A former fixture in Loudoun’s political scene has penned a guidebook for those looking to campaign for public service themselves.
Ken Reid, who served on both the Leesburg Town Council and as the Leesburg District representative on the Board of Supervisors, recently released his first book, “Six Secrets to Winning Any Local Election and Navigating Elected Office Once You Win!”
Reid first won a seat on the Town Council in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010. In 2011, he won a seat on the Board of Supervisors but did not run for re-election four years later. He again won a seat on the Town Council in 2016, but resigned less than a year into his four-year term to take a job in Virginia Beach.
He said it was his record at the polls, winning four races, that prompted him to share his formula for success with a larger audience. He said he began working on the book shortly after resigning from his Town Council seat.
“I thought it would be very helpful. I’ve dealt with so many candidates throughout the years. I won four elections, I never lost an election, and I had two very close [races]. I had a method and I wanted to impart that knowledge,” he said.
He said many would-be politicians get involved with the wrong advisors, or think they can win on their own merits. Reid’s method for campaigning boils down to the six M’s: messaging, manpower, management, marketing, money and momentum. The book also includes sample campaign material, like yard signs and campaign event invitation templates.
While his 328-page book shares practical advice about campaigning, it also includes many reflections of his time serving in Loudoun. He doesn’t hesitate when asked who was the best campaigner he ever encountered. That honor belongs to former Sterling District Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio.
“As much as a lot of people don’t like him as a person and his anti-gay stance, the fact is he is a terrific, terrific retail politician,” he said. By retail politician, Reid references a candidate with a great grassroots campaign and lots of voter contact. He also praises current Leesburg Supervisor Kristen Umstattd (D) and Del. David LaRock (R-10) for their campaign style and face time with voters.
The second half of Reid’s guidebook focuses on advice for serving in elected office. Reid believes that he was successful in serving, and being re-elected, because he was a “go-getter” who was perhaps overly interested in results, though he admits in the book he was not always the most liked.
He praises Umstattd, who served as Leesburg’s mayor for more than a decade before winning her board seat, for the way in which she ran meetings. He also said he has been very impressed with how current County Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) has led the board.
He did not have as kind words for Scott York, who served as county chairman during Reid’s time on the board and for three terms prior, or current Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk. He criticized York’s reticence in moving things forward on the board’s agenda, and Burk’s move to place time limits on council members’ comments during meetings.
Reid now lives in the Hampton Roads area and works as a technical writer for a government contractor. In addition to his work, he is active in the Orthodox Jewish community where he lives. He said he hopes to retire in three years and work on more books and plays.
What he does not have in the cards is another run for public office, he said. While he was approached about running for an open seat in Norfolk, he declined.
“I’m pretty happy where I am,” he said. “I’d rather be helping other candidates.”
Reid’s book can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play and iTunes. The eBook is available for $14.99, while the paperback, which includes a consultation, is $29.95.