Building a Campaign From the Ground Up: Getting up at 5:30am to go to SEC Dems Meeting in Hamlet

Ninety percent of volunteering is just showing up. Even when that means rolling out of bed at 5:30am on a weekend and freezing your butt off while planting yard signs in a dress.

The past few days in the office have been basic behind-the-scenes stuff that has to be done: phone calls, data entry, etc. Important, yes, but it doesn't exactly make for a thrilling blog post. ;)

Though I did help out at the College Democrats event at UNC on Thursday night, and that was fantastic. I just want to comment for a moment not only on the 100+ students who took time to come hear a political candidate speak, but on all the kids who are volunteering or working with the campaign. I really honor their spirit, their energy, and their passion. When I was in college, I couldn't have cared less about politics. So I have admire them for stepping up and getting involved here.

UNC's event was only scheduled to go for an hour; the students had so many questions that it went for almost twice that. Here's its write-up in the Daily Tar Heel.

Afterward, a group of volunteers gathered at the WB Yeats, but by the time I got back to my car I was really cold -- the event was in Gardner Hall and I was parked over by the News Services building, near the Newman Center (Pittsboro St., across from the Carolina Inn). It was as close as I could get, thanks to an event going on in Memorial Hall. Ahhh, the "joys" of trying to find on-campus parking. *eyeroll*

So feeling rather like an icicle, I opted for going home. So much for me being a party animal. ;)

Friday was a quiet morning of data entry in the office, but 5:30am Saturday rolled around all too quickly. I can't recall the last time I willingly got out of bed before sunrise. I note that when the alarm went off, I saw that I must've already hit "snooze" once and not even remembered it. I groaned, crawled out of bed and into the shower, got dressed, put my face on, and got my caffeine delivery method of choice (iced tea) brewing.

My ride showed up around 6:10am; I brushed my teeth and my hair -- miraculously applied the correct brush to each given the hour of the day and my state of wakefulnes, grabbed my camera, iPod, drink, purse, and coat, and we were off. We met up with the rest of Team Neal at the Bruegger's in Chapel Hill for a quick bite to eat, a review of the game plan, then we got on the road for Hamlet.

Mind you, I'm biased, but I think ours was one of the the most organized groups, if not THE most organized group, down there. Only lieutenant governor candidate Hampton Dellinger's people were in Hamlet before we were, planting signs.

By 8:45am Saturday morning this was what our table at the Richmond Community College looked like:

Open for Business

We were open for business and ready to go! We had several people stop by our table and tell us that they would have gotten lost on the way to the event, if not for our signs, and that for that reason alone we had their vote. ;)

We had prime placement, too. Our table was right by the door, so we were the first thing people saw as they came in. Of course, we also got a blast of cold air every time the door opened, too...

We were beside the Roy Carter folks, and they were as nice as they could be. I live in David Price's district, but I did say I'd tell folks about the Democracy for America website where you can vote for Carter. Until the Carter people arrived, we were table-neighbors with the Dan Besse team, who were also a friendly bunch.

Across from us was Bev Perdue's table; they had great placement as far as signs -- they were able to lean a couple against the glass so people could see 'em as they walked up -- but they were just as cold as us whenever the door opened.

And I got to meet fellow BlueNCer lcloud! *waves* It was great to put a real, live person with the online name.

As I said before, I'm more of an introvert by nature, so I primarily stayed behind the table; we had other folks (younger, more outgoing, more photogenic) who are good at mixing and mingling who were wandering around handing out stickers and pointing people to the table where they could sign up for the mailing list, get a bumper sticker or yard sign, etc.

Lunch was fantastic: eastern NC bbq, fried chicken, hush puppies.

While we were variously staffing the table, planting yard signs, handing out stickers, or attending breakout sessions, our candidate was likewise mixing and mingling. Something -- or someone, rather -- was missing. We looked and looked, but there was no Kay Hagan.

Finally, after lunch, just before the 1pm session, she arrived, with a small amount of promotional material. All the Senatorial candidates spoke briefly to the assembled group, though I thought our guy sounded the best, by far.

After all the candidates spoke, we cleaned up our table, made sure there were signs by the Hamlet Depot for the reception later, and took our tired selves back to the Triangle.

I hope to see lots of you at the Open House on Monday night! Remember to RSVP to action@jimnealforsenate.com if you plan to come by.

Comments

Angrygrrl

It was wonderful to meet you! I meant to tell you that I never needed directions to find RCC because the Jim Neal signs lead me there. On the way home, we had to stop so Momoaizo could grab a Neal sign for her yard. :-D.

Kay Hagan was there, and I spoke with her briefly. She's a very nice woman (and I've always thought she was a good state senator). She is aware of BlueNC, and is interested in doing a live-blog at some point. I will be emailing her this afternoon to get try and set that up. Her speech was okay - nothing to write home (or here!) about.

I was thrilled by the energy level when Mr. Neal took the stage. Wow. Just freaking wow.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

I'm sure she means well

And no doubt she does a good job for her constituents in Greensboro; I'm just not convinced that she's the one force Liddy to take her flying monkeys and go home. ;)

No, I'm not convinced either.

In fact, I'm convinced Jim Neal is the one to exorcise the Liddy demon.

I think what we saw yesterday was the difference between being drafted and volunteering. Hagan was drafted by the grand high poobahs of the party to run - after Jim announced. Jim volunteered. He wanted to do this. He's ready, and I was delighted to finally meet him yesterday.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

You hit the nail on the head

the difference between being drafted and volunteering.

Yes. Exactly.

As one of her constituents

I'm not convinced either. As I've said before, I don't have a problem with Kay but I think Jim Neal has a far better chance of sending Dole back to Kansas or wherever she lives.

I agree with Chun Yang that her heart just isn't in this race. She probably got back in out of party loyalty.

It's the volunteer vs draft thing, truly

I agree with Chun Yang that her heart just isn't in this race. She probably got back in out of party loyalty.

Bless her heart.

That's my impression, too.

sorry I missed the fun!

I will be back in the office tomorrow, but the combination this week of my son having bronchitis and my husband suddenly having a lot of last-minute meetings scheduled is disturbing the force in my routine!

I will second angry grrl that the young volunteers are awesome! My college years involved protests, tear gas, armed police, and later college I was just too busy to be as involved. Still, we boomers did vote, and I like to see this age group feeling like their participation matters. IT DOES. Even when our candidates don't win(Jim Neal will, but some of us must face defeat in other races) - it is still worth it to get out there and stand up for the best.

Looking forward to the open house, and will probably bring my son - my husband has another last minute meeting!

I just want to add - why is Kay Hagan running? Really, her heart does not seem to be in it if she isn't going to show up til noon. Of course, that is better than Liddy Dole shows up, but she has a good excuse - she does not live in North Carolina!

I get to meet the cookie-baker!

Yay! Looking forward to meeting your cookie-baker activist-in-training. :)

I won't be there in the morning on Monday; I'm skewing my schedule around to do my paid job in the morning/early afternoon that day so that I can come in around 4pm and help prep for the open house Monday night.

Total agreement on Hagan. Her presence at the event yesterday was negligible, and when people heard her and our guy speak back-to-back, there really was no comparison.

Jim's speech was HOT!

Loved meeting you and Jim too. I was impressed by his speech, it was a slow start but the build up was inspiring. He made me feel that he truly wants to represent me. Ms. Hagan...not so inspiring. (Linda, thanks for stopping with me to get that sign.) :)

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Likewise

Ditto; I'm sorry we didn't get more of a chance to talk, but I'm glad you were able to snag a yard sign. As we were packing up, I saw another group of BlueNC folks but we were moving in opposite directions at the time.

And a side note: was it really snowing very briefly yesterday morning, or was someone pulling my leg when they said that?

There was...

...about 5 minutes of sleet. Then it got much warmer.

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

OK

Thanks. What I heard was "It's blowing snow outside!" And of course, every time the door opened, we got a blast of cold air. :)

Forgot to add...

Oh, and in a surreal moment -- there was a brief lull in activity just before 1pm when the candidates were to speak, and a woman came up to me and asked if I was growing my hair, which is down past my waist, for Locks of Love. I said, "Er, no." She looked startled at my quick comeback (maybe expecting something more along the lines of a "Who are they, and what do they do?") and said, "So you're just going to keep all that hair yourself?" I nodded and smiled.

If I had been attending on my own, I might have engaged her on it and maybe done some education on donating to somewhere like Beautiful Lengths, as opposed to the scams that are LoL and Wigs for Kids. As it was, I just let it go.

Awesome, can't believe i'm missing out

On

Lunch was fantastic: eastern NC bbq, fried chicken, hush puppies.

Mississippi why do you fail me!?

Yet i'm glad to see the great effort you guys are putting up for Jim. Good luck for us not close enough to help! And thank you angry grrl!

Our children need to know that some people fought back, when others collaborated.

Our children need to know that some people fought back, when others collaborated.

long-distance support

We welcome support from all over; thanks for the good wishes. :)

This officially qualifies you for sainthood, angry grrl.

Or at least a $25 Outback gift certificate.

... rolling out of bed at 5:30am on a weekend and freezing your butt off while planting yard signs in a dress.

Seriously. Especially because you had to go back that night and pull up all the signs, too. Those yard signs lining the highway were great, though. Made me smile the whole way in!!

=============================
I choose to be inspired.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

I only did light sign-planting

The rest of the team -- Joe, Rob, Amber, Alex, Alex, Emily, and Evan -- did the 200 or so of the sign-blitz, and they definitely deserve sainthood and a good dinner. :)

:) Wow.

We're gonna need more halos. ;) Jim's signs really did help with directions. Once the signs started, no one needed to look at a map again.

I should be able to make it up to the open house tomorrow night. Hope to meet you then!

I choose to be inspired.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Excellent!

I'll be wearing a purple top and black skirt, and I have long auburn hair, so please say hello if you see me. :)

Odd.

double post

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Im glad I wasnt on sign duty

That sounds painful.

I did knock on a few doors for Larry in between the "County Keys" meeting and the 1pm session.

I had a great response. I spoke with 3 people, only one of whom knew who Larry was. The one who knew who he was told me that he was a Democrat, and he knew of Larry, and was looking forward to voting for him in November.

One of the ones who didnt know him was a 50 year old woman who told me that the only time you ever see Robin Hayes is when he does one thing right before election day. She wanted to know more about Larry, so I told her a little, and found a new convert.

The other was an African-American male about my age (young) who called me over to him because he thought I was someone else. When I told him I was actually just a volunteer for Larry, and not from the area, he asked for the literature to read. All I had to do was say "Democrat running for Congress" and "Running against the Republican Incumbent Robin Hayes" and he was pretty happy. The icing on the cake was when I told him that Larry was just a few streets over also knocking on doors.

Richmond County is a great place to be. I should also mention a thanks to Jim Neal, Pat Smathers, Larry Kissell, Jim Long, and the long list of sponsors who showed up at the College Dem event after a long day to honor Wayne Goodwin.

Jim had a great speech for that. It was "Thank You, good night"

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

sometimes short and sweet is best

Jim had a great speech for that. It was "Thank You, good night"

And all's well that ends well. :)

Possibility.

I may be able to duck out of the office in Concord today around 4ish, making it possible for me to be in Durham by 6. If so, I fully expect to be harassed in person by all present BlueNC users. We shall see.

please do

The more, the merrier! :)