On the road with the candidate

Posted on April 2, 2010. Filed under: Christian American, Political Activism, Politics, Tea Party Movement | Tags: , , |

If I wasn’t spending so much time creating group and event pages on social networking sites, uploading pictures and current news of the candidate I am supporting I might have time to actually write more about said candidate and my experiences with such said candidate’s campaign!  Whew!

Last Saturday I had a rare treat. A glimpse into the life of a  grassroots candidate on his Saturday tour around his congressional district.  At a previous Meet & Greet for this candidate I had flippantly suggested to his communications director that I would love to be a “groupie” for a day.  Now, I say I said this flippantly because if the communications director didn’t bite on it I could save my dignity and say, “but I realize that wouldn’t be possible since I’m just a little rah-rah girl.” 

However, if this said PR guy did bite on it  I would be able to continue my secret wish of seeing first hand the workings of a political campaign.  He bit. I was scheduled to travel with candidate and staff of two.

My day started at 8:30AM when I put a call into the communications director to ask what the days events were and how I should dress appropriately.  We were scheduled inside and outside that day.  I sheepishly asked, “did I wake you up?”  What a silly question.  “No, was the response..My day started three hours ago with email and news alerts. We are jumping in the car now for our two-hour drive to you!”

My first scheduled appearance with the candidate this Saturday was a phone bank I had set up for him.  I was meeting several other volunteers willing to give two hours to work the phones identifying party supporters. If we identified who the voters are that will vote for our candidate without much prodding it will save campaign funds down the road sending mailings.

At 11 o’clock I arrived at the restaurant.  Twelve wonderful servants showed up to make calls, some nervously. At 11:05AM I received a phone call from my candidate that he was getting off the exit.  He was very excited to meet the folks and get us going on making calls.  We all scurried inside awaited his arrival.

Cheerfully, our candidate greeted us with a short synopsis of his platform and some current news related to his campaign.  He explained the phone bank process and his staff distributed the phone bank lists.  He ordered pizza and soda for the volunteers, answered a few questions, thanked everyone for their time and support and then excused himself to his next destination.

Since, this is where I jumped on the campaign express I kissed my kid, handed his baseball stuff to a friend who was taking him home for me, thanked my fellow volunteers for coming, grabbed my bag and steno pad and headed for the car with the candidate and campaign staff.

Now, the phone bank was somewhat in the boonies and the next event was in the boonies in a different part of the district.  The directions acquired by the communications director would have routed us from the opposite direction.  So, my value on this expedition increased immediately as I was able to direct us via back roads to the protest rally we were heading too.

As we pulled up to the rally we could see about 50 patriotic citizens assembled at the gate of a national wildlife preserve. This group had assembled for what they called a “for the birds” protest rally of wasteful spending of taxpayers money. Money going to haul dirt in to cover a runway so the birds would have a nice place to drop their droppings.

The candidate jumped from the car, almost before we came to a complete stop,  ready to engage the fired up crowd.  Later, his communications director would tell him that was the best speech he had heard my candidate give so far.  The mixture of zeal from the assembled “ticked off” citizenry and the crisp outdoor air added to the energy of the moment.

These generous community minded patriots quickly collected almost 900 dollars for the candidate by passing a hat. That is truly grassroots American generosity at its best!

After a quick walk around shaking hands and briefly answering questions we were back in the car. The communications director refocused the candidate.  The drive to the next event was about 40 minutes.  Enough time to go over the candidates presentation to the protestors. I informed this is “Critique of how candidate did” time. 

The consensus was Candidate had missed on two points and these needed correction.  ‘I give you a strong A for this time with the folks,”  communications director said.  “So do I!” chimed in campaign staffer and designated driver. That was real encouragement to candidate.

“Was there a reporter there?” someone asked.

“Yes.” I replied.  “He was standing to my left.”

My Candidate is trying out a new campaign slogan, “Had Enough?”  In earlier interchanges with voters he had received a less than enthusiastic response but, with this group of outdoor protestors he heard a boisterous “Yes!”  “We have had enough!”

“Next,” mumbled the communications director as he thumbed his blackberry, “we must address the question you will be hearing more often,  What is your opinion of the Tea Party movement and especially the claim the Tea Partier’s are racist?”

My ears perked. I was especially interested in this planned response from my candidate considering I am one of those Tea Partier’s.

Candidate didn’t hesitate and stated, “My response is, It’s wonderful more American’s are getting involved in the process. They may be some inappropriate sayings and signs but for the most part Tea Partier’s are great patriotic people and should be encouraged to continue to get active.”

Good answer.  I smiled.  Isn’t that what I’m doing right this very moment by sitting next to someone who could be described as “the nice guy next door” candidate in his less -then- prestigious car driving around a congressional district I didn’t even realize existed a year ago.

After peeling and eating a banana, candidate asked,  “Do we have time to stop on this leg for something to eat?”  “NO,” was the response.

I had stuffed the other half of a cream cheesed bagel into my bag just incase.  I offered it to Candidate.  To my amazement he humbly accepted it and didn’t waste a beat eating it.  We arrived at our destination sooner than planned and made a swing through McDonald’s for cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, fries, and sodas.  I asked, as I unwrapped my sandwich, “is this really chicken?”  I can’t imagine a months long menu of fast food dining!

At senior center voters showed up, paid the entrance fee to hear our candidate and enjoy refreshments.  It was a nice affair with decorated red, white, and blue table, lottery for donated gifts, and generous contributions to the campaign.

Since I knew some of these awesome patriots from earlier jaunts to DC and local rallies and meetings it was a wonderful time of Tea Party networking for me.

After goodbyes  to the senior group and we were back in the car. This car time was the most interesting of the day for me. Early on in the day the communications director informed me that certain things were for “in the car discussion and certain things were Not for out of the car discussion.”  Boy, did I feel important to be “in on” the inside the car discussions!

Minutes later the candidate was stuffing some campaign papers inside the storage sleeve of the back side of the driver’s seat and pulled up a soft baby neck sleep aid.  The stuffing was oozing out of the torn edge.  “This is my son’s,” he said.  “When we are in the car and he is cranky we give it to him to rest his neck on.”  I responded,  “I think maybe we should get little son of candidate a new one!”   “Yeh,” he chuckled.  Obviously, missing the little guy that snuggled the familiar object.

I pondered what it must be like for a husband and father of such a young child to be away so much. It only served to reinforce my high opinion of this candidate.  He wasn’t in this just to win or for the money and prestige.  That reflective star out the window said, “I’m in this because I’m concerned for the future of my family…of my son.”

Rule # 2 of a campaign groupie: Realize that the amount of time, effort, emotional energy, and physical stamina required to win a campaign is doubled for the candidate.  All the more reason to know what his true motive to win is all about.

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One Response to “On the road with the candidate”

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Great article, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope you continue to share your adventures with us ; looking forwad to your next post!


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