A POLITICAL candidate is hoping to win the sympathy vote after he was bitten by a dog while out on the campaign trail in South Tyneside.
John Clarke, who is contesting the Primrose by-election in Jarrow on Thursday, June 27, was delivering leaflets in Burnside when the accident happened.
He felt a sudden, sharp pain when he put his hand through a letterbox.
A dog on the other side of the door had caused a quarter inch cut to his finger and his hand was covered in blood after the incident last Saturday afternoon.
Fortunately, a good Samaritan neighbour took him into her home, cleaned the wound and put on a makeshift bandage.
A colleague then drove Mr Clarke to the accident and emergency department at South Tyneside District Hospital.
Mr Clarke, 57, an accountant with the NHS, said: “It was the first time I’d been out delivering leaflets. Some people can campaign for years and something like this never happens.
“It was a horrible feeling. When I approached the door I didn’t hear anything, there was no sounds or barking. I just felt a sudden, sharp pain and there were stars in my eyes.
“I really would like to thank the lady who came and helped me – she even said she would vote for me.
“After this, I might at least pick up some sympathy votes.”
Despite his ordeal, Mr Clarke doesn’t blame the dog – which he never even saw.
He added: “I was a bit shaken, but it’s just one of those things. The dog was only protecting its owner’s property.
“I suppose it’s just an occupational hazard of being an election candidate.”
Mr Clarke has taken a break from leafleting for a few days while his hand recovers, but vowed to continue the campaign.
He added: “I might be a bit more cautious in future but it won’t stop me from getting out and meeting local people in the run-up to polling day. It’s an important by-election and there’s a lot at stake for the people of Primrose ward and South Tyneside.”
n The other candidates standing in the by-election are: John Dagg (Conservative); Moira Smith (Labour) and Martin Vaughan (British National Party).