So what did we learn in Thursday's election? Those of us in the 54th state house district, where incumbent Edith Taylor Langster was not just defeated but utterly demolished by challenger Brenda Gilmore, learned that nothing succeeds like hard work on the campaign trail. Gilmore and her supporters were everywhere: knocking on doors, mailers, on the streets, waving at rush-hour traffic, and doing the robocall shuffle (which I can live without). Gilmore didn't go negative, almost to a fault: It was hard to get her supporters to articulate why someone reasonably satisfied with Langster's voting record should turn against her.
And Langster? Other than a couple of by-the-numbers mailed pieces, she never asked for my vote. Didn't even have a campaign web site, at least not one I could find. Langster went negative at the very end, presumably having figured out she was in a serious fight here. I can't recall seeing overt negative campaigning at polling places on election day before, but Langster's people threw up a desperation shot at the buzzer: They sat outside polling places sporting wordy printed signs attacking Gilmore for voting in favor of the recent Metro wheel tax increase as a Council member. Langster's "campaign" was the kind you see from an entrenched incumbent who views her seat as an entitlement. The results speak for themselves.