What Should An E-Mail Look Like From A Candidate Who Didn't Win?

Five of the incoming Democratic freshmen won after running in 2018. Marie Newman (IL), Cori Bush (MO), Carolyn Bordeaux (GA), Kathy Manning (NC), and Sara Jacobs (CA) used what they learned in 2018 to run again and win in 2020. But after a grueling and often thankless campaign, many candidates just disappear after they lose. Some don't even do more than one last mass mailing to their e-mail list with a perfunctory "thanks" and asking for more money so they can pay off their campaign debt. I want to share an e-mail with you today that Mike Siegel-- a 2018 and 2020 candidate is a gerrymandered Republican district in central Texas. Mike did well-- 45.3% of the vote to the entrenched incumbent's 52.5%. And with no help from a DCCC who didn't like Mike's unwavering progressive stands on issues. The DCCC and Pelosi's SuperPAC spent exactly zero on Mike's race and poured $7.3 million in independent expenditures into the TX-22 race, where worthless Blue Dog Sri Kulkarni was running for an open seat. So... zero for Mike and $7.3 million for Kulkarni and here are the results:

  • Mike Siegel- 187,686 votes (45.3%)

  • Sri Kulkarni- 181,998 votes (44.6%)

What if the DCCC had split that $7.3 million between Mike and Kulkarni? We'll never know.

Today, Mike's e-mail was a perfect example of the kind of communication I expect from solid candidates like himself. I have no idea if he plans torun for office again; I suspect his wife would have a lot to say about that. But that doesn't mean he's going to disappear or stop working to bring Texas back to long-lost progressive roots. This is what comes from a class act:

Dear friends,

I spent three years running for Congress across the Texas 10th. Alongside so many of you, I put forward a tremendous effort, to share our vision for a more progressive future, to build alliances across long-forgotten communities, and to challenge the corruption and prejudice of the existing power structure.

The work was exhausting but fruitful.

As you might imagine, I’ve spent the last few weeks since Election Day recovering, spending time with family, cleaning up my house and office and thinking a bit about what comes next.

First and foremost, I want to share with you my love and gratitude. Even though we did not win this race, I’m filled with a sense of hope and optimism because of what we’ve accomplished.

It starts with friendships. I met so many wonderful people across this district, and our staff and volunteers did the same. These relationships will continue to mature in wonderful ways.

It continues with the ideas we introduced and the conversations we advanced. On climate change and voting rights, healthcare and jobs. Discussing what real representation looks like-- and how we fight for it.

We activated individuals and organizations in rural, suburban and urban communities. We wove together a network of unions and environmentalists, youth and activists, faith-based organizations and progressive institutions.

And we left the impression that even though this has been a “Republican district,” the future is uncertain, and if we continue to do this work, democratic values can prevail.

And thanks to some of our powerful victories on November 3, the work can begin right now.

Wresting control of the White House from Donald Trump was essential. On many fronts-- democracy, climate, jobs, health-- we now have a real opportunity to accomplish good for our country and the world.

In local campaigns here in Texas, Democrats and progressives won big. I’m most encouraged by the victory of José Garza for Travis County District Attorney. José ran on a platform of major criminal justice reform. He promised to stop prosecuting petty drug crimes that disproportionately result in the incarceration of Black and Latinx families. He is committed to holding police accountable for misconduct and re-envisioning how a prosecuting attorney advances public safety. You will be hearing a lot more about DA Garza. We know the Texas GOP will be trying to sabotage meaningful reform, and it will be up to all of us to support his work.

Of course, in Congressional races like mine, and in many Texas House races, Democrats did not succeed, and we need to understand why. I’ll be actively participating in these discussions. Texas can play a major role in developing a more just society in the years ahead, and we cannot afford to draw the wrong lessons from our defeats.

I’m working on a longer essay that I’ll share soon, but here’s my takeaway: for as close as we felt in 2018 and in 2020, believing that Democrats could “turn Texas blue,” a lot of work remains to be done. Electoral campaigns are not suited for this necessary work, however, because we are not talking about “persuading” existing voters. Instead, we need to make politics relevant for many of the people who don’t vote. Reaching these communities is essential for the future of our state, nation and planet. Without them, the status quo will prevail, to our collective peril.

On topics like this, you will see a few more messages from me as we wrap up 2020. I understand that some of you were just here for the election, and I take no offense if you unsubscribe. But because of the generous support of donors, we have built a campaign apparatus, including this email list, that I can continue to use at least until the end of the year. And there is important work to come.

Thank you for being with me on this journey.

With love and respect,