Building a Campaign from the Ground Up: Day Two

(Second in a series detailing my experiences volunteering for Jim Neal's Senate campaign)

Yesterday, I got to the office and wow! It's coming together and starting to look like an office now. There's even a computer or two. Still no internet, though. But it does have phones, and that other most crucial piece of office equipment -- the microwave. ;)

After another excursion for supplies (manila envelopes, sticky notes, paper clips, etc.), we settled down for a morning of stuffing envelopes and talking about the issues: who's seen "Charlie Wilson's War," who was wearing orange yesterday in support of the ACLU's call for the closing of Guantanamo, that sort of thing. Sad to say, I don't actually own any orange clothes. :/

As an aside -- do y'all remember all that futuristic talk in the late '90s about "the paperless office"? Ha, I say, ha. My paid job is editor for a small press; while the publishing industry would seem to be inherently the opposite of paperless, we can still do things like receive purchase orders via email, and send cover proofs as PDFs, that sort of thing. But in my seven years of working for this organization, we are no more paperless now than we were in 2001.

Again, this also hearkens back to my experiences volunteering with and running science fiction conventions. People respond to actually having a piece of paper in their hands. You can send all the email reminders you want, but you get a better follow-through from the postcard. So the best you can do is use recycled products wherever possible...

Anyway, digression over. Later when I got back to my computer, I read and commented on Mr. Neal's diary on DailyKos, about grassroots participation and pulling in people who in the past have not traditionally come out and voted in large numbers (college students, for example).

Today I'm hooking up with Joe and trying to schedule some folks for next week. Looks like a pretty day for sitting outside at Bean Trader's and chatting on the phone, though email is more my strong suit these days.

Ads have just now started appearing for the governor's race, so I think the average voter here in NC is about ready to start paying attention to our local elections in addition to the big Presidential one. Here's to doing our part to help them choose wisely.


LOL, it's true. :) -- Get

LOL, it's true. :)

Get angry. Get involved.

Love the updates!

Thank you for keep us up to date on this really dynamic candidate/race.

I had the chance hear Jim speak and meet him today, and he seems like a real genuinely kind person. I know thats somewhat of a cliche description for a person, but in his case I think people understand what I'm saying. I'm always intrigued by the non-politicians that decide to run for office, and hearing both him and Larry Kissell speak today helped reaffirm that the "average guy" can do more. Plus I hate Bob Dole's wife, so yeah.

Thanks, angry!

You're welcome, it's fun to

You're welcome, it's fun to write about, And boy, do I know what you mean about Liddy Dole...

Get angry. Get involved.

to add to this story...

I am one of the other volunteers in this office(Hi angry grrl!)and if I can add my perspective. I have never worked on a campaign, but I was teargassed as a youth,so political change is not unfamiliar territory. (I am the older woman with the Nixon flashbacks of the first diary on this.)

I once was an office manager for a start-up engineering consulting firm(my husband worked there)and so in many ways, this is like that. Get the space, get it set up, get the people, get the work, get paid(oops, skip that part). On day one, as angry grrl said, it was all about scrubbing tables, although I did not have the luxury of going home and instead, crawled around under tables in a dress.
Day one and a half - I came by the office that evening with a spare microwave to lend the campaign. I also had some cleaning supplies and plastic cutlery for the coffee room. The microwave is too big for the space, but it works and I hope they can use it instead of spending on some little cheap one.

One day two, I got to hear a guy yell at the telecom to get the internet service up and running. It really brought me back to the old consulting company days. Afterward, the guy gave what I guess is a standard speech to me about how he sometimes gets loud with people and uses language, etc. etc. - because I look like a nice church lady I guess. When he finished, I just said, "I am a seventh generation Texan, so if you need any help opening a can of whup-ass on anyone, I'm your girl."

I have moved up in my volunteer work. Day two, once I established my reputation as an ornery coot in stockings, I folded contribution envelopes for five hundred fundraiser invitations.

This is the really sad part - so much has to go into fundraising just to get out and get the message to the people. I keep thinking of Paul Wellstone driving around Minnesota in a beat-up car, and how he won and Jim Neal can, too, but it is hard to hear about millions in funds that Missing Liddy has at her disposal.

For now, all I can do is show up, set up, and clean up, but that is where this starts. Oh, and it is fun and others should come out, and my son baked some cookies, too!

being outspent does not settle the race

If it were so, Mitt Romney would be riding a big elephant to glorious victory right about now.

I think the polls showing military families turning negative on Bush and the war give a strong indication that, when Carolinians hear Liddy's endless praise for Bush's every misstep, they are going to seriously wonder why she deserves a vote. Jim Neal has good ideas, is listening to people all over the state. I don't anything about Hagan, but has she been out in front on issues that mean something to regular people in this state? She did not even want into the race in the first place - I am not sure if her energy is really into working hard to get to the Senate.

I think this can be a year when the youth vote plays a strong role, and since it is trending Democratic, and pro-change, that favors our candidate.

The only thing creepier than

The only thing creepier than Mitt Romney, is Mitt Romney atop a triumphant elephant. Thanks for ruining my weekend.

Just don't think about it, Christoper.

There is so much to look forward to in the coming weeks. Don't let Romneybot worry you.

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

Dole's cash could well be her albatross.

The fundraising numbers for 4th quarter '07 are out and show that Hagan has over $500,000, and Dole has over twice that much.

They may have cash,

Locking her into a top down style of campaigning - tv ads, robo calls, high dollar fund raisers, rarely mixing with the little people. She is setting herself up to be out hustled on the ground.

Person County Democrats

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

Sounds about right

All the money in the world can beat a good ground game. The amount of money Dole has - and is likely to raise - will not. Dem donors do need to get behind the eventual nominee with their wallets, though.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I think everyone is agreed on that.

Fight a clean primary - and then Liddy goes.

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

I actually had an automated poll call

a few days ago. Unfortunately I didn't catch who was sponsoring it, but I happily voted for Jim Neal.

I love these diaries, angry grrl

And I'm so glad that there are folks like you and chun yang who are able to volunteer that all important elbow grease that gets and keeps the campaigns rolling.

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

This is awesome, ladies.

Is there any other stuff that you need? You know, cheap stuff, not computer servers or robots and such.

I might be persuaded to buy a few things and donate them, but I don't want to show up with a bagel toaster and have you say, "Oh, yeah, that's real nice, Steve. Just put it over there next to the abacus."

Great question

Please, do let us know what "stuff" might be helpful.

Little things

Its always the little things that you never think of. Pens, clipboards, paper clips etc are always incredibly useful.

Also, couches, chairs, desks, tables are always in short supply.

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

needs will be more apparent soon

Once more people are in there, I think it will be obvious what is needed for the "troops." Half of my worldly possessions are in storage now as we remodel our home, so I am going scavenging tomorrow for an old vacuum cleaner. I also brought in a bag of African coffee(souvenir of my husband's travels). Of course, my son the baker has said he will keep us supplied with cookies from time to time between the demands of third grade.

I can't speak for the campaign, but I think that telling your friends about what a great candidate Jim Neal is, making sure that everyone who is INDEPENDENT knows that they can vote in the primary - these are what we need on the ground. My husband spoke to a running buddy awhile back who did not know that he could vote in the Dem. primary because he did an "Anglico" and changed his registration to Independent. This could cost us a lot of progressive and independent-thinking votes.

vacuum cleaner

Often overlooked, vacuum cleaners are a prized posession in campaign offices. I have engaged in multiple games of "hide the vacuum" to ensure that other coworkers dont take the single vacuum for days at a time.

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

I'm relatively new to North Carolina politics,

and I would appreciate some actual information about this guy, as opposed to what appears to be an attempt at a comical smear campaign. So how about sticking to:

It will just be the truth

for now, so I can figure out whether to laugh or not.

And by the way, you should probably remove your post from the "About BlueNC" thread, since that is supposed to be site navigation stuff.

Ignore them

look at their MySpace. They have no friends. Not even Tom ;-)

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks


This is pathetic and it has no place in any forum, much less this one. If it were about actual issues or challenges, I say great. But this is a childish "campaign" that consists of nothing but smears and it stinks.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

Sounds like you all are having a great time!

Being involved sure is a adrenaline rush, isn't it?

I'm with Jim all the way. We need real representation in this State and in the Country via the US Senate. We sure as hell aren't getting it from that carpetbagger from Kansas, or DC or wherever the hell she is from.

When is Jim coming to the Triad? I'll try to round up some locals to say Hi and get a chance to listen to his message.

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

North Carolina. Turning the South Blue!

You're right, it's a lot of fun

And again with the sf analogies, this time from one of my favorite shows, Babylon 5, to explain why even just wiping off tables gives me a feeling of making a difference: "...When I sweep my floor, all I've done is sweep my floor. But, when I help you clean up your place, I am helping you."

Get angry. Get involved.

I'll second that

Let me add my thanks to angry grrl's. I'm afraid we'll see more of the same later.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke