As the dust settles on the 2020 race for Hamilton County Commissioner, I must express my gratitude. The words of poet Joseph Brodsky, in a poem written on his fortieth birthday, have always inspired me: “Yet till brown clay be crammed down my larynx, only gratitude will be gushing from it” (May 24, 1980). In that vein, I want to express my gratitude to three specific groups:
Petition Signers and Donors
I petitioned twice for the chance to mount a run for County Commissioner. The first time was for the 2018 race when I turned in 2,399 signatures, collected over a 3-month period, to the Board of Elections. That year, I fell short of the signature requirement after my submission was checked but I remain deeply grateful for all who signed my petitions. The second was for the just-concluded 2020 race when I turned in 6,847 signatures, more than double the signature requirement, collected over a 10-month period. I made the ballot. I am forever grateful for all who signed for me and for the 40 who donated to my campaign. A big “Thank You” to anyone who signs a petition or donates to a candidate. You are the vital cell that keeps American democracy alive. For all who signed for me and donated, I say a gushing “Thank you!”
All Voters who Voted
A total of 405,983 residents voted in the Hamilton County Commissioners race. The winner from the Democratic party received 205,293 votes. The runner-up from the Republican party had 182,574 votes. I, the Nonparty Candidate, ended up with 18,116 votes. I have already posted a video online saying ‘Thank you’ to those who voted for me. But, I take this opportunity to say a “Mighty Big Thank You” to all the residents of Hamilton County who voted in this race for County Commissioner. Many of you who voted early at the Board of Elections already received numerous thanks from me as I waved and cheered your commitment to our democracy. May all our children be inspired to continue nurturing our American democracy and keeping it alive for posterity’s sake. With every element of my being, I say a gushing “Thank you!”
All the Candidates who Ran
This was a difficult year to run for public office. The Coronavirus Pandemic affected all of us and we could not gain any traction with voters. For me, as a newcomer to local politics and an Independent who managed to raise only a little over $3,000, it was particularly difficult to gain traction. Candidates, I enjoyed interacting with you and hearing stories of how you care for our community. May you continue making a difference within it. For all of you, my hope is that you continue being a beacon of good for Hamilton County. I am a sports coach, so allow me to use a sports analogy. As I head back to the bench, I am cheering for all of you to win the game for Hamilton County. May you find support from many different corners of our county to enable us all to move forward, be first, and lead. Candidates, you are the vanguards of American democracy. May you champion new ideas that will enable us to thrive in every way possible. To you all, I say a gushing “Thank You!”
Dr. Herman Najoli is a resident of West Price Hill and was a nonparty candidate for Hamilton County Commissioner. He was the first outright Independent to ever run for this role and the first Black male to ever appear on the ballot for Hamilton County Commissioner. He is married to Danyetta and together they are raising two children.