Before the polls even opened, I knew Leesburg City Commission candidate Bob Bone was going to unseat incumbent Bill Polk.
I knew Bone would be elected the day a shadow fell upon my meatloaf and mashed at Bloom’s.
The shadow was cast by Bone, who was seated at a table with three gentlemen when I entered the popular Downtown Leesburg eatery.
After ordering, Bone went table to table, introducing himself and offering a brochure detailing his qualifications.
My first reaction was, “This is inappropriate. I came here to eat, not be solicited.” I never saw a politician stump in a restaurant before. But my irritation quickly passed. Bone was so smooth, I couldn’t help admiring him.
Bone inconspicuously made the rounds in about three minutes. At each table, he’d quietly ask if the person lived in Leesburg. If they did, he’d introduce himself, ask if they were registered to vote, offer a brochure and ask the person to vote. If they didn’t live in Leesburg, he’d introduce himself, wish the person an enjoyable lunch, and move on.
I’m still not sure I approved of his lunchtime stumping, but no one seemed bothered. Our new city commissioner was certainly less offensive than the waitress who asks, “Is everything OK?” the moment you stuff a meatball in your mouth.
It takes guts to approach strangers.
Bone’s got guts, that’s for sure. His Election Day victory was the result of a few thousand handshakes, twice as many smiles, and what many people felt was a sincere interest in their lives.
Bone was everywhere in the months leading up to the election. I personally saw him in a restaurant, a peewee football game, the bank, an auction, a Saturday morning farmers market, a banquet, a baseball game and the gym.
So I wasn’t surprised when Bone took Polk’s seat. Perhaps Polk pressed as much flesh as Bone, but I never ran into Bill. Or if I did, I didn’t recognize him.
Bone may have run the perfect campaign. His blue signs were everywhere. So were his supporters in their lime green T-shirts.
Three months ago, I didn’t think he had a chance. He seemed a little … well, too perfect. Constant smile, never a hair out of place, manners and approachableness, profitable career, fit and trim body, trophy wife, cute kids, etc. Don’t politicians have to be at least a little bit sleazy?
He wouldn’t even attack his opponent. Imagine the sound bites Bone could have launched. “Keep Polk and we’ll go brolke … Polk is a jolke … POLK = Poor Old Leesburg Kommunity.” The possibilities are endless.
Bone’s campaign was almost boring. He probably didn’t even consider modifying George Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone” as a theme song.
Talk about a missed opportunity. He could have kicked off every appearance with the “Dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. Here’s B-B-B-Ba-Ba-Bob and he’s B-B-B-Ba-Ba-Bad to the bone. Ba-ba-ba-bad. Ba-ba-ba-bad. Bad to the Bone!”
He would have locked up the biker vote quicker than you can say “highway pegs.”
I don’t know what kind of commissioner Bone will be, but if his campaign is any indication, he’ll put in the hours, research issues and be professional.
And that’s G-g-g-ga-ga-good news for Leesburg.