Since I was 14, I’ve had a dream of being in politics. Well, I got my chance at 30. I ran and won a seat on the Leelanau County Board of Commissioners. Being a commissioner was without question, the toughest thing I have ever done. I should have just done one term and gotten back to focusing on Cherry Republic, but, I let my ego get the best of me and I ran again.
The day after I handed in my nominating petitions for re-election, I realized I was in a real heated race. I got pushed off the ballot over an embarrassing technicality on my nominating petitions and had to run as a write in. There were some powerful people working hard to ensure that I lost. I kept a good sense of humor and positive attitude all through the campaign and even today. Losing, and losing the way I did, was the best thing that could have happened to me.
Here’s a few fun stories of my lost candidacy:
I remember driving by the home of a man that went to church with my opponent. He was out in his front yard. He was fiddling with something. I was driving slow and easy and trying to figure out what he was doing. Then he recognized me and he raises his friends yard sign triumphantly over his head with all the gusto of the men of Iwo Jima. I was driving by exactly when he was pushing the political sign of my opponent into the ground.
Another time, I went campaigning on Bohemian Road. I knocked at the door of an old farmer. “Hi Mr. (name withheld), my name is Bob Sutherland. I am running for another term of County Commissioner,” “What?” he said incredulously. “Get out of here, you ^&%# tax and spend County Commissioner. #%^#@ spend my money. %@#$^ I ought to lock you in my pigpen right now and save myself a bucketload of taxes.”
I was back in my car and down the road in a flash.