Don’t despair. You ran a good Election campaign and you can be proud of that, whatever the outcome.
If there was a very narrow margin between you and the last person who got elected, you might be entitled to call for a recount. The candidates’ guide explains when and how a recount might be possible. You are not obliged to ask for a recount, but you should also know that a recount won’t be triggered automatically if the votes are close – it has to be requested, and I think it can only be requested by the person who narrowly missed out. (If you’re in this position and you’re not sure what you’re entitled to, ask for official advice!)
If you missed out this time, but you still want to be elected in future, then sit down and do a post-mortem of your campaign as soon as you can. What do you think went well? What would you do differently next time? If you can bear it, ask friends and family, and maybe even new acquaintances from the campaign trail, what they thought. Make a plan for things you want to do over the next four years to raise your profile, or deepen your political understanding. I know it might be hard to do that while you’re still feeling rotten about the results, but it’s worth doing while the campaign is still fresh in your mind – it will fade surprisingly fast – and having a new plan will give you some fresh focus and determination, to fill the gap after this very intense period.
Apart from that, if you can, allow yourself a moment to rest before you get back to the daily grind. The last few weeks have been extraordinary. Do something nice to reward yourself – the outcome wasn’t what you wanted, but you can be proud of what you’ve done, and of your willingness to put yourself forward to serve your Island. Very few people are brave enough to do that.
If you choose not to try again, then good luck to you in whatever else you do next. Don’t lose your commitment to public service – turn it into something else, if you can: volunteering or hands-on work or leadership of some other kind. If you do want to run for the States again, then take this experience, learn from it, and come back stronger in future. Election campaigns are like driving tests – who knows if you’ll pass the first time around, or if it’ll take ten attempts. (Ok, maybe that’s just me.) Either way, the end result is the same. Keep at it. Good luck.