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Mayor Paul A.

Whatever it takes to win

Paul easily won election to the Mayor’s Office. It was his second time running, and this time, he hadn’t made any mistakes. He’d been organized and focused and he hadn’t slept. He’d met with all the key players and exchanged what he had to in order to earn their backing. A former teacher and coach, Paul found politics exhilarating and a natural fit for his high energy level.

Keith appeared poised to present a real challenge. Though new to the political scene and the community, he was friendly and very handsome. While Paul shined in presentations to large groups, Keith excelled in the one-on-one talks so critical to building a base of support. To combat Keith’s ability to win the support of individual voters, Paul employed Dan and Ronald. These two men tracked Keith’s every move. If Keith met with a voter, either Dan or Ronald would visit within twenty-four hours. Sometimes, both men would visit to be sure a clear message was sent.

There was also the issue of the youth vote. Sure, young people usually have minimal impact on an election, but two candidates who have never before held office could afford to leave no stone unturned. Keith employed his one-on-one charm just as easily on the younger demographic. He built a network of youth captains so fiercely loyal to him that they took charge of the morning campaign coffee meetings.

Here again, Paul employed the art of delegation. Bobbi was his emissary to younger voters. Youthful herself, Bobbi immediately connected. When the campaign needed flyers, Bobbi’s team both designed them and made sure they reached the necessary audience. Of course, the older voters appreciated the attention and solicitation from Bobbi’s crew.

As the election drew closer, voters began taking sides. Paul didn’t think he could handle another defeat so soon after the last one. But he also knew his team had done all the necessary work. Keith just knew everyone liked him. He figured that’s all this was about, anyway.

The would-be voters stood in an S-shaped line in the qualification center. A man in a black shirt spoke into a radio. When he got the ok from the other side, he began reading out names from the list on his clipboard. Everyone who wanted to vote had to go through this process. It only took a few minutes and it hardly seemed invasive. After all, the reward was the chance to decide on institutional leadership.

Cyrus Crosson/Unsplash

After the qualification decisions were made, the eligible voters were directed to their respective polling places. Groups of fifteen to twenty would gather — Iowa Caucus style — to make the decision. Each group would debate the merits of the candidates and then would divide into camps. While Paul had representatives in each caucus group, Keith had no such system. Ultimately, this would prove the decisive factor. No matter the topic of debate, no matter the issue, Paul’s gang would ensure voters knew exactly what they’d get if Paul won. This also meant the voters knew exactly what would happen to them if they ended up in Keith’s voting group when the final tally was taken.

Paul’s victory speech was true to form — loud, somewhat obnoxious, and met with vigorous applause. Keith was named a top deputy in the new administration. Paul would never lose another election — not here, and not when he later in life decided to run for Congress.

After he spoke, he said a prayer with his leadership team, Keith included. Then, he walked down the long, narrow hallway to his bedroom.

For the next 30 days (at least), Paul A. would be the Mayor of the Marrowbone Creek Center for Drug and Alcohol Treatment. 

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