Thursday, July 12, 2007

Here it comes. November



Here we go.

I'm in mid-July, looking at a bunch of fundraising events, political events, town halls, invitations for endorsement interviews, and I realize that, eh, yeah. I need to get going.

When I ran for my political seat in 2003 I announced on the first day that I could. In June. By July 4 I was already feeling that I hadn't done enough, that I was never going to raise enough money and that there was no way I could get enough yard signs out. On July 5 I remember my Treasurer calling me up to check in on me and my bursting into tears.

"What am I doing? I'll never get this going. I should have done something in the parade. I should already have the yard signs. I haven't even designed them yet. I'm never going to get people to notice me or to vote for me. Why should they vote for me?"

"Here. Wait. It's July. No one's paying attention to a November election. People aren't even in town. Stop. You're making yourself nuts."

"But I have to get ready. I'm not ready."

"You have to stop crying. Here. You need some wine. Right? White wine? I'll be right over."

She's a good friend. Our friendship has only just barely survived my four years in office, but we held onto it by the skin of our teeth. There was this survey's a stupid story that is best forgotten. Thing is, we both got over it, and I've been able to get her on some committees that she was genuinely interested in serving on.

I spoke to her today on the phone. "Hmmm. Look at that," I thought to myself while she complained about her brother. "July 12. Twelve. Wow. That's mid-July and I haven't done squat about this election thing. Huh." It occurred to me that I might want to ask if she'd be my campaign manager, but I don't really want to do that to us again.

My other connections in town, the ones who would normally be the most enthusiastic about working a campaign, are already committed to a mayoral election. OK, I guess that's important. I think. Feel sorta left out or forgotten, but that's my fault too.

Thing is, School Board elections are supposed to be less important that City Council or Mayoral elections. That's when you know all is right with the world, when people ignore the least important elections and focus on the important ones.

I need to get my oooomph up. I need to figure out a platform. I need to get SOME people to volunteer for my campaign. I need to print a flyer at least.

Oh look at that. The mail's here. The local unions want to interview me for an endorsement. Huh. Well, they oughta endorse me; I helped put a union trades educational program into the high school vocational arc. Look. I even met with the very guy who signed the letter asking me to come be interviewed. When do they want...? The twenty-third? Wait. Of July?

Shit. I have to be ready to be interviewed by a trade union representative and participate in a public forum by the 23rd? And today's the 12th? What's my message? Who's endorsed me? What's my war chest look like? They're going to want to know all of that.

This does not bode well.

I have a great list of supporters in an excel file. I should send them out a beg letter. Get endorsements. Find a volunteer coordinator. File papers. Write a candidate's statement for the ballot. Call the newspapers. Purchase stakes for my yard signs from the last election. Hire someone to paint big signs. Get my picture taken. Design a flyer. Designate a Treasurer. Set up a bank account. Purchase enhanced voter lists. Set up walking routes. Print flyers and walking instructions. Schedule a tea. Schedule a town hall. Maybe mow the lawn too. Talk to the teacher's union. Or not.

I wonder who else is running.

I'm not going to win if I don't get enthusiastic. I'm happy and eager to serve some more, but the campaigning. Ugh. Too much paperwork. Too many sound bites. Too much jockeying.

Anyone out there interested in working as my campaign manager? Because I'm not so sure I'm up for the task. Candidate? Sure. Tell me where to go and at what time, and I'll blow your socks off with my professional performance. Campaign manager? Not so much.

Where's Toby, Sam and Josh? I could really use them right about now. Because right now my campaign sorta looks like this:


CindyS said...

I so loved that show before Aaron Sorkin left *sigh*. I love the 'okay, we have a whole new situation and my guys are going to need a minute to regroup.' Classic.

I pretty much hit 'the list of supporters in an excel file' and had to back away from the table. I'm out ;)


Bookwormom said...

It sounds way, way too organized for me. Campaigning that is. Where does one hire a campaign manager? Can you go to your local headhunter and have them find you one?? Are there such things as political occupation headhunters?!

Suisan said...

Yes, there are professional campaign managers. Your local political party headquarters would have a list, and the stronger unions hire them and will recommend one to you if you get their endorsement.

However. They are Expensive. Mucho Expensive. And they don't come from your town and may not get the subtleties of what will work or not work. And their salaries show up on your campaign finance paperwork.

If you're running a big campaign, then that salary isn't such a big amount. But these local races (especially for school board) really should go for more than say 3 to 7 thousand dollars. That's about 1K for yard signs, 500 for printing, 500 to 1K for mailing (second run of printing), and about 1K in volunteer food and drink, phone banking, etc.

The last time we went to hire a consultant, he wanted a 10K advance and gave an estimate of a 40K budget (includes more mailers, internet surveys, advance polling and surveys, consulting on message, coaching for forums, make-overs, dedicated and integrated designs for flyers & signs, paid volunteers, etc.)

I'd be laughed out of town if I went around trying to drum up 40K. Paying a 10K consultant's fee is insane. Not going to happen.

So it's basically up to me to run the thing. Gah.

I'm not an organized person. Not at all.

(And sure, there are tons of headhunters in political life. Where do you think all the speech writers come from?)

Suisan said...

*Shouldn't go for more than 3 to 7K.


Doug said...

Wow -- on so many levels. I've been in a small town for so long, a campaign on this scale simply floors me.

Re the video, now I'm regretting that I never watched that show. That was funny.