Eulogy: Death of the Independent Candidate

TaiberIA-House.pngRejoice, the election is over. And while some may not like all the outcomes, we are resilient. Our greatness doesn’t come from our government, it comes from the people. The day our nation’s mood is set by political outcomes, is the day government has become too big, too high stakes. For my race, I am beat up and spit out, disappointed, yet grateful to have the opportunity to run. I offer reflections on my Independent bid for Iowa House District 59 in the words to follow.

Running against a six-time Democratic incumbent and Republican newcomer is no easy task. The results speak for themselves, District 59 is very satisfied with the status quo. Despite the loss, the results also show that over 2,300 people made an informed vote and I appreciate all of them. Occasionally, I dwell on the result and seemingly futile effort. But I only need to recall these people, many unknown to me, and be satisfied that I gave them a principled choice when they had none before.

I pledged to serve people over parties, principle over dividing ideologies, free markets over crony capitalism, liberty over control, and outcomes over platitudes to make Iowa a more attractive state for people, business, and quality of life. The District 59 election proves that even when presented with a viable alternative, voters are more loyal to party and incumbency than the virtue and merits of the candidate. My goal was to capture 30% of the vote. The strategy was simple… I would run on a visionary state platform and my council record of community vision, budget discipline, social justice, prudent investments, property rights, and growth policies. I had no activist network, no fundraisers, no strategists. I made flyers, wrote thousands of post cards, knocked on doors and attended forums. I never asked for a penny. I offered a unique platform addressing our greatest opportunities and urgent priorities. My platform touched economic development, education, and principled government in a way no candidate has ever done before. I offered unique policy positions for UNI and water quality. I didn’t win.


I believe I was the best candidate, I wouldn’t have run without this conviction. My personal, civic, and business life experiences would have been a great asset to our state government and all the citizens that reside here. But my opposition had parties. One had incumbency. They had war chests of money, pre-committed voters, and get-out-the-vote machines. As the results demonstrated, voters are loyal to parties and incumbency. 38% voted straight ticket which leaves little hope for an Independent. I worked my tail off, but couldn't overcome the structural advantages of my opponents. With all due respect, my GOP opponent was new to politics yet garnered 31% of the vote. The incumbent received 54%, not a high point, but still enough to command a victory.

I am so grateful for my 2,309 voters... they made a knowledgeable, informed decision. They evaluated the candidate, the platform, the promise for the future. My votes were earned, not granted by party association. I had no illusion of converting a hardened democrat or republican, but I was hopeful I would take a small slice of each and a good portion of independents. The bold independent experiment is disheartening to be sure, especially considering the hundreds of hours listening, researching, writing, designing, knocking, speaking and more. It will forever be a lost summer for me, but in retrospect, not altogether surprising. At least I never need to speculate what could have happened, because I proved it couldn’t no matter the effort.

What to do? During the run, I have been called a tea-party conservative, I have been labeled a bleeding heart liberal. I am both because I support personal, economic, and social liberties - the tenants of our Republic. Thankfully, there is a blossoming LP_logo.pngmovement beyond binary politics… elements can be found in the No-Labels movement, anti-establishment sentiment and emerging 3rd parties. The big parties rely on over-sized government for their doings. While government plays an important role, it should never be viewed as the sole source of all solutions… we need to understand human psychology, sociology, economics, and the practical limitations of government. I could join a big party and try to win, but that would mean violating many of my principles, or be in direct conflict of their platform planks. Big ugly parties are the source of our division, they are bought and paid for by special interests. They serve the goal of power accumulation over any purported principle. I just can’t do it. I could run as an independent... never again. For me, the philosophy that represents the best America for all is classical liberalism - personal, economic and social freedom supported by a purposeful government that protects rights (personal and property), ensures free markets, effective social programs, and prudent justice. This philosophy forms the foundation of the Libertarian Party. If you are disillusioned with binary parties, this may be a political home for you.

To all my courageous 2,300 voters, thank you. You are independent, you are principled, you are are the beacon of hope for prosperity and justice. The world is rapidly changing, a new generation is poised to take the reins of leadership. It aligns with classical liberalism versus the command and control plutocrats and collectivists that rule our lives today. Let’s ring the bell of liberty, prosperity, justice and be a  build a new political movement. I’m all in.

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  • Ramy Abu-Yousef
    Nick, I’m genuinely proud to know you, and to see everything you’ve done. In a time when apathy is at an all time high, everybody complains and nobody tries to do anything, you stood up and threw your hat in the ring. I truly believe that even with a loss under your belt, you should pick yourself up and keep trying until it works, as long as the next time you get 2310 votes, you should keep persevering and continuing to do your part to make a difference. Spend the next two years fundraising, clarifying your positions, refining your strategy and try again!! There are now 2310 people counting on you and that number will grow exponentially! Remember Obama’s first run at the House of Representatives resulted in a sound defeat to incumbent Bobby Rush, Bernie Sanders ran unsuccessful third-party campaigns for governor and U.S. senator in the early to mid-1970s before being elected mayor of Burlington in 1981, keep in mind Sanders ran as a Democrat for President as a strategic maneuver even though he is anything but. Wear this defeat proudly Nick, and attack tomorrow with a new zeal!!
  • steve dust
    Thank you, Nick, for putting yourself and your principles out there in the campaign. I respect and hold in high regard anyone willing to put their name on a ballot among their neighbors for public office, whether I agree with their views or not. That is especially true when a person engaged in business is on the ballot – someone involved in the engine that powers the economy and creates the wealth that fuels the government in taxes and fees. Let’s keep working, together, on strengthening a strong, innovation and technology-led economy in the Cedar Valley.