The 2008 Federal Election may be 280 days away, but life on the trail in a targeted congressional district has already heated up. We in the blogosphere do so much to impact the process, from contributions to candidates and volunteering our time (sometimes across the nation thanks to technology such as virtual phone banks) to simply giving attention to well deserving candidates who aren’t receiving any from the mainstream media. But what is it like inside of these campaigns that we track, influence, and cheer for?
I work for Gary Peters for Congress in Michigan’s 9th Congressional district. I’m focused on the campaign. I could tell you in my sleep that the district is currently represented by Republican Joe Knollenberg, however it has a Partisan Voter Index of R+0, making it one of our best pickup opportunities. I can rattle off the cities equally as effortlessly, and even give you a tour to some of the districts many landmarks including The Palace in Auburn Hills (home of the NBA’s Pistons and WNBA’s Shock), the Somerset Mall in Troy, the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak, or the Fallen Heroes Memorial in Pontiac.
You’ll see me blogging about the race more and more as the election heats up, but currently a lot of staff energy is spent on fundraising and organization building. One day we might be preparing for a major fundraiser to collect the resources we’ll need to beat an incumbent, the next we may be at a house party snacking on chips and pop while Gary meets with voters, local activists and (hopefully!) future volunteers.
A great way to stay in touch with our supporters is through email. Email is one of the least expensive ways to communicate with our supporters, and we’d love for you to hear what we have to say this year. Recent emails have asked our supporters to vote for Gary Peters in DFA’s Grassroots All Star Contest (where Gary is in the Top 5 and closing in on becoming a finalist), spread the word about upcoming house parties and highlighted contrasts between Gary and our opponent on issues from ranging global warming to the economy to the war.
Also important are phone calls and letters inviting friends of the campaign to participate. I’ve stuffed envelopes with invitations, and then followed them up with phone calls so we can be sure to involve as many as possible. Gary loves connecting with voters, and it is our job to make sure that he can meet lots of them at our events.
The days are long- working constantly- but the hours seem to fly by. I’m usually awakened by my blackberry buzzing to let me know it’s time to check the daily political briefings that come out via email- NBC’s First Read, CNN’s Political Ticker, Politico’s Playbook and Daily Digest, check Hotline’s Wake Up Call, and Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire. Some are better than others ;). Throughout the day, breaking news about the Presidential race might be interesting, but unless it affects my district I work through it. After everything I can possibly get down that day is completed, I take some quick notes on what I’ve gotten done and what still needs to be done for the week. I take a quick jog to clear my head, before coming back to my notes when I realized I’ve forgotten something or I’ve been hit with an idea. On Friday night I send a full report for the week to our campaign manager.
I’m proud of my work and I love putting the time in. I feel a lot of responsibility to our campaign supporters, the Party, to Gary and his family, my coworkers, but especially to all of you who are following the race and want to see Gary win.
While this isn’t necessarily “Part 1” of a series, you can expect many more updates like this throughout the campaign. Very soon we will be moving out of Gary’s basement and into a campaign office, and soon thereafter ramping up our field operation. But we’ll also be communicating our same message to the netroots community through blogging here and at our campaign blog, videos on YouTube, and at social networks like Facebook (Are you a supporter of Gary Peters yet?)
If you decide to make a contribution at ActBlue, you’ll know what it is going to. I’ll bring you pictures of the team distributing lawn signs or the snacks for volunteers and bring you updates from the rest of the staff.
We’ve all got big tasks ahead of us in 2008! Let’s get to work.