In 2015 there were 1,792 candidates, only 338 went to Ottawa. There are no official numbers for the federal election in 2019, but we can assume there are more in the last election because there were 4 parties that ran a full slate of 338 candidates last fall. I can safely say that over 2000 people ran for a party or independently last election.
Based on my estimate, there are now 1,662 Candidates of Record (CoR), each of them will keep that title until the next election. Most of the CoR come from registered parties and for these people, congratulations, you are now a Candidate of Record. With that title comes responsibility.
This week CBC Toronto posted a tweet in response to former GTA Conservative candidate Bobby Singh jumping into the Conservative Leadership race. In the tweet the CBC called Singh a failed Conservative candidate. I ran twice, unsuccessfully in the 2011 and 2014 provincial elections, the elections were amazing experiences. In the eyes of @CBCToronto I am a two-time failure. Do I feel like that? No, far from it!
In the 8 years between the 2011 and 2018 election where I was the CoR I attended party conferences, worked locally and continued to have great conversations with not only the winning MPP, but other candidates and voters in the riding.
As the CoR it’s important that you maintain ‘election’ mode as you finish up your responsibility as the candidate. That includes financials of the campaign; making sure all invoices are paid and that your CFO completes and the files of your campaign return to Elections Canada. It’s important that you follow up and watch this closely to protect your reputation as a candidate and that of the riding association. The more you and your team do, the less the party has to get involved.
As CoR there are a few responsibilities you have, especially if you plan to seek the nomination and run in the next election. As the CoR the local riding association will need your help to keep the association active. This includes fundraising, being active on the association Board of Directors. If you want to ensure you have a better shot at being the candidate the next time around, you should bring some of your campaign team onto the Board. Having friends there will be helpful to continue the work you were doing as the candidate.
The next election may come sooner rather than later; it would be a benefit for you to keep your campaign team engaged between elections. Staying involved locally also helps as you will need signatures for your nomination, keeping supporters engaged is a plus for the association, the party and YOU. Showing that you have continued to build your support in the riding will be noticed by the party regional organizers (RO).
Finally, as in the situation of the Conservative Party of Canada, you will be asked for your opinion about a leadership race, the declared and presumed candidates that has come from election results. The CoR may also be asked for their thoughts to the local media. If you are asked, you might want to notify the RO. There will come a time in the leadership race that you’ll be courted and asked to support and publicly endorse a candidate.
If you consider all that you gain as the candidate NOT going to Ottawa, it will still be an honour to represent your local supporters and to continue to work for the party causes. It may not be the win you were fighting for, but I can say, as a two-time CoR, it’s still enjoyable and beneficial and will continue to fulfill your desire for public service.
I have kept friendships many of the people I met through my two campaigns, it’s my hope for you that you will also have joy of knowing so many people through the amazing experience you just finished,
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