Ryan Elijah Returns to INC, Reflects On Experience

By Ryan Elijah

Ryan Elijah Returns to INC, Reflects On Experience

June 18, 2010 Updated Sep 16, 2012 at 2:35 AM EDT

Almost a week has passed since Saturday's Caucus and life is just getting back to normal for most of the candidates. For us, the three-week campaign was a sprint that included interviews with more than a dozen media outlets and countless phone calls to more than 500 precinct committeemen who would ultimately decide the winner.

While visiting all eight counties in the district, we put nearly 2,000 miles on our vehicle, not to mention racking up nearly 1,000 cell phone minutes in a few short weeks. While I personally would have preferred this to have been a regular election involving all voters, the Caucus format was very personal. I had many one-on-one meetings in the living rooms of voters, and also mixed in larger events that allowed us to speak to 40-to-50 people at a time. I enjoyed the sponsored candidate forums the most. We took part in all six of them in various counties. They provided me an opportunity to demonstrate my knowledge of the issues, but also talk with voters individually after the events.

We had a loyal staff of about fifteen-people that rearranged their lives on very short notice. While my wife, Tasha, usually doesn't drive us around, we made an exception for this to allow for phone calls. It was special to have her play such a key role in the campaign and we both enjoyed every second of the experience.

Unlike most campaigns, this one played out largely away from the media. Aside from a few "cheap shots", all of the candidates were very respectful to each other...a big change from a typical political race. We decided early on that we would sell voters on what I have to offer, not by tearing down the other candidates.

It was rewarding to see two statewide publications pick us as one of three with a chance to win Saturday, despite giving us little chance when we announced. While we had hoped for a better finish than 3rd place, we knew such a short campaign would provide a challenge. We felt our polling gave us a good shot if the voting went 4 or 5 ballots. Marlin Stutzman's very strong number on the first ballot really tossed many
strategies out the window. However, I've been extremely encouraged by the feedback from local and state elected officials that have reached out to us since Saturday.

I also didn't expect the campaign to to turn into a weight loss program, but I lost 14 pounds during the three weeks. I wouldn't chalk this up to stress as much as I would not having time to eat.

I thoroughly enjoyed working with media outlets around the district and I'm also very grateful to Indiana's NewsCenter for allowing me to pursue the opportunity to serve the community.

The process allowed me to build strong bonds with many leaders in our surrounding counties, both Republicans and Democrats.

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