So Here We Are, Just Like I said We Would Be

So Here We Are, Just Like I said We Would Be

When multiple Black candidates decide to run for the same position, the vote can become fragmented. This scenario typically favors the opposition, often resulting in the election of candidates who might not prioritize the Black community's needs.

For example, in local elections like those for city councils or school boards, independent campaigns from well-meaning candidates can fracture the community’s collective influence, weakening its overall political leverage.

Ego vs. Community. True Leadership should be about the community, not personal glory. Candidates must critically examine their motivations: are they running to serve their communities or to serve personal agendas? True leadership prioritizes collective progress over individual recognition.

A potent strategy in this regard is "strategic withdrawal,” where less viable candidates withdraw to support a stronger contender. This approach, though challenging, ensures the community’s interests are better served. That is why we are in the situation we are in now—just as I said we would be.

In the recent election, we had three Black candidates and one White candidate vying for the District 10 At-large seat. The result 

Travis Chambers (Black) received: 7,694 votes 44.18%

John Anker (White) received: 6,735 votes 38.67%

Rocky Marsh (Black) received: 1,792 votes 10.29%

Patrick Leonard (Black) received: 1,196 votes 6.87%

Because no candidate won by 50% plus one vote there will be a runoff between the top two candidates: Travis Chambers and John Anker.

Prior to running, concerned leaders approached the three Black candidates, asking them to assess why they were running. Was it to uplift the community or to gain personal acclaim? We asked them to collaborate with each other to determine who had the most robust support and the best chance of winning and to coordinate efforts to back that candidate effectively.

We implored them to place the community's priorities over personal aspirations. Instead of competing, consider mentoring promising future leaders. This ensures a continuous pipeline of candidates committed to community welfare.

Our hope was that they would develop a common agenda that focuses on core community issues and then make a collective pledge to support the primary contender who can drive these issues forward. As you can see what we hoped for did not occur. As a result, we now have to go back to the polls on June 18, 2024.

The Black community in Columbus has the potential to effect significant change, but this requires a unified approach and a commitment to community over self. This unity can lead to more inclusive representation and ensure that the community’s voice resonates powerfully in the political arena.

The two Black candidates, Dr. Rocky Marsh and Dr. Patrick Leonard can redeem themselves and approach the run-off election with a selfless mindset. By prioritizing their collective power and community needs over individual ambitions, behind Travis Black voters can ensure their voices are not just heard but dominate the corridors of power, leading to tangible and lasting progress for the Black and Brown community.

The question is will they?

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