Sunday, April 5, 2009

"THERE GOES THE NEXT GOVERNOR"

In 1990 my friend John Polak from Fall River, Mass invited me to a "Meet the Candidates" night in New Bedford at a local steak house. It event was hosted by the Republican Party as a chance for some of the public to meet and hear some of the candidates for state wide offices in the upcoming elections. This event was held in the lower level of the restaurant meeting room area.

John and I decided to have dinner first in the upper level restaurant before the event. We sat down and were in the middle of our meal. Both John and I were dressed in sport coats. I decided to visit the men's room at the restaurant. As I was walking toward the back of the restaurant to the men's room I overheard someone say "There goes our next governor" and they were referring to me as I passed by their table.

Although I was born on election day, I hadn't given any thought to running for governor. I ran for selectman one time in Dennis, Mass on Cape Cod but winning a race for governor would have been an extreme long shot for me. It would have required a massive write in vote plus I wasn't planning on campaigning or advertising any desire to be the next governor. I doubt if people would just decide in the voting booth on election day that they would all just pick me and my name out of the top of their head and write in Rick Shaw for governor in enough quantity to elect me out of the blue.

The reason I suppose that the man who said "There goes our next governor" when I walked by his table is that I have red hair and the Republican candidate William F. Weld also has red hair. Back then, William "Bill" Weld was known as a US attorney and he was known to have red hair but he wasn't a household name in Massachusetts politics. That man in the restaurant just assumed that I must have been Bill Weld as Bill was among the candidates scheduled to speak that night and I was dressed in business attire.

I told John about the comment I had heard and he thought that was funny. After we finished dinner we went downstairs and listened to the various candidates speak including Bill Weld. After Bill Weld spoke he ended up sitting near John and me in the audience. Bill had a distinctive way of clapping for the other candidates as he would clap his hands together in a cupped manner which made a different sound, a deeper sound, than the average flat hand clap.

Bill Weld ended up being elected Governor of Massachusetts for two terms. I did meet Bill Weld a couple of times at some fund raisers. That man in the restaurant was right; the man who he thought was Bill Weld became the next governor. It wasn't me though, I think I received about two votes if that many so I was defeated but a redhead did win.