Considered a rising star in the Labour Party but rocketed out of Parliament after just one term, Stuart Nash today walks the gait of some of his party's most challenged constituents - a man without a job and a child on the way.
But standing before his faithful on Saturday night at Labour's Napier soiree in the Westshore Inn - beaten by incumbent National MP Chris Tremain on the local front and his List MP role disappearing amid the implosion of Labour's share of the party vote - he could still see the positive side.
He had clawed back MP Chris Tremain's National Party majority in Napier by almost two-thirds, from a 2008 final margin of 9018 in 2008 to 3382 on Saturday night and, in a declining turnout across the electorate, had increased Labour's vote and share.
Mr Tremain's 2008 total of 20,898 (59.7 per cent) compared with Saturday night's poll of 16,149 (51.1 per cent). In 2008, Labour's Russell Fairbrother posted 11,880 (33.94 per cent), while Mr Nash went home on Saturday night with 12,767 (40.4 per cent). The down-side was that at No 27 on the party list, a parliamentary seat seen pre-election as at risk was pulled out from under him early in the night and, in the end, he was six places away from getting it back.
With the same trend chopping Hawke's Bay's longest serving MP, party colleague and No 25-ranked former Member for Hastings and Tukituki, Rick Barker, there are now no Labour MPs living in Hawke's Bay for the first time since 1954.
Mr Nash's personal support, however, was possibly enough to encourage another go in 2014, but the 44-year-old wasn't making any decisions on his political future.
The idea he could take a "break" was a bit of an election night faux pas as partner Sarah Alexander-Willcox reminded him of imminent other responsibilities, an addition to the Nash political chain due a few days before Christmas.
Despite a hard-working campaign, the numbers were on the screen for Mr Nash early on Saturday night and, with results in from about half the Napier booths, the biggies still to come in, he had pondered Monday morning and said: "Looking at the party vote, I look for a job".
As the hammer finally came down just before 10pm, he said: "I'll take a couple of weeks off and make a decision as to whether I'll get back into the political game."
He was non-committal on whether he might even look at local body politics, noting his city's next election is still "two years away".
"It didn't quite turn out the way I'd hoped," he said, thanking his campaign team, and supporters.
Mr Nash said: "We were always fighting uphill and we knew that. We will in three years' time be left again to pick up the pieces, but the Labour brand will be incredibly strong."
Raised in Napier, Mr Nash completed a BA at Victoria University before other studies in forestry and business management, and worked in forestry and agriculture in Japan for a year, followed by stints with the Taranaki Regional Council, and in forestry with Fletcher Challenge and Carter Holt.
He won Labour's nomination for an unsuccessful bid in Epsom in 2005 and, in 2007, he moved back to Napier, unsuccessfully challenged Mr Fairbrother for the Labour nomination for the 2008 election, and was CEO of the Art Deco Trust.