I haven’t written anything here for quite some time. Lots of reasons for that, not the least of which is my ongoing campaign effort. I thought I might jot down a few quick thoughts/reactions from the campaign trail.
- Those who read this blog, probably remember seeing that I did well in the Primary. Finished first out of two by a significant margin. Both of us advance to the General Election. I won’t be taking anything for granted though, and we have a fairly extensive plan underway for the next 110 days till the election.
- We are in the midst of parade season. Probably half of the 39 towns and villages in the district have some sort of festival or fair during the summer months, and many of those include a parade of some sort. We’ve done four in the last few weeks, have two coming up this weekend, and then 3 or 4 others before the end of August.
- I actually kind of enjoy the parades. Even though I’m something of an introvert, that doesn’t mean that I’m shy, or incapable of turning on bursts of extroversion. The nature of parades are such that even while you may be shaking a lot of hands and exchanging brief pleasantries with folks, you just don’t have time to invest yourself in extended conversation. I like conversation, but I tend not to be real good at initiating it.
- Endorsements are crazy. Money is important.
- While I’ve been blessed with extraordinarily generous friends around the country—many of them from inside the district—I don’t think I realized just how important those bigger PAC and corporate donations could be. I used to think I wouldn’t want to take them, but I learned pretty fast that they are critical to paying the bills and doing the things you really need to do.
- The game playing involved in getting endorsements (and the money that goes along with it—sometimes) is exhausting. Everyone has a questionnaire for you to fill out. Sometimes the questionnaires don’t make total sense—even if you try to put yourself in the shoes of those who sent them. Sometimes you look at the questionnaires and realize that there’s no way you can win, or that there’s no help that a particular group could give you, and you opt not to fill out the questionnaire.
- And then there’s always the problem of groups who *should* endorse you—because of philosophy, or experience, or whatever—and yet they don’t (sometimes they choose not to endorse anyone, sometimes they inexplicably endorse the other guy).
- The hardest things for introverts (at least THIS introvert) to do in politics (although some of this may be a Midwestern personality thing, too):
- Raise money. Asking people for money is incredibly difficult for me. In part, it’s because it requires me to puff myself up, brag on myself, convince people that I’m worthy of supporting, and I’m just not like that. I’m confident in my abilities, but don’t feel the need to tell other people that all the time. I’m having a fundraiser tomorrow night. Two sitting state senators and our candidate for governor are going to be there on my behalf. I was talking to someone who arranges a lot of these things the other night, and asked him about protocol—who introduces who, who gets to speak, etc. He said “Laura, it’s all about you—you get the best speaking spot.” Hmm. Introverts have trouble having things being about them.
- Approaching strangers in public. Like I said, I like shaking hands and greeting people in parades—that doesn’t require me to get into people’s space for any extended period of time. I love Meet and Greets, where people choose to show up, ask me questions, and we talk. And I like sitting down over coffee with groups of folks, and chatting. I like real conversation that I can give real thought to.
- Going to County Fairs and other public gatherings are ok. I don’t mind “waving the flag” so to speak, to show that I was there. But I hate disturbing people when they’re eating their dinner, or doing something with their family. I don’t go to public events (pre-candidacy) to have some politician come up and ask me what I think about water issues in the district (or whatever).
- The best things about the campaign so far:
- Volunteers. I’ve got great friends and volunteers. My family has been great. Friends in the district and outside of the district have answered the call to come and help with parades, canvassing, lit drops and the like.
- Conversations with my kids. My two youngest have been on the road with me quite a bit. We’ve had quite a few car conversations about politics, and just about life, in the car. Sometimes, we turn on the Garth Brooks CDs, and have sing-alongs.
- The people. There are a lot of great people in my district. We had “Meet Laura” events in probably a dozen little diners and bars in small towns during the primary season. Sometimes, people showed up, sometimes they didn’t. When they did, we had some great conversations about the direction that our state should go; when they didn’t, I had conversations with the owners of the establishment, and they’d introduce me to others who had walked in (but not for me), and we’d have conversations.
- The food. As I suggested above, I’ve eaten in a lot of little bars and diners in the last 6 months. The food is great (if not necessarily great for my cholesterol). The best hamburgers, steaks, chicken fried steak/chicken, breakfasts, and in one place, the most decadent, unhealthy and delicious sandwich I’ve eaten ever, I think—fried chicken breast with melted cheese and BACON, on a bun. It was huge, and tremendously good, and I’ll likely never forget it. Fortunately, parade season and door knocking was on the agenda when I was going through my tour of eateries, so no real damage was done on the scale.
The next 110 days will be busy, I’m sure. I hope to pop in here and chronicle things once in a while.
Thanks to Georg and (occasionally) Angela for manning the wheel around here. November will be here soon enough, and then maybe (regardless of the election outcome) I can post with a little more frequency.