Why I Never Ran for Elected Office
October 5, 2010
On several occasions in my journey through life and the broadcasting career that I have enjoyed, I was beseeched to run for public office.
I don&8712;t know what it is about me that have made different people at different times importune me to run for elected office.
The first time was when the Bronx County Republican chairman, Senator John Calandra, told me he thought I could win an election to fill the seat of the incumbent in the 10th Congressional District.
He had done some polling and found that even though the district was Democrat, it was a conservative bastion. I was told that the listenership to the Bob Grant Radio Show was very high and my popularity was not rigidly partisan.
It seemed like a tempting opportunity. It was such a promising vista that I had to give it serious thought.
When it came time to either fish or cut bait, I chose to cut bait. Many people were disappointed. They really thought I would make a splendid congressman.
I had to explain to several groups and some admirers who were ready to donate to the campaign why I had chosen not to seek political office. On the surface, my reason was obvious: I had a good job and I loved doing my radio show.
Also, as a politician, I might have to change my lifestyle and do so many things I wasn’t sure I wanted to do. I could give a whole host of reasons, but I think the real reason, or at least the main reason, is that I knew how dirty the political game was played.
I couldn’t stand the thought of some trumped up charge against me just before Election Day. In short, I don’t like losing — especially when I could be the victim of dirty tricks.
I recall, at that time, just before I had to make my decision known, a good friend said to me, “Bob, this is not for you. Politics is a whore’s game. You ain’t no whore.”
Those were Henry Steven’s very words to me. Henry was a much older man who had seen a lot in New York. He knew Bronx County politicians by the dozens and even though he was trusted by all those politicians because they knew Henry was a truly honest man, he didn’t think much of the game.
And so, I made my decision public and had to endure some pained expressions on the part of people who wanted to see me run and win.
There was another time, years later in the state of New Jersey, when I came even closer to running for political office. This latter situation entailed a run for U.S. Senator.
A poll showed that even though I was not yet a candidate, 21 percent of the people polled said they would vote for me. I was told by a political campaign manager, who wanted to manage my campaign, that this was extraordinary.
Campaign contributions began coming in. Radio Station WOR had given me their blessing. I often wondered why they seemed so eager to see quit my radio show to run for the Senate.
But again, at the 11th hour, I said, “No, thanks.”
Do I regret not having sought political office? On one hand I do, but as I look back, I know I did the right thing by not running on those two occasions.
After all, as Henry Stevens said, “Bob, this is a whore’s game and you ain’t no whore.”
But, people like Jerry Brown pulling that dirty stunt on Meg Whitman in California are well suited to playing the whore’s game, and unfortunately he plays it so well because . . . (you finish the sentence).