We’ve all heard the quote about how we should aspire to be like a duck: calm and smooth on the surface, but paddling like heck underneath. A good political campaign works the same way. Voters (and the opposition!) should see only an organized, powerful message consistently and clearly communicated… but if we want to win, we’d better be paddling our little webbed feet off.
This year, we seemed to glide over the water. Voters saw cleanly designed, upbeat campaign literature show up in their mailboxes and in their newspapers. They read succinct, informative bios of our candidates in the local newspapers. They scrolled through, liked, and shared engaging and informative Facebook posts and videos. They met cheerful, informed candidates and volunteers at their doors and chatted with them on their phones. They read interesting columns written by our candidates. They enjoyed another House Tour, let their kids bounce around in our Harvest Fair obstacle course, and grabbed a donut and a chat outside the IGA before the election.
But we paddled like hell under the surface.
Everyone knows that the campaign team and candidates lived and breathed this thing for ten weeks. But without the input and effort of everyone who contributed in ways both big and small, we would not be celebrating our victories today.
Below the surface, we all, as a team, were churning to November 7. Campaign signs were designed and ordered early. Our 2017 House Tour–which funds an enormous portion of the campaign–was the most successful one ever. This year, we knocked on doors—a significant mission that takes not only a team of brave and determined volunteers, but also hours and hours of behind-the-scenes strategizing. Phone banks were planned, scheduled, and executed. We agonized over the exact wording on ads and mailers, but we also stamped and addressed hundreds of postcards. Columns were written and re-written. A master calendar of every event to take place in Sherman over the course of the campaign was composed, shared, and re-shared. Facebook videos were scripted, filmed, edited, and then scrapped and re-shot again. The newsletter team composed and sent three newsletters focused on the campaign. The newspaper was filled with our letters of support for our candidates as well as letters that clearly illuminated the faults of our opponents. Before the debate, candidates and their volunteer coaches prepped. We solicited donations with a massive letter-mailing campaign; and then tallied, recorded, and tracked all of the paperwork involved in that process. Thank-you letters were written and sent to our donors. Website content was created and constantly updated. Budgets were written, updated, and carefully followed. We ordered, set up, manned, and packed up a bouncy obstacle course for the Harvest Fair; then just weeks later set up, manned, and even enjoyed the always-popular DTC table at the Halloween Bash. We negotiated with IGA to let us host “Donuts with Dems;” then decorated and managed that table for hours. And on Election Day itself, volunteers sat at the polls, crossing off lists of voters and delivering those lists to yet another team of volunteers who made that crucial, final get-out-the-vote push on the phones.
Because we paddled together, as a team, we are celebrating today. It’s undeniable that timing was on our side this year—our town, and our nation, were ready for a change. But without the efforts of every single person who was a part of this mission, from the candidates themselves to the volunteers who found the time to make even a few phone calls, we could very well be facing a far less reassuring future for our town.
Thank you. You did this. There is much work to do moving forward, but first we as a team should take the time to appreciate our wins and recognize our efforts.