Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Mistake

You have no reason to be sorry for me.

There are a lot of things I could have done differently. I will only describe one.

When I re-budgeted my available funds, based on what was donated, which was more than I expected anyway, I and chose to get some billboards, and a media piece for the SL Tribune - I left enough time and money for a 4th flyer.

I spent about $1500 I hadn't planned on to send out some additional Mitt Romney pieces, (trying to respond to poll info I didn't request), but I was able to get SLCO. GOP to fund or reimburse the campaign for that detour.

That still left me enough for my 4th postcard.

When the 5th flyer was proposed to me, I felt it was the wrong thing to do. It smacked of the negative political consultants and their ilk, the dregs of politics, more dangerous than the most feared and powerful lobbyist. I have seen too many races ruined in years gone past, and this year in Salt Lake and Utah Counties, listening to that "dark side".  They will create a problem just to get money for work to solve it. I was lobbied from all sides to run what I believed was a negative piece. I wouldn't budge. That wasn't a mistake.  I feel good about that choice. Even if, as some believe, it cost me the race.

I don't blame anyone for promoting the idea.

To try to deal with this new idea, with the possible funding of a 5th postcard, I delayed working on my education piece.

When I had seen Rep. Fisher's, postcard of a child walking down the road, getting left behind on education, I knew I needed to counteract it. It included the multimillion dollar distortion a few groups have funded for many years about the "essential" problem of per pupil spending and the teacher pupil ratio. I was born and went to public schools in this valley. I know a great teacher with the right tools is more important than class size, fancy buildings, or stuff. But the photo of the child walking down the road alone being left behind would sway too many parents and grandparents. It was a game changer.

My mistake wasn't agreeing to send out the modified positive slick postcard with shading and stars My supporters loved it. They told people about it. I do not, however, believe it was the game changer I needed. That was why no one else wanted to fund it.

My mistake was to use the 7000 household campaign money and mailing list for for this slick piece on leadership with stars and Gov. Herbert - and what I had left in the budget for the 2200 household campaign money and mailing list for my education piece. I should have swapped lists and money, but didn't know how. I felt trapped.

I didn't have any personal funds or credit to use. I couldn't fully fund both, and didn't have the campaign funds remaining. I had used them. When I realized I would not get funding for the 5th postcard if it wasn't negative, but it had now been re-designed to be positive and was ready to go, I felt like I had to pay for it.

I did.

I was left with no time to get more funds. I shortened my education piece mailing list to 2200 active most likely to vote for me but hadn't yet. The pretty stars and Herbert piece went to all the active voters that hadn't voted, including those that had seen the left behind child. I knew at the time that was a mistake, but couldn't figure out what other choice I had. I would not choose the dark side.

My game changing education piece, while not as fancy, clear, or well designed, would not get seen by those that needed to see it. Rep. Fisher would remain in their mind as the one to save the children and I would be seen as someone supporting Mitt and being supported by the republican governor. 

I only ended up needing to help change the mind of about 250 voters of about 9400. That would change the overall difference by 500. I would then win.

I don't know what I will do in the future. I do know if I run again, I won't choose the dark side, and I won't be detoured at the last minute.

I want to thank everyone for all the many hours, help support and ideas. I may not be as "knowledgeable" in politics as some, but I have lived here in this area for almost 25 years and the Salt Lake Valley my whole life. I can choose the good side.

I congratulate Rep. Fisher for sticking to our agreement to stay positive and for apparently and most likely winning. If the number of votes not counted yet but will be released on the 20th ends up being enough to make up the difference, I will gladly serve. That would take a miracle at this point. 

I may not get that miracle. I did get the miracle of serving these last two years and of meeting and working with wonderful people. That I will never lose.

Fred C. Cox
Representing House District 32 until the end of the year.