Recently freed from his Congressional campaign responsibilities, Nate Shinagawa ’05 M.A. ’09 went to the gym last week. It was the first time he had been in more than eight months — or since he first declared his candidacy for New York’s 23rd Congressional seat on March 14.
After spending nearly every waking hour on the campaign trail, Shinagawa — who lost to incumbent Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y. 29) by about three percentage points on Nov. 6 — says he is now enjoying a little peace and quiet.
“People asked me if I wanted to go see a movie, and I said, ‘Wow, hey why not,’” Shinagawa said. “It’s a total sacrifice when you’re running for office … so it’s nice to take a little bit to get grounded.”
But Shinagawa’s break may be fleeting. With 2014 just around the corner, Shinagawa has already begun to consider whether or not he will vie for Congress again.
“I’m thinking about it,” Shinagawa said in an interview with The Sun this week. “It’s definitely something I’ll consider, but the problem is that it’s so hard to run on your own.”
While Shinagawa has returned to his job as an administrator at the Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pa., he said that forgoing his income for almost an entire year to campaign proved a strain on his personal finances.
“When you run for these seats, it’s a sacrifice,” he said, adding that he made, on average, more than 100 phone calls to donors a day. “If you’re not a millionaire, if you’re not independently wealthy, it’s very difficult because you have to spend so much time running, and running for Congress doesn’t pay.”
According to filings with the Federal Elections Commission, Shinagawa was outspent by an approximately three-to-one margin throughout the campaign by Reed. Shinagawa said that disparity could have been greater had he not paid for much of the campaign costs — some food costs for the campaign, for instance — out of pocket.
Still, Shinagawa stressed that his personal finances would not be the main determining factor in his decision to run in 2014. Instead, Shinagawa said he will be closely monitoring how much support his campaign can garner from outside organizations, such as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Commission.
“I think the main consideration is the numbers ... can we get some support from unions, the DCCC, environmental groups?” Shinagawa said. “Resources are so limited, and people are trusting me with their money.”
Until the time to make that decision comes, Shinagawa will enjoy the serenity of being away from the campaign trail.