Opinion: A day in the life of a first time candidate

Friday – 4 weeks before Election Day. Mood: Dazed and confused, tired but determined

7am: Woke with a horrible sensation in my gut that I had forgotten to do something. This is happening way too often now.

7.30am: At the laptop in pyjamas, armed with max strength coffee. Writing Focus articles. Spent 3 hours on the doorstep yesterday, so have catching up to do. Whole Focus needs to be rewritten by the end of today. Big story broke in the press. Changing lead story to reflect residents’ anger on the issue.

8.45am: Finally able to remove self from pyjamas and shower. Focus done and sent to core campaign team. Printing canvass cards for today but printer in adolescent mood and has run out of ink. Frantic phone call to colleague for assistance. Candidate whining a bit. Tolerance levels running low due to sheer volume of things to remember and do.

9.30am: Canvass cards printed? Check. Clipboards and pens? Check. Candidate badge. Check. The last clean shirt in the house? Check. Time to hit the doorstep. Except car won’t start. Lack of petrol does that. Candidate fail of epic proportions. Forgetting to cook food? Fine. I can have pizza. Forgetting to put petrol in car? Not so good. Ward has 7,000 people. Stare forlornly at car then trudge to petrol station to get fuel.

Whilst out, report random food waste collection to council. Tweet what I have seen from my campaign twitter account.

10am: Finally ready to hit the doorstep. Not raining today. Makes a pleasant change from the winter months. No more pneumonia (thanks to last action day and dogged refusal to cancel it). Spend four happy hours on the doorstep talking to residents and collecting casework. One resident tells me “you look normal, not in a suit. You get my vote.” I canvass in jeans and t-shirt. Casual, and just me. Nice to have it recognised. Have nice collection of tree roots, vandalism, potholes and broken traffic bollards to report and deal with. Heading home for rest and food.

2:30pm: Food consumed. Bacon sandwich and a Wispa. Time to deal with casework and more Focus amends.

3.30pm: Constituency website broken. Can’t publish. Grumble massively. Sat forlornly staring at to do list.

6pm: Email from colleague. Opponent doesn’t like tweet about council waste. Has emailed to half the council and anyone else who will listen. Start having thoughts about people needing thicker skins and go and get coffee before replying to colleague. Opponent also doesn’t like my blog. Says mycouncillor blog is misrepresentative as I am not a councillor. Has reported to head of legal services at council. Mutter something about Tory divine right to rule at computer screen. Opponent obviously hasn’t read ALDC page properly. #ToryFail

7.30pm: core campaign meeting. Lots of heated debate about literature and candidates getting stuff done. Tired and zoning out of conversation half the time. Need to be asleep.

11.00pm: Finally home. Coffee and toast in bed. Dog hates me. Hardly seen me all day and is sulking in his basket. Regular sighs heard coming from his direction. Feel broken.

12.00am: Final thought of the day. Can’t believe I have come this far. Never thought I would run for anything other than a bus. People on doorstep have been lovely. Colleagues helpful. Dog sullen. Would I do it again? Don’t know. Ask me on May 6th. Things might change depending on result. Have I enjoyed it so far? Massively. Do I want to win? Yes I do! Do I think I can win? Yes! How will I feel if I do win? Even more terrified than I am now.

Am I thinking about winning? No. I’m thinking about working. Where we work we win.

Spidey blogs at Spiderplant Land

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Thank you very much for your blog – and thank you John Brace for your excellent comments. I’m a first time candidate too, and it’s exciting and terrifying. I must start following your Spiderplant Land blog.

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