While we’re waiting for certain races (ahem) to shake out in the final tallies, we can’t let any more time pass before thanking the candidates.


We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Putting yourself out there for consideration for public office is a thankless task. Roughly half of the voting public will think that you’re a terrible person by belonging to one political party of another. If you’re running as a third-party candidate, they might not even bother to have an opinion at all.


You’ve probably knocked on doors and talked to would-be voters. You’ve raised money. You’ve run advertisements and sent mailers. You’ve worked and worked, and yet that’s no guarantee that you ultimately win.


What you’re actually doing, what’s really going on, is that you’re giving voters an option. You have stopped complaining, stood up and set yourself out there as a person who wants to solve problems in your community, state or country.


Our system only works because of you.


It only works because people are willing to give of themselves to represent others. No matter the party, no matter the level, running for office requires profound sacrifice.


We also know that the season is exhausting and unfair. Money from outside the state flowed in from Republicans and Democrats. Misleading ads appeared. And candidates had to figure out how to spread their message while a pandemic raged around them. Politics isn’t for the faint-hearted, regardless of the level.


For those who won, congratulations. Now you have to make your campaign promises a reality. You need to listen to your constituents — not only those who elected you, but those who cast ballots for your opponent. Remember, you’re serving them, not your party or particular set of ideological beliefs.


For those who lost, we sympathize. Few things hurt as much as earning fewer votes than your opponent in a race. But it’s not as though you were rejected by the public — you still received votes. You still have supporters. They’re just not as numerous. We hope that this experience, while it may sting now, doesn’t prevent you from participating in the future.


And for the rest of you — even if you’ve never been involved in politics before, except as a voter — why not consider a race of your own? Our communities are stronger when more people participate and feel like they’ve made a difference in the outcome.