Campaign managers look ahead - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Campaign managers look ahead

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Voters cast their ballots, and the candidates learned their fates. But on November 7, what happens to the people who lived for November 6? The people who for weeks, months, even years, toiled on political campaigns?

"There's at least some part of insanity that has to be part of it, I think, you can't choose to do it, you have to love it," said Chris Stadelman, the manager for Governor Tomblin's campaign. "You're passionate about politics and the person you are working for."

Meet Ward Wyatt and Chris Stadelman. They're both campaign managers. And even though they saw different outcomes on Election Day, both agree this life involves sacrifice.

"People gave up full-time jobs, and would travel 16 hours a day, seven days a week," Stadelman said. "That's the kind of sacrifice folks will make for such a great leader."

While Stadelman works in Charleston, his wife stays at home in Tucker County. He said everyone on a campaign team gives their all, with no guarantee of victory.

"You either run unopposed or you run scared, but you never know what's going to happen when you go into it," he said.

Wyatt knows the trade-off all too well. To take the job as Kent Leonhardt's manager, he moved from Texas, broke up with his girlfriend, and missed his friends' wedding.

Kent Leonhardt lost to Walt Helmick in the race for state agricultural commissioner.

"There's sacrifices," Wyatt said. "I'm 25 years old, I'm running my first statewide campaign. I'm willing to make those sacrifices."

But Leonhardt's defeat fails to deflate Wyatt's political aspirations.

"It's been exhausting, it's been exhilarating. It's been fulfilling, it's what I want to do with my life," Wyatt said.

As for Stadelman, you can take the manager out of the campaign, but you can't take the campaign out of the manager.

"You don't do it for the money, you don't do it for the politics, you do it for the person you're working for."

Stadelman will return to his public relations firm, The Manahan Group, based in Elkins.

Wyatt is looking at political jobs in West Virginia or Texas. Multiply their journeys by hundreds--and that's the blood, sweat, and tears, that go into every election year.