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Dynamic Chiropractic – November 30, 1998, Vol. 16, Issue 25

But 36% Support Dr. Ferguson's Bid in Ohio

By Editorial Staff
Peter Ferguson, DC (D-OH) faced a difficult battle: unseating Representative Ralph Regula, the incumbent Republican firmly ensconced in Congress since 1972.

The modest gains for the Democrats in the House in the Nov.

3rd elections (four seats) did not translate into a victory for the sole chiropractor left in the congressional races.

"It was a wild ride and a terrific experience," reflected Dr. Ferguson after the final tallies were in. "We pulled 65,000 votes, but we just didn't have enough funding to get our message out."

Dr. Ferguson enjoyed record financial support from the chiropractic profession, but those monies divided among the profession amounted to only about $1.25 per chiropractor. Despite extensive local fundraising efforts, there just wasn't enough money to compete with the campaign treasure chest of the incumbent.

"A good House race generally costs between $500,000 and $850,000," Dr. Ferguson explained. "We ran our campaign on a mere fraction of that."

That 36 percent tally of support for the chiropractic candidate is reason for optimism. Citing experience gained in fundraising, "stump" speaking, scheduling, and advertising, Dr. Ferguson affirmed his satisfaction with his first run for Congress.

"We learned a lot and we're well positioned for the next race. We secured endorsements from the unions for two of the largest employers in the area, steelworkers and the Hoover plant. We also pulled the police and trial lawyers endorsements, which means our message was heard across all economic and educational lines."

Dr. Ferguson's focus on health care rights for patients helped unite the 16th district Democrats. His campaign platform was considerably more extensive than health care, but, again, the funding limitations made it impossible to buy the media time to drive all those points home to the public: social security issues; early childhood education; worker safety; sanctity of pension plans; and stewardship of environmental resources.

"Building a stronger campaign organization can overcome some of the dollar crunch, but we'll also need to broaden the contributor base," Dr. Ferguson observed.

What was most exciting and rewarding about the campaign? "For me, as a chiropractor in practice for over 25 years, it was the unqualified support of chiropractors in Ohio and around the nation. I heard from one young doctor who had been in practice just eight weeks. He sent a small contribution with a note saying he wished it was more, but he understood the importance to the profession of having a chiropractor on the inside in Congress."

Dr. Ferguson recalls another contributor whose donation was particularly heartfelt. "He had lost his practice of 35 years and his family, but still sent a contribution along with his belief that this is the future for our profession."

This is just the beginning for Dr. Ferguson. After a well-deserved rest, he will be preparing the groundwork for the next election cycle. "I am both humbled and empowered by the faith people have shown in me. Our day was not today, but the sun will rise on the dream and I intend to make it happen."

Editor's note: In a previous article in DC we stated that no chiropractor had ever been elected to the U.S. Congress. Sociologist Walter Wardwell, PhD, notes that Anthony Tauraello was elected to Congress in New York. Dr. Wardwell also states that Clinton Clauson, DC, was elected governor of Maine in 1958. (Wardwell W. Chiropractic: History and Evolution of a New Profession. Wosby Year Book 1992, p239).

Supporters can contact Dr. Ferguson at:
P.O. Box 224
Middlebranch, OH 44652-0224
(330) 493-7970


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