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Opinion: For one Ohio candidate, it was over before it was over

Ohio congressional candidate Derek Myers may have lost a primary election, but his campaign's errant keystrokes and communication missteps have gotten him some attention.
Gene J. Puskar
Associated Press
Ohio congressional candidate Derek Myers may have lost a primary election, but his campaign's errant keystrokes and communication missteps have gotten him some attention.

Who among us hasn't hit the Send button too soon? Before we noticed a misspelled word, a wrong number or an incomprehensible sentence?

Whatever your politics, it's hard not to feel for Derek Myers, who was running as what he called the "America First" candidate for the Republican nomination for Ohio's 2nd Congressional District.

At 3:19 p.m. Tuesday, primary voting day in Ohio, Myers sent out a statement that began, "Tonight did not go as we had hoped" and conceded defeat.

Except the polls were still open until 7:30 p.m. People who wanted to vote for him or any of his 10 opponents still had nearly four and a half hours to do so.

At 3:30 p.m., Myers posted on X: "Attention Press: My campaign comms team has sent out an email in error as we prepare for both possible outcomes tonight. ... Please disregard the email. Thank you."

Then at 4:00 p.m., Myers had another post, to explain, "The concession email was sent in error as it was being loaded into the media distribution portal. ... Accidentally, the 'send now' button was clicked instead of 'draft.'"

"Anyone who works in communications," he added, "knows it's not uncommon to have speeches and releases prepared in the event of each outcome, especially on such an impotent night."

Except whoever entered the keystrokes on Myers' message left out the "r" in "important" and put an "e" after the first "t," which turned "important" into an altogether different word.

Do I need to spell it out for you?

The post was fixed, but enshrined by screenshots.

It does seem all too easy these days to miss or mis-strike a key and wind up saying something unplanned and awkward. Imagine if historical figures had written some of their best-known phrases in hurried tweets.

Abraham Lincoln might have proclaimed at Gettysburg, "Four sore and even years ago ..."

Franklin D. Roosevelt might have tried to rally the nation during the Great Depression by posting, "The only thing we have to fear is beer itself!"

Or Richard Nixon might have tried to assure the country during the Watergate investigations, "Well, I'm not a cook ..."

Myers finished 11th in a field of 11 candidates. There are many politicians who have lost elections but have gone on to win high office later. If Derek Myers chooses to run again, he'll certainly have an asset next time because of a few slippery-fingered keystrokes: nam recognition.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.

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