Unfortunately, I lost a court battle, one week ago Thursday, with the Board of Elections.
I won't be on the ballot in November, for US Congress
I am writing this after a week of reflection. One on hand, I’m happy to step back and plan for the future, with my lessons learned, and the bigger team and network of progressives, radicals, and peace-makers that I now enjoy.
But I’ve been dragging my heels in sending this, and have been mustering up the grace to be gracious in defeat. So here’s what happened:
There was a time in early August when it was just me running the campaign. After all, it was a heady time, we had filed 5,500 signatures on July 31, and that was 2,000 more signatures than required. I felt like we as a campaign had pulled together, raised the money, and done a great job petitioning for ballot access.
But on August 7, Board of Elections sent me a letter in the US Mail. They gave me “three business days” to respond and I didn't even see this letter until Aug. 13. I argued in court that "three business days" is a very short time to respond. Their letter was a request to correct something on the "cover sheet" of my petitions. It seems like a minor matter, but the judge agreed with them. My attempt to correct it was one day late.
So, it was me solo in court, on Aug. 30, versus three big lawyers from the Board of Elections. It felt like a big force out there really didn't want me on the ballot. They came off like a Kafka-esque NYC agency that cared more about procedures and rules than the spirit of the law. (BOE comically refused to ever detail what their problem was with my cover sheet.)
But I also have to take responsibility for not finding the notice in the time allotted.
There were such invaluable lessons and experiences, in this year and two months of running for US Congress. My eyes now are on 2020. To really do this right next time, I have to raise more money, have a bigger campaign staff, and that includes hiring a real election attorney. Those are the hard lessons won, this year.
Thanks for everything you have done for my campaign. We had such a great team of volunteers and part-time and full-time staff. I especially wanted to say thanks to Michael Pastko, Dean Patterson, Robert Kennedy, Phylisa Mason, Ann Hendricks, Deb Lee, Eric Rassi, Rene Rosignoli, and TJ Adorno. I’m really grateful to a bunch of older progressives who gave me such great wise advice: Arthur Schwartz, Steve Brown, Victor Tiffany, and Keith Mundy. Thank you past campaign staff management: Greg Litzenberg, Joy Cooney, and Yoko Ono McCullock. Thanks to Nick Ramirez for helping me set up a national speaking tour, and then driving with me through blizzard and mountains. Special thank you to our financial supporters, and my parents, Norman and Ann Marie Hicks. And thank you Jamie, my girlfriend and close advisor. Thank you for believing in me, both in the short term and the long term. Thank you for taking a stand for peace, nonviolence, democratic economics, and something so crazy as a mash-up of love and politics. Even if we are going to take a break, for now, we will come back and run again, for this position, in the future.
My vision is still the same as it ever was: Peace, Love, and Economics for the People. There’s a huge movement out there. I was out in the beat-up, hi-rise housing projects of Bed-Stuy last night, canvassing for State Senate candidate Julia Salazar. I was canvassing with the DSA, a democratic socialist organization that now has 50,000 members. We in the DSA are sending our first candidate to the US Congress next year, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Change is in the air, and the Spirit is a Movin’! (P.S. - Salazar later won, too. She is now my State Senator.)
I'm excited to re-launch my newspaper and news website project, The New York Megaphone. I am taking a lot of tools and team members from the campaign and we are going to blast our message out, and raise the bar. The campaign continues, even if the it takes a different form, for a while. Check out: www.newyorkmegaphone.com