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Lessons Learned from an Independent Campaign in Worcester, MA

4 min read
Emily Dexter · Dec 8, 2023

Of the dozens of Good Party certified candidates who ran as independents in the Nov. 7, 2023 elections across the United States, one notable campaign journey belonged to Feanna Jattan-Singh, an independent candidate for city council in Worcester, Massachusetts. 

Jattan-Singh spoke with Good Party about what she learned from her time campaigning for local office, as well as about her plans to campaign again in the next election cycle.

Feanna Jattan-Singh ran an independent campaign to represent District 3 on Worcester’s city council, and challenged the incumbent city council member George Russell. In the end, Russell won reelection with 75.1% of the vote — but only after having spent about $27,000 on his campaign. Jattan-Singh came away with 24.9% of the vote, after spending just $500. In terms of efficiency, Russell spent about $10.38 per vote received, while Jattan-Singh spent only about $0.61 per vote received. While Russell successfully maintained his seat on Worcester’s city council, Jattan-Singh succeeded in connecting with community members and building a strong foundation on which to build her next campaign.

“[Russell] was really nervous that I was going to beat him,” Jattan-Singh said. “He had big eight-foot signs put up all over, and he really targeted the businesses.”

In addition to Russell’s advantage as an incumbent and his larger bank of campaign contributions, Jattan-Singh said Russell also had other advantages going into the election. For instance, Russell had received endorsements from major local unions. He had also built up name recognition over more than 30 years working as a realtor in Worcester, while Jattan-Singh, who is also a realtor, has only been in the business for about six years.

“It was a David-against-Goliath kind of fight,” Jattan-Singh said. “For me to get 25% of the votes, I feel like I did good, even though I didn't win.”

Jattan-Singh said that initially, she decided to run for office because she wanted to get a sidewalk built on Sunderland Road, a main road where elementary school students often walk to school. From there, she became invested in more problems that affect the daily lives of Worcester residents, such as affordable housing, homelessness, and currently unreliable public transit. 

Going forward, she plans to run for city council again during the next election in 2025. 

“A lot of people in the end were telling me, ‘If you don't win, you should run again.’ I'm like, ‘Don't worry. If I don't win, I'm definitely going to run again, because I'm going to run until I win or until I make him so tired that he wants to stop running,’” Jattan-Singh said.

In the meantime, Jattan-Singh has plans to continue serving her community and building the foundation of her next campaign. Currently, she is considering representing District 3 on the Worcester Public Library’s board of directors. She is also in the process of raising campaign funds from grassroots donors, expanding her social media presence, and earning endorsements and volunteer support for 2025.

“I want to prove myself so people can see who I am, that I can make change, and that I am for the community,” Jattan-Singh said.

Remaining a truly independent candidate is also important to Jattan-Singh. Though she and Russell technically competed in a nonpartisan election on Nov. 7, Jattan-Singh said that her competitor played into partisan politics and even tried to pigeonhole her into a political affiliation which she does not claim.

“I was running as independent or nonpartisan because I don't feel like parties should have to do with getting things done,” Jattan-Singh said. “Partisanship should not stop progress. I feel like people that are so focused on their parties are becoming blindsided to what the real issues are in society. They're just trying to stick to their guns.”

Jattan-Singh is not only an independent; she is also a Good Party certified candidate, meaning she has committed to running a people-powered, anti-corruption campaign that focuses on solving real issues in her community. To learn more and support Jattan-Singh’s next campaign, visit her campaign website or sign up to volunteer with Good Party.


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By Emily Dexter
Emily Dexter is the content marketing coordinator at Good Party. Based in the Midwest, she brings a fresh perspective and editorial experience to the team.