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by Abigail Van Buren

Humble Candidates Lose, Say Those Who Know Firsthand

DEAR READERS: A short time ago, I printed a letter from a man and his wife who were in a heated discussion about whether a person should vote for him (or her) self. In my reply, I said: "I can't imagine anyone who is running for public office voting for the opposition. I'd be interested in hearing from those who have run for public office and how they cast their ballots."

The stack of responses was quite surprising! Read on:

DEAR MISS VAN BUREN: Speaking of candidates who do not vote for themselves, I am sending you this true story: In 1840, my great-great-great uncle, John Janney, was chairman of the Whig Party Convention in Virginia. This convention nominated William Henry Harrison for president. Uncle John and John Tyler were the nominees for the vice presidency. When the vote of the convention was a tie, Uncle John as chairman did the honorable thing and voted for John Tyler. Harrison won the election and died soon after, and John Tyler became president. Our family says that Uncle John lost the presidency by one vote -- his own!

Since Uncle John's sister Anna Janney Miller had 11 children and 53 grandchildren, there are many of us great-great-great nieces and nephews in the United States. I wonder how many of them will write you this story. -- HELEN JANNEY STABLER GRINSTEAD

DEAR MRS. GRINSTEAD: You are the only one I've heard from.

DEAR ABBY: I was a naive seventh-grader when I learned the bald facts. There were 12 girls competing for drum majorette in the baton corps, and we were to vote for which one of us would be majorette. The girl I voted for got two votes, each of the other 10 got one vote apiece, and I got none! -- MONTE PRUDE, MIDLAND, TEXAS

DEAR ABBY: I ran for president of my student council. As it turned out, I ended up losing to my opponent by one vote. Sign me ... LOST BECAUSE OF MY OWN MANNERS

DEAR ABBY: More than 40 years ago, as a young wife in a new community where wives and mothers created a monthly coffee group to get acquainted and share ideas, my name was nominated for an office. I will never forget that I lost by one vote. I had not voted for myself out of humility and old-fashioned manners. When I told my husband what I had done, he could not believe I lacked the faith in myself that he believed was indicated by my vote.

I'd rather you did not use my name. Instead, call me ... DEE IN SEAL BEACH, CALIF.

DEAR ABBY: I, too, was taught to be humble and have old-fashioned manners, and that to vote for oneself was a real no-no.

Thus said, in high school, I lost an election by one vote: my own.

Ergo, one can still be humble and polite, but if you believe in a cause enough to put yourself on the line to run for it, you'd better believe in it enough to vote for it. If you don't vote for yourself, you lose. -- MAIZIE HARRIS JESSE, CARSON CITY, NEV.

DEAR READERS: Tomorrow, some interesting comments from candidates who did vote for themselves.

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