He was always facing a major challenge to take a seat in the Longford/Westmeath constituency, but nonetheless James Morgan, the Independent candidate in Longford put in a fairly robust social media campaign in the run up to polling day.
After making it to the 11th count and securing 3,329 first preference votes as well as a third of Mae Sexton’s transfers, the local businessman said that he was aware from early on in the count that he wasn’t going to secure a seat.
His vote was significantly lower than his 2014 by-election poll of 5,959 where he was the only Longford candidate to run.
He told the Leader he was happy with his 2016 campaign even though he didn't get elected.
“We decided that we wouldn’t knock on any doors - we didn’t have a big canvass team, so we did social media and held a number of meet and greets as well,” he told the Leader.
“We did get to meet a lot of people; I’m not a big fan of knocking on doors and from what I hear I’m not so sure that other canvassers got to meet a lot of people anyway,” he added.
With regards to Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran’s claims that Morgan ‘betrayed’ him in the final days of the campaign, the Longford candidate said his Westmeath counterpart was “exaggerating slightly”.
“The reality is that when you are an Independent and from different parts of the constituency, I think it is very difficult for people to vote outside of that,” he added.
“So the truth is that people can do what they want in terms of their number 2s and in fact if you look at this general election - even in terms of the parties, they found it very difficult to get the number 2s going to other people outside their areas.
“I think the big story is not necessarily where your number 2s have gone - I think it’s all about where the number 1s went to.”
At this stage, it has been confirmed that over 6,000 votes went out of Co Longford and into Westmeath last week.
That’s almost one third of the local electorate voting for Westmeath candidates in this county.
As far as Morgan is concerned, this fact is one of the most serious of all to arise from count proceedings in Kenagh over the past few days.
“Stories about number 2s and pacts are irrelevant now - the big news story is why the number 1s went out of Longford to elect Westmeath TDs,” the local businessman continued.
And, while admitting that running in a general election “takes a lot of you”, Morgan didn’t rule out running in the next local elections either.
“It takes a lot of time and planning; you are away from family and friends and it is going to take a few weeks to lick the wounds on it and see where we are at,” he said.
“I feel I got a very good result and and ran a good campaign, especially given the resources we had - both financial and with regards to personnel.”
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