Run over a dog during a parade? No.
Yell at someone when you're out doorbelling? I've actually heard about this happening, and that person didn't win, but still no.
Have an outside group spend tons of money on your campaign in what we call "independent spending." The candidate in this case isn't seeking this spending, but rather, a totally independent group, with no organization with the actual campaign, puts money into the game.
And, in the past few cycles, every candidate that has had money spent in their name without their control has lost.
Independent spending in county commissioner races first started in earnest in 2006 when about 58,000 was spent for Kevin O'Sullivan and $7,000 against him. In contrast, just about $3,000 was spent in favor of his successful opponent Bob Macleod. So, despite outspending Macleod $99,000 to $63,000 in campaign money overall, the extra independent money hung around his neck like a chain and brought him down.
We see the same thing happen in 2009 when just about $20,000 was spent in the name of Democrat Jon Halvorson, $7,000 for Republican Judy Wilson and $1,403 for Robin Edmondson. Each lost, with Halvorson with the most spent, when down first in the primary.
Also, in 2008, Cathy Wolfe (Wilson's opponent) had $6,500 spent against her in independent spending. That money ended up kicking back at Wilson.
So, with a special sort of election between Pat Beehler and Karen Valenzuela for another county commission seat this year, how will independent spending impact his race?
Well, first, it might not. The amounts of independent spending have dropped through the floor. Typically, the more conservative candidate gets more independent money spent in their name, but Beehler has only seen $1,300 go out for him.
The other part is about $260 that has been spent for Valenzuela and against Beehler and Dan Venable (who lost in the primary). I'm assuming this is the same expenditure split between its targets.
If you go by total numbers, Beehler will go down. Or, the spending will have no impact and we'll just see who wins on their own merits.
All that said, there probably isn't a direct connection between independent spending and victory, but rather a convenient coexistence. In short, its much more likely that independent spending will go to a candidate that some people (like builders) really want to win, but who doesn't really have what it takes. Or, is seen as needing to be propped up.