Monday, July 31, 2006

Summertime retail politics

On Saturday I did some door knocking for Dave Johnson, candidate for House District 43B (Minnetonka-Plymouth), whom I introduced to you in my last post. If you're in shape, it's a great way to get in an extra brisk walk for the week (I logged 2.44 miles in 90 minutes under a high heat index).

This is the type of "retail politics" that I enjoy the most: meeting folks where they live, getting to know a precinct at ground level. For volunteers it gives deeper meaning to legislative district maps, and for candidates it helps put a face on the neighborhoods and people they hope to serve. Hopefully the candidate makes a positive, lasting impression that translates into a vote on Election Day.

As Karl Rove recently told a small group of bloggers (summarized in Triple A's great post, "It’s A Ground War, Not an Air-‘waves’ Fight,")
Like 2004 was for the Presidential race, 2006 is going to be about getting out the vote. For every dollar the Liberal 527s and Democrats spend to run TV ads attacking our President and candidates, we must make sure there are boots on the ground going door-to-door to identify and motivate voters to volunteer and show up on election day and dispel the lies.

When I arrived at Dave's house at 9:30 a.m., he was ready for us with clipboards, literature, campaign shirts, maps, and instructions. Dave's wife had snacks and bottled water ready for us. A district map poster was posted, and the dining room table was laden with campaign paperwork. After a short briefing, the candidate and volunteers drove off to our assigned neighborhoods.

The door-knocking itself was like a (long) walk in the park. Lots of folks were not home or not answering the door. In that case they will find Dave's campaign literature stuck in their doors when they return. Those who did answer the door for the most part accepted my short spiel and Dave's lit with a "thank you." Then it was back down the driveway and on to the next house. Only a few people I talked to asked for Dave's party affiliation. They seemed to be more interested in Dave's positions on education, roads, and spending.

What retail political activity could be even more fun than door knocking? Campaigning at the Minnesota State Fair!

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