Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Election

We'd been waiting for this day for months!  Election Day!  Brian had worked so hard and so many hours had been spent meeting people and knocking on doors and listening to concerns and just getting out in the community.  Our kids were so proud too!  They made this sign for their daddy earlier in the week and we hung in on the front door the whole week before the election.
 Brian's ad was in the paper-encouraging votes!
 My ballot had been cast!
 I posted this on my facebook page the morning of the election....

Brian- we voted for you this morning and no matter what the outcome today, you are ALWAYS our the BEST husband, the BEST daddy, and the BEST man we know. Monticello would be lucky to have you on their council and we are lucky to have you in our lives.

We have raised our children to stand up for what they believe in and shown them you must try your hardest and do your very best in whatever you do, even if sometimes you fail. For at least you will have no regrets. No regrets on this one, Brian. All the citizens of Ward IV and all our dear friends and supporters know you have tried your hardest and done all you can. You lead us, and hopefully soon our town, by example and we are honored to be your wife and children.

We love you with all our hearts today and everyday.


Katie, Alaric, and Amara

Then the election night for results.  Brian and I spent the evening at the courthouse, hearts racing and hands trembling.  It was nerve racking.  First results had Bri ahead.  And when the final results were in....we lost.  BY FIVE VOTES!  It was so hard to swallow.  FIVE?  I think it would have hurt less if it had been 100 votes.  With a hundred votes Brian could have walked away saying he tried his best and it didn't work.  He ran, as a Democrat in a Republican town, against the former Chief of Police and lost.  But with 5 votes- it was so close.  It hurt that much more!

And honestly, it would have hurt less if we hadn't have been on the square that night.  If we hadn't have decided to walk across the street and have a beer immediately following the results.  If we hadn't had heard the other guy get his results next door to the bar and begin celebrating.  If we hadn't have had to be in the bar when the other guy and all his posse ( including most of the current city council members and current mayor) came into the bar to celebrate.  If I hadn't had heard their trying to be kind comments and their utterly disgusting portrayals of disrespect and disregard for other candidates and this election.  I paid the tab quickly while my incredibly amazing husband shook hands and gave positive remarks and took it like a man.  Me on the other hand, I was only seconds.  I mean SECONDS away, from saying some inappropriate shit to the other guy and our mayor about kindness and representation and Grace and loyalty.  Fortunately, only the bartender had to hear me and he and Brian both agreed, it was best for us to leave before I opened my mouth.

Here was my facebook post and a few of Brian's over the last few days that tell our feelings best. ...
  From me....
Well, we didn't win. I'm not going to say we lost. We didn't FIVE votes. While the election is over, there are still a few questions to be asked. There are lots of stats to share that show true progress and success with this process and election and that is because of my husband. We'll share those another time. I asked Brian last night, if you don't win, will you be disappointed or devastated? Knowing full well I'll be devastated ( its me we are talking about here, right).

In pure Brian fashion ( a much better person that I'll ever be) he told me that there was no reason to be devastated. Too much to be happy about. Worked too hard and accomplished too much to be devastated.

As we drown our sorrows in beer ( feel free to drop any off on our doorstep, it will be consumed quickly), he's disappointed. I'm devastated. But we move on. With pride in our hearts. Never been more proud of Brian and the things he accomplished in this election. Thanks to all of you for your support! We are forever grateful! Love you all so much!

From Brian...

A great friend sent me this quote in a text message last night. It is not the first time that I have heard it, as my own father has this quote on a plaque in his office, but it truly touched me when I read it last night.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

-Theodore Roosevelt

I have had a day to process all that has transpired during this election, and I have to admit that I am a little disappointed to have lost by such a small margin. However, there is very little I would change about how I approached this campaign, and I am proud of the manner in which it was conducted. I have received dozens of text messages, emails, private messages, and phone calls providing support and encouragement during this difficult time. To each of you who did reach out to me, you have my sincerest appreciation. Thank you!

I have spoken to the County Clerk several times since the announcement of the preliminary results. Colleen has admitted that there were a couple of ballots that had some difficulty being read by the machines, but she feels confident in final numbers. As I read the law (10 ILCS 5/22-9.1 (b)), any request by me for an exploratory recount must be made after the final results are released, and does not necessarily change those results. I feel as though this election has been contentious enough, and I do not think it necessary to provide any more controversy by submitting a petition.

There are a few victories that I can take away from this election. To have finished as close as I did running as a Democrat in a strongly Republican ward, against a Republican that graduated from high school in Monticello, worked as a community leader for 17 years, and is widely known and respected, is a true testament to the campaign that I ran and passion that I displayed for this election. Ward IV had more voters, both in number and percentage, than any other ward in the city. Each of those voters made their voice heard to the city, county, and State on a number of important issues, and they represented Ward IV very well. I believe that the work I, and many others, did on this campaign was a driving force behind getting these people to the polls.

To those individuals who provided advice and encouragement, who distributed flyers, who allowed me to display a sign in your yard, my gratitude knows no bounds! I could not have done it without each and every one of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

This election will not be my last foray into politics, far from it. However, until the next elections, I will remain committed to the community and citizens of Monticello. I will continue to attend the City Council meetings in order to observe and contribute to the discussion of the future of our town. I plan to work with a couple of community organizations in leadership and/or advisory roles. I will also explore more volunteer opportunities in Monticello, and help in whatever way I can to bring Monticello towards a brighter future.

I also plan to spend a lot of time with my family. They committed so much of their own time and effort to my campaign, and provided me with ample time away from them to reach out and speak with as many people as I could. Katie was the finest campaign manager that I could ever have asked for, and the kids contributed in tremendously warm and loving ways. I quite literally could never have done it without their unconditional love and support. Thank you so very much, and as always, I love you all with all of my heart!

That just about wraps it up for this year’s election, but I will finish with a bit of encouragement to all of you. Please get involved with your local politics; it has more to do with your daily life than any other political level. Become educated on the issues facing your communities, and address your representatives accordingly; they are responsible for representing your interests. Finally, I would encourage everyone to actively involve themselves in their communities, whether that is serving in a leadership role, helping out at your schools, or volunteering with an organization. Our communities provide so many wonderful benefits to our lives, it is important that we, as citizens, pay them back.

Brian Fulton

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