Where Does Conrad Warner Go From Here?

Aly Delp

Aly Delp

Published November 12, 2018 5:45 am
Where Does Conrad Warner Go From Here?

CLARION CO., Pa. (EYT) — Although democrat candidate Conrad Warner lost his bid at the 63rd District seat in the Pennsylvania Legislature, he isn’t letting the loss dampen his spirit.

Warner, a teacher at Keystone Junior/Senior High School, joined the field following a successful write-in campaign in the May 15 primary election.

While the race was ultimately unsuccessful in budging Donna Oberlander — the five-term incumbent — in the midterm election, Warner says he is glad he took on the opportunity to run for the position.

“I loved doing it,” Warner told exploreClarion.com.

“But honestly, I’m a realist. We knew the odds going in, the registration numbers.”

“Unless something dramatic happened, a Democrat wasn’t going to win, but that doesn’t mean the party shouldn’t run someone. You don’t fight fights because you think you’re going to win; you do it because you know it’s right.”

Warner ran a very active political campaign, knocking on over 2,500 doors in the district.

According to Warner, the candidacy was also a learning opportunity for him, allowing him to meet and speak to people from all across the district about their lives, their concerns, while also building on skills that he can apply to his job as a teacher.

“As an educator, I felt from Day One, there was so much, skills-wise, you can build on by doing something like this that is applicable in the classroom, from the outreach, going door to door, to picking up insights about the people in the region.”

Despite the fact that he enjoyed the experience and learned a great deal from it, Warner said he has no plans to run in another election in the future.

“Even if we were somehow able to win, I told people I’d be a one-term public servant. I want to be in the classroom. I love what I’m doing in the classroom. That’s where I want to be and what I want to do. This was just something we were asked to give a shot and agreed to try.”

While he doesn’t plan to run again himself, he isn’t entirely averse to continuing to be involved in politics in the region, noting that he would possibly consider using his experience to help another candidate campaign in the future.

“It would depend on who they were and what they stood for. But, if a candidate was running that I really believed in, I would have no problem advocating for them,” Warner added.

Whereas Warner isn’t particularly optimistic about a Democratic candidate’s chances in the area, he is adamant that the registration numbers and voting record in the region shouldn’t hold people back from running.

“Personally, I don’t think we’ll see a Democrat win in this area in a generation or so, but that should never discourage someone from running. It’s not about wins and losses; it’s about advocating for what you believe in.”

Noting that about one-third of the registered Republicans in the area voted straight party, and about one-fifth of the registered Democrats voted straight party, Warner said that he thinks “people pretend everything is so very partisan and no one strays from that, but that’s simply not the case.”

“That shows that the vast majority of people are still in the middle, which is good to see that. Even in these polarized times, most people aren’t as partisan as we are led to believe.”

Warner believes people deserve options, and campaigning is about rebuilding the Democratic party in the area.

“You put people out there even if the fight’s not in your favor. It’s worth it to engage people.”

“Engagement” was certainly a theme in this year’s midterm election, with a distinctly higher than usual turnout.

Warner said that he was very pleased to see the number of people who went to the polls.

“In this region, we had a turnout near what we have on a presidential election year. I am really proud to have been a part of something like that, and I give so much credit to the Republican party for their turnout, too. That engagement is really important.”

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