Early Thursday morning Aditya Pai, a democratic congressional candidate in California sent out an email to supporters claiming that he is suspending his campaign due to a “lack of joy”. Hours later he sent another email saying that the first correspondence was an “error” by a “now-former aide” and that he is not leaving the race after all.
“I’m writing to announce the suspension of my congressional campaign, Pai for Congress. The reason is simple: a lack of joy,” Pai said in the first email to supporters around 8 a.m Thursday morning. “Life is short. I believe one should enjoy their work. For the past four months, I have not enjoyed mine.”
While the campaign is going well and raised enough money to be competitive, Pai said, his heart was not in it.
“I love the subject matter dearly: politics, law, policy, government. I love helping people,” he added. “But at least at this moment, I don’t enjoy the life of a politician. And were I fortunate enough to be elected, I am now certain, I would be unhappy in Congress.”
In a follow-up email hours later titled Apologies for the scare. I am not going anywhere, Pai said that a “now-former aide” sent the original email “in error,” according to the Orange County Register.
Pai said he wrote the first email as an “emotional processing exercise after an exhausting glimpse into the political machine.”
“I couldn’t stand by the campaign we were running. I couldn’t put my name on that campaign,” Pai said. “So the choice was either to end the campaign or to run a campaign that reveals the real me. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, and so I drafted two letters and the wrong one got sent.”
“I’m staying in the race, but I went through a lot of soul-searching where I questioned the system. I questioned my own character and my track record,” Pai added. “I mean, I don’t do things unless there’s a sense of joy. I really believe that service should be joyful.”
Pai, an attorney, was one of several democrats vying for the chance to unseat Rep. Michelle Steel (R-CA) in California’s 45th congressional district in 2024.
This post has been updated.