sort would (probably) be considered "fraudulent misrepresentation of campaign" if they occurred in a campaign for federal office. It's illegal and comes with heavy penalties. State law, I don't know. It would be worth asking the Kansas AG's office, they might be interested.
posted by shadow vector at 7:56 PM on November 6, 2008


Next time pre-announce that your campaign will not be using robo-calling and will not be "bothering" the electoriate with mailings in the days prior to the election. If you publicize that enough, it may prevent the other side from being able to use those tactics with anyone.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:32 AM on November 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Next time pre-announce that your campaign will not be using robo-calling and will not be "bothering" the electoriate with mailings in the days prior to the election. If you publicize that enough, it may prevent the other side from being able to use those tactics with anyone.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:32 AM on November 7 [1 favorite +] [!]


That's a good idea - get it out constantly that the campaign won't use robo-calling (which is a terrible practice anyways, and I can't imagine it ever gets support) - and that any robocalls claiming to be from the campaign are from the opponent. I would vote against robocalling anyways - fake robocalling would make me want to fake register to vote twice against it!

(I constantly get robocalls from car insurance places - I don't know how to drive. And somewhere, there is a parent who is not getting any of the announcements from their child's school, because they keep robocalling us - we have no children. We care about schools, so we want them to get the right number, but we can't even tell them they have the wrong number because it's a &^%£ robot.

Robots are just waiting - to rise up and kill us all.)
posted by jb at 12:23 PM on November 8, 2008


All robocalling.... whether dirty tricks or not, political or marketing, republican or democrat, regarding timeshares or credit cards... ALL of it... should be illegal.

It's bad enough when we're forced to speak to recordings. There's no sane reason we should allow recordings to phone us.
posted by rokusan at 8:50 AM on November 12, 2008


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