This week the surprise candidate of the 5th Congressional District Republican Primary – Bentley Rayburn – sent out a letter to friends and supporters thanking them for their help. You may remember Rayburn – he’s one of the two men in the race that claimed God wanted him to go to Washington (in the end God picked the other guy).
Rayburn, a gentlemanly, recently-retired Air Force General who had never held elected office and only recently put down roots in the area, stunned observers when he came in a close third place in the six-man race, handily beating the mayor of Colorado Springs, the former sheriff and a former county commissioner. On election night, he was the only candidate to show up to Doug Lamborn party headquarters to concede the race.
But in his letter this week, Rayburn suggests that God may not be finished with him yet.
This is a long overdue note to say “Thank You!” to so many of you who helped in so many different ways with our campaign for the U.S. Congress seat in the 5th District of Colorado. You poured so much of your time, money and talents into the effort, and for that I will be forever grateful. Meeting so many wonderful friends and talking about important issues that face our nation were the highlights along the campaign trail. In the end, though we were not victorious, we were encouraged by much of the outcome. Towards the end of the race we had a lot of very strong and positive momentum. In fact counting the early voting at the polls done the week prior to the election, along with the voting done on election day, we received more votes than the eventual winner in the most populous county–El Paso County–that includes the Colorado Springs metropolitan area! What we didn’t anticipate was the impact of the absentee balloting that was done up to a month early. Because the counties had so much trouble during the last election (not enough ballots, long lines, not enough voting machines, etc.), they pushed out absentee ballot request forms to everybody in the hopes that more absentee voting would reduce the voting on election day. It did for sure, but we were not in a position to chase those absentee voters with advertising (TV, direct mail, etc). There were also some early negative ads that hit around the time people began to vote by absentee ballots. These ads were not answered by the candidates they were aimed at (not us) until later, but by then many had already voted. Well, in all of that, we certainly learned a lot, for sure. Because we did so well (we beat the mayor of Colorado Springs rather soundly, along with two other well known local politicians), a great many people have approached us to encourage me to keep my hand in the process and look for opportunities to run again. We are certainly going to keep those door open and will consider running again, if the Lord leads us that way. Until then, I plan to help the local and state Republican candidates where I can.
Rayburn went on to thank his campaign manager, and his wife and two daughters for their indispensable help. And then, the candidate who campaigned – like everyone else – as a fiscal conservative, included this post script:
“P.S. We are still retiring some campaign bills – mostly the cost of late-in-the-race TV and radio advertisements and some direct mail. If you would like to help with those expenses, you’re invited to send a contribution…”