JD Ford 

A candidate’s reflection on being down (in votes) but not out (of the race)

click to enlarge At 31 years of age, JD Ford launched an aggressive people-oriented campaign in an attempt to unseat Republican State Senator Mike Delph. - MARK A. LEE
  • At 31 years of age, JD Ford launched an aggressive people-oriented campaign in an attempt to unseat Republican State Senator Mike Delph.
  • Mark A. Lee

I really thought he would win.

Looking back at the campaign Democrat JD Ford launched at State Senator Mike Delph in the race for Senate District 29, Ford could have easily been at Reorganization Day this week at the Indiana Statehouse.

He did what every candidate is told to do. He knocked on doors, met with constituents on their turf, and listened to their concerns. He stuck to the issues and did not publicly attack his opponent. He did not dwell on Delph’s fall from his leadership role and re-location to the back of the room for violating Senate protocol and publicly embarrassing the Republican Party via Twitter.

He could have, but he didn’t.

JD Ford ran a campaign that was reflective of him as a person and a candidate.

After all of the teeth gnashing, hair pulling and sobbing into a bucket of fried chicken, I pulled myself together and sat down with Ford to get his thoughts on his campaign, the election and the future.

click to enlarge Ford stands by his strategy of talking one-on-one with voters right up to Election Day. - MARK A. LEE
  • Ford stands by his strategy of talking one-on-one with voters right up to Election Day.
  • Mark A. Lee

NUVO: What is the biggest thing that you learned from this whole experience?

Ford: I think certainly I’ve learned a lot about how to run a campaign and the stories and the people I’ve met are simply amazing. I also think that when you look of the totality of the race, I’m really quite proud of what we were able to do. A lot of people said it was going to be an uphill battle and it was. But it wasn’t an uphill battle when you actually brought the campaign to their front door. When they’re able to see you and talk to you, and to express their concerns to you face-to-face, as opposed to over Twitter or over Facebook, I think that brings a different side to the campaign. We knocked on over 25-thousand doors in this election and I think people appreciated that no matter where they stood on the political spectrum, Republican or Democrat or Independent. People just appreciated that a live person stopped by to say “Hi.” A lot of that doesn’t happen these days. You think that it should happen, but it doesn’t. For me, that was just my standard operating procedure, but it’s not for a lot of people.

NUVO: Was it worth it?

Ford: Absolutely, a hundred percent. Several nights of the campaign I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is a lot.” But you do your very best to put your best foot forward. Sometimes that best isn’t good enough for people and so I think my message to the voters is, “don’t be so critical of candidates.” There were a lot of voters who really wanted to hear what we had to say and then there were some who were just, “Nope, I don’t want it.” So I would encourages those voters to go a little bit easier on candidates. But it was definitely worth it. I think what we could have done differently is not so much of the Democrat vs. Republican. I think that of course it’s important to elect people with those ideologies, but I think it’s important to elect the candidate in terms of “Is this person going to serve us? Is he truly down there for his own good or is he truly down there to serve the people?”

click to enlarge Ford says his passion for public service was influenced by his grandparents who were also election officials. His grandfather (left) served as a city councilman in Ohio. His grandmother was a city auditor. - MARK A. LEE
  • Ford says his passion for public service was influenced by his grandparents who were also election officials. His grandfather (left) served as a city councilman in Ohio. His grandmother was a city auditor.
  • Mark A. Lee

NUVO: Million-dollar question – are you going to do it again?

Ford: I’m not sure. Public service has always been a passion of mine and my grandparents were elected officials and I see the value of what being a public servant is. I’m just resting and relaxing and keeping my eyes open for opportunities but right now I’m just doing my own thing.

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Amber Stearns

Amber Stearns

Bio:
Amber Stearns was born, raised, and educated right here in Indianapolis. She holds a B.S. in Communications from the University of Indianapolis (1995). Following a 20-year career in radio news in Indiana, Amber joined NUVO as News Editor in 2014.

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