Former candidates share lessons learned from past campaigns
With Nova Scotians heading to the polls Oct. 8, political candidates from the three major parties in the province are hitting the streets. For most of them, it will be their first foray into provincial politics.
The Register decided to speak with former candidates, both successful and unsuccessful, who have run in this region in the past to ask them about their experiences, the lessons they’ve learned and the realities of life on the campaign trail.
Most of the former candidates agree that one of the biggest challenges is the length of the campaign, which typically is just over one month in duration.
“The time frame for a visit is so short. A smile, a greeting, an exchange of ideas, a brief chance to size up the candidate,” said Robbie Harrison, who ran for the Liberals in Kings South three times in the 1990s. “The challenge is reaching so many doorsteps in a few weeks. The solution is to continue to meet constituents between elections, not just during the campaign.”
Glenn Ells, who was elected in Kings North for the Liberals in 1974, and was unsuccessful the three other times he ran, said that running in a seat held traditionally by the Tories was difficult. When he won the seat, it was only the second time since the riding was created in 1956 that a Liberal had won – previously, Eric Balcom won the seat in 1956. The only other time someone other than a Conservative candidate has won in Kings North was in 2009, when NDP incumbent Jim Morton won the seat.
Mark Parent, who ran for the Kings North Progressive Conservatives in four elections between 1999 and 2009, says he “wore out a lot of shoes” while on the campaign trail. He likened it to being a door-to-door salesman.
Being an MLA was comparable to being a pastor, he added, only instead dealing with the spiritual needs of people, he was dealing with their physical needs.
- Read more special articles:
- Carol Tobin - on the campaign trail
- Mark Parent - on the campaign trail
- Glenn Ells - on the campaign trail
- Maura Ryan - on the campaign trail
Due to space constraints, we could not include all of the responses to every question. They can be viewed, in full, here at www.kingscountynews.ca.
Here’s what they had to say:
Maura Ryan - ran for the Kings South Liberals, 2003
David Morse - ran for Progressive Conservatives in Kings South in 1998, 1999, 2003, 2006 and 2009
Robbie Harrison - ran for the Liberals in Kings South in 1993, 1998 and 1999
Chris Palmer - ran for Progressive Conservatives in Kings West in 2009
Glenn Ells - ran for Kings North Liberals in 1970, 1974, 1978 and 1989
Mark Parent - ran for the Kings North Progressive Conservatives in 1999, 2003, 2006 and 2009
Carol Tobin - ran for NDP in Kings West in 2009