I will never forget this screen.
At 1:58pm ET yesterday, I lost my mayorship of Delicatessen to my friend and opponent, Jennifer Magnolfi. I know this will come as a shock to my supporters and political observers, but after reflecting on the outcome for nearly 24 hours, it does not come as much of a shock to me.
I want to offer my public congratulations to Mayor Magnolfi and her campaign manager (and Delicatessen Mayor Emeritus) Ron J Williams. They ran an excellent, honorable campaign, and I called Jennifer personally to congratulate her. A video of me leaving the voicemail message is lower down in this post.
I'd also like to thank my campaign manager and Mayor of Madiba, Zane Latta whose counsel and inspiration got me through some long nights and moments of doubt.
Many of my supporters have expressed outrage and indignation at the outcome, with some demanding a recount and others suggesting I keep running. Let me state unequivocally and for the record that I honor these election results, and so should we all. The people (or Foursquare's algorithms) have spoken. Now is not the time for pettiness and selfishness and bitterness. I know many of you are hurting, but now, more than ever, is the time for us to come together as a people. There is too much work to do for us to remain a house divided.
A word on how Magnolfi's victory was determined. When we kicked off our campaign, I was already the mayor, with a several day advantage. We agreed to a 30 day window, during which time she would try to overtake me. It was a sudden death structure. If at any point before close of business on August 14th she ousted me, she would be declared the victor. The only reason she had a chance was due to several trips I had planned: a trade mission to Montreal and a fundraising trip to Las Vegas. These two trips put us neck and neck, though neither of us knew how close.
Yesterday morning, I made a critical political calculation. I was hosting a high school friend at my home in Brooklyn, and another good friend, Gustavo Rivera, had asked for my help in his legitimate and very important New York state senate campaign. My original Sunday plan was to wake up, head to Delicatessen for breakfast, get some work done and consider heading up to the Bronx for Gustavo.
Instead I chose to spend some time with my friend before he left to return to DC. I then faced a brutal choice: secure my own mayorship with a check in at Delicatessen or make the long journey to the Bronx to help Gustavo oust State Senator Pedro Espada by going door to door in the 33rd district. I chose the latter. As I prepared to leave Gustavo's headquarters near Grand Concourse & Mosholu Parkway to begin canvassing, I got the alert that Magnolfi had ousted me.
Yes, I was shocked. Yes, it hurt. When you put so much of yourself into a campaign, losing can never feel good, but with incumbents all across the country threatened by challengers, I could only be so surprised. As with life, I had to dust myself off and focus on the mission at hand. I hit the streets hard for Gustavo. My partner and I ended up knocking on 110 doors, and by the end of the day, with new perspective, I felt great about my decision.
I find it oddly poetic that the day before my loss, Magnolfi and I and our respective campaign managers held a joint strategy session over brunch at Delicatessen to plan the final week of campaigning. We wanted to step it up yet another notch with a collective effort that would forever redefine Foursquare mayorship. It's that sort of collaboration, putting the people before politics, that so many of our elected officials could use as a model. If all goes well, Magnolfi and I will be able to announce our initiative within the next day.
As for my next steps, I'm already getting inquiries about whether I'll be running for mayor at another venue soon, and I can say that all such talk is premature. I'm just looking forward to winding down my campaign apparatus, finalizing the Thurston-Magnolfi joint initiative and campaign closing party and spending more time with my beautiful neighborhood in Brooklyn, which I haven't seen much of due to the rigors of the campaign.
I couldn't have done any of this without the love and support of Fort Greene, and I want to thank her for sticking by my side when it seemed that I had permanently relocated to Nolita and Soho. You know what they say: behind every great mayor is a great neighborhood. I love you, Fort Greene.
I will still frequent Delicatessen, but to honor Magnolfi's new mayorship, I will not check in on Foursquare through close of business August 14th (the original campaign deadline), so that she might enjoy her mayorship, and we can avoid unintentional ousting and the resulting media frenzy, speculation and distrust.
Throughout the coming days, I'll continue to post videos and photos from the campaign to this blog, because I'm so proud of what we've done here. You should be proud too. People, we shook the world!
And now, here's a video of my concession voicemail to Magnolfi, recorded at the Gustavo Rivera for State Senate campaign headquarters.
Thank you all, and stay tuned for more exciting announcements as we close out this historic campaign through the remainder of the week.
- Delicatessen Mayor Emeritus Baratunde Thurston