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Guest Opinion

Loser in a room full of winners


I was in a huge ballroom with so many friends, allies and candidates from all over Bucks County — Steve Santarsiero, Bob Harvie, Diane Marseglia, every Central Bucks School Board candidate on the Neighbors United slate, and so many more people.

You could tell there was a bit of confidence but also quite a bit of trepidation. Each of us had just endured nine months of campaigning and, for many of us, it had gotten personal and now it was all over. We had laid everything out there and done everything we all could have done. Now we just needed to wait.

I was running to be the first Democratic township supervisor in Buckingham in recent memory and I knew it was going to be close.

The texts began right at 8 p.m. when the first batch of mail-in ballots dropped and it showed I had nearly a 1,000-vote lead over my opponent.

“This is a good start” and “Is it too early to say congrats?” and more.

My replies were simply copied and pasted one after another, “It’s way too early.”

Right around 9:30 p.m. we had all the numbers from each Buckingham precinct and the mail-in votes. The supervisor race was the first one we could “call.” I had narrowly lost my bid.

I spent countless hours away from my family knocking on doors, going to events and meeting more of my neighbors in Buckingham. I had invested so much in this race and I wanted to win so badly and I just lost. I was crushed and was trying to put on a strong face.

Everyone that was there that had been invested in my race gave me a hug and many reassurances.

Shortly after I knew my fate, other results began flowing in. Susan Gibson won. Rick Haring won. Dana Foley won. Karen Smith won. Bob Harvie and Diane Marseglia won. Stephanie Weisser won. Heather Reynolds won (completing the school board sweep). And so on.

I was the only loser, but it no longer felt like it, in my mind or in the room. The party and the rout were on and it felt so great.

We all ran as a team. We all had each other’s backs and made sure that if something was going on that someone else needed to know, they knew. We all worked together with the goal of bringing change to Bucks County. We did just that.

It was kind of like playing “Dancing On My Own” after a Phillies win.

The lyrics are all about being on your own, being left out and wanting to be noticed. I certainly was as the only one with an L after their race.

But this song is only played after wins. And this was a big win. Our team flipped the Central Bucks School Board, Bob and Diane kept the county seats, we kept the judicial seats ensuring women’s rights for the near future and so much more.

Here’s the perspective.

I moved to Buckingham just over two years ago not knowing a single person in this township. I took a leap in wanting to bring change to Buckingham and by running for office after being here not even a year. More than 4,400 people joined me on that road. I had lost by just 364 votes to a three-term, 18-year incumbent whose entire life has been spent in Buckingham.

I knew the tally was not in my favor, but my platform has steam. I was the only loser in the room according to the results, but, man, it has never felt better to lose.

Bucks County, Central Bucks SD, and Pennsylvania are so much better off today than yesterday.

I would much rather be the only loser in a room of winners than the only winner in a room of losers.

Congratulations to my team and my friends. Thanks for looking out.

Democrat Michael Bateman was a candidate for Buckingham Township Supervisor in 2023.

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