One election that didn't go quite my way last night was for my Congressman. For hundreds of years, it's been Henry Waxman (D) and I've been very happy with him. With occasional exceptions, he votes the way I'd want and twice now, I've run into him at the Souplantation nearest my house, which I believe is in the same complex that houses his office. I don't know his position on their Creamy Tomato Soup but I do know that on both occasions, he took the time to talk to me about Washington-type stuff and he was either interested in what I had to say or he did a darn good impression of someone who was interested.
So I like the guy…but this time, I voted for a former Republican turned Independent named Bill Bloomfield. Mr. Bloomfield — a wealthy gent who largely funded his run for the seat — has never held public office but I heard him on a telephonic ask-the-candidate forum and I read his website and decided to toss my vote his way. He seemed serious and passionate and under no delusions that he alone could make a big difference, especially as a first-termer. I also liked the fact that he didn't say "My opponent is a Socialist and a crook and he hates America." He actually had a lot of respect for Waxman, acknowledged good things he'd done and basically said, "I think I can serve you better."
I didn't think he'd win but I voted for him because he seemed to be different. Frustratingly, the day after I mailed off my ballot, I received an ad from his campaign that bashed Waxman like most typical politicians try to bash their opponents. It tried to make a big deal out of the fact that "Waxman does not own a home in the district" and make it sound like he was woefully out of touch and didn't care what we thought. I think the person who wrote it was hoping it would be read as "Waxman does not have a home in the district," which is not the case.
Bloomfield did not win but he did better than most folks probably expected. Waxman usually gets over 60% and last election, took 65% of the vote. This time, he won 54% to 46%. 46% ain't bad for an unknown running for the first time and as an Independent in a heavily-Democratic district. Most of Waxman's former opponents got what they got from Republicans voting straight-ticket for some Republican they never heard of.
In a news article today reporting his loss, Bloomfield said of Waxman, "He was very respectful and I really appreciated it. I grew to like the guy as a person. I was always respectful, even before I'd ever met him, with his 44 years of public service. I am in awe of that. But as a person, how he treated me, how he conducted himself, I was very impressed." Wouldn't it be nice if all elections could end with the loser saying that about the winner?