How to Win: The Path to Victory for An Independent Candidate

The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense. – Thomas Edison

To win a political race, it’s not enough to be right about the issues. You’ve got to be able to mobilize a coalition of people who will support you. Without that, you’re just another person with good ideas.

As we move into May of election year, our hard work is paying real dividends in my independent race for Governor of Massachusetts.

On April 2, I was honored to announce that a noted and highly experienced planner and land use policy adviser to cities and towns, Angus Jennings, had agreed to join the ticket as my running mate. Angus has a strong track record as a leader in cities and towns across the Commonwealth, on the front lines of economic development. Attracting a person of Angus’ caliber to serve as lieutenant governor says so much about how meaningful this independent campaign is becoming.

As we look ahead over the remaining six months leading up to the election on November 4, 2014, we are focused on three big “wins.”

The first win is to get on the ballot. It’s not a simple process, but the most important part is getting enough signatures from registered voters to qualify. In the first two weeks alone – and using no paid signature-gathering firms the way so many candidates do – we had already collected more than half of the 10,000 signatures we need. By the time we submit our signatures, we will have collected over 20,000. We will achieve this first win. The independent Falchuk-Jennings ticket will be on the ballot in November 2014.

The second win is to have the United Independent Party earn status as an official “party” alongside the Democratic and Republican parties in Massachusetts. Under state law, once an organization gets more than 3 percent of the vote in a statewide race, it becomes recognized as an official party. The most recent poll in this race came out in the last days of April, and it showed, at this very early date, that we already are ahead of that.

The third win is, of course, to win the election itself in November. The road to this historic victory is built through extraordinary effort. Running as an independent for statewide office, I can tell you there is no “easy” way to do this.

Our team of a dozen full-time staff is deeply dedicated to our mission and, I can tell you, stacks up woman for woman, man for man, against every other team in this race. We take nothing for granted, and know with each voter we meet, each forum we attend, each call to voters we make, we are finding new supporters for a cause so many people in our state believe is long overdue.

Our coalition is made up of people who know that the system doesn’t take them seriously, and doesn’t treat them seriously. In a state where Democrats are 35 percent of voters, and Republicans are only 11 percent, my vision is that Massachusetts will be the first state where the “third” party is actually the second party.

As our organization grows, as we add more and more miles on our trips across the Commonwealth, and as the field of candidates thins in the coming months, our hard work to build a winning coalition will just continue to grow, and in the process prove all the naysayers wrong.