Update: Lessig Not Running For Congress After All

The free-information guru decides winning a congressional seat this year would be impossible

Lawrence Lessig

Delivering his "Final Free Culture Lecture" at Stanford in January.lessig08.org

That was anticlimactic. A little more than a week after announcing that he was considering running for a recently vacated seat in California's 12th congressional district, tech thinker and Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig announced yesterday on his blog that he wasn't running after all. The reason is simple enough. A pollster showed Lessig that there was "no possible way" for him to win. And it wouldn't be pleasant.

Lessig said (via yet another voice-annotated slideshow movie): "We would lose in a big way." He explains further: "I don't think losing is always a bad thing. Indeed, most of my career has been a career demonstrating how losing happens. But if the aim of this was to convince others of the salience of the Change Congress movement"—this is the movement he launched about a week ago to eventually wean Congress off of lobbyist money—"of its potential, to inspire success and to draw attention and support, then losing big in the first important battle is not an effective strategy. My losing and running would do more harm than good for that movement."

Sad news, but a sound decision.