To Run or Not To Run
After I ran for City Council in 2021, my daughter asked me to take a break from trying to get elected, and I promised her that I would. This was because I had – at that point – run for office every other year since 2015. She was exhausted with not getting the time to spend with me as I went door to door and attended candidate events. Honestly, I was very sympathetic to her and her brother’s concerns. After all, while no one in my family had ever run for office, I know what it is like to miss your parent because they are gone a lot. There was nothing unreasonable about her request. She just wanted more time with me.
Then came the election last year and the absence of a Democrat running for State Representative in my district: Ohio 68. I was appalled that a candidate who I perceived to be very extreme on the rightwing was seemingly being permitted to just skate away with a seat in Columbus devoid of opposition after he won the Republican primary. It took me a week or so to ponder whether I wanted to offer the people an alternative as a write-in candidate, because I didn’t want to break my promise to my daughter. So, I decided that I would run, but I wouldn’t do any major campaigning. I would - instead – primarily campaign via internet ads. This wouldn’t require me to spend anywhere near as much time away from my kids, since they would be home with me throughout most of the campaign.
Shortly after announcing this past September, I was contacted by a number of good friends who wanted to help me in my endeavor. One of whom, Sally Gartner, volunteered as my campaign manager (and a damn good one, at that) despite not having any experience managing a campaign outside of our effort back in 2016 to pass an initiative in Newark. Sally helped raise significant funds for our campaign; far more than I had ever raised before. She managed to get us radio ads on three different stations (making our campaign the first ever write-in campaign to secure ads with WNKO), t-shirts, yard signs, car magnets, and pushed me to get a billboard. I can’t say enough great things about Sally and the legitimate hard work she put in to trying to get me elected.
I also had help from another very reliable good friend of mine: the buttonman and the politically-astute podcaster, Garry Goldsmith. Garry helped me in every way that he could at the time, including putting one of my car magnets on his car, and fashioning some great buttons! Garry is someone whose counsel I greatly appreciate. He’s a brother to me, and I cherish his friendship.
I would be remiss to not mention a few other friends: Jen Kanagy (my perennial partner in crime), Ed Albertson, Mike Smith, and Virginia Terry. I’ve known each of them for a while now, and I absolutely love each of them. They did what they could to help with this most recent campaign, and I will never forget any of their contributions. There are more names – including an honorable mention to the Licking County Democratic Club -, and I really don’t want to miss any of them, but in lieu of mentioning each of them, I just want to convey how much your support meant to me. I love you all!
So, am I typing this up as some kind of postmortem of my campaign from last year? No, because as much as I enjoyed the journey of last year’s surprise campaign, I am now faced with a new challenge, and we have to keep moving forward.
Earlier this month, it was reported that only one Democrat filed to run for office in Newark for the local election this coming year. They are choosing to run for City Council At-Large, and I wish them the best of luck. Meanwhile, there is an entire array of seats remaining unchallenged. There are a total of three Council At-Large seats up for grabs, the Law Director, the City Auditor, and the Council President all up for grabs with only Republicans vying for the offices, save for Mr. Cost running as a Democrat in the aforementioned Council Race.
Most alarming to me is the fact that our three-term Mayor, Jeff Hall, is running unopposed. If he wins in November, he will make history as Newark’s first ever four-term Mayor, and he may well do that WITHOUT anyone opposing him. How can anyone think that this is acceptable? Especially since there is so much that is not being addressed by the current status quo running the City. How can we have accountability if the people aren’t given a choice?
Last year, I made the decision to run as a write-in candidate as a sneaky way of not entirely breaking my promise to my kids. This year, I took the question of whether I should run for office again directly to them. My ex-wife chimed in as I addressed this question to them when I picked them up from her house, and she expressed that I should do it. Following her lead, my daughter echoed her mom’s sentiments, saying “I think you should do it” with a supportive smile on her face. To be honest, I wouldn’t have run this year without hearing this endorsement from my child.
There is too much at stake to let this moment pass without us forcing a conversation on the many things that need to be addressed here in Newark. We have a rising cost of living (and the Intel project will only make this worse), we still see lackluster jobs available in the City, public transportation is effectively nonexistent, our safety forces are pleading for help, there is a plague by way of the national drug epidemic which is badly impacting our citizens, slumlords still get away scot-free with their abuses, we are seeing nothing offered to help curb the rise of homelessness, and the list goes on.
The people of Newark have seen what 11 years of failed leadership has brought us. Sure, the Square looks pretty, and there are a lot of neat upgrades to how certain parts of the City looks, but what has this Mayor, this City power structure done to improve YOUR life? Do you feel that Newark is better off than it was 11 years ago? Do you feel like you, your family, and your neighbors are a priority under this Administration?
I’m not saying that Mayor Jeff Hall is a bad person or that he doesn’t love Newark. What I am saying, though, is that the vision he has had for Newark is not working and that it is long past time for a change. I know that I have not held elective office before, and that I have run numerous times before to no avail, but what I hope you will recognize is that I am not a person who gives up easily; especially as far as the people of Newark are concerned. I remember what it was like when Newark functioned like a place for everybody to thrive in. Together, it is my ambition to not only revive that spirit, but to go further and make Newark greater than it has ever been.
As my numerous campaigns should prove: I am NOT afraid to lose fighting for what I believe in. Not only that, but I am resolved to do everything I can to win this election, and to see to it that Newark keeps on winning as we build a future for all of us. Before the filing deadline tomorrow, I will file as a write-in candidate for the Democratic Nomination for this office; coming back home to the party that I long felt proud of which to be a member.
My name is Daniel Crawford, and I am formally announcing my campaign to be your next Mayor of the City of Newark, Ohio!