Hello everyone! After a C-R-A-Z-Y campaign season, I am pleased to announce that MIKE WON!!!! (This round, at least.)
Now for some behind-the-scenes action from the little campaign that could.
About a week before the primary, we were down and out. Everyone complains about mudslinging, but I can tell you that it really hurts when a good friend and truly honorable person is the one being dragged through the mud. It was very hard on all of us, and we were getting a bit discouraged.
A rallying cry was sent out, and the response was overwhelming. Within just a few hours, hundreds of new volunteers signed up to help our campaign. My position in the campaign has been Volunteer Coordinator, so I have had the privilege of seeing amazing people volunteer their time and talents every day for the past six months. But over 100 in a day? That was HUGE.
The momentum started to shift, and everyone could feel it.
There were some humorous moments, too. Our opponent sent out a mailer talking about he had stayed positive and focused on the issues because he had substance. He also sent out an extremely negative mailer attacking Mike, which was supposed to arrive the day after the first mailer. Unfortunately for him, both mailers arrived at voters’ homes the same day. Oh, the hypocrisy of it all. I got a lot of new volunteers from that one, too. 😉
The day before the election, we had a last minute staff meeting. Mike was at a honk and wave, but called in to let us know that he would NOT forget all that we had done, and that as our senator, we would always have a friend in him. He was amazed and grateful for all of the support he had seen throughout the campaign. (By the way, if you’ve seen any of the election day pictures, he is beet red. This is the result of too many honk and waves.) There was more touchy-feely stuff, but I won’t bore you with the details. We emerged from the meeting more determined than ever to keep fighting the good fight. We all campaigned HARD for the next 24 hours.
Fast forward to the results party.
First of all, when you see balloons in these pictures, I want you to know that I am the one who blew them all up. Every. Single. One of them. And I only popped one. Be amazed.
The party was rockin’. The food was great, the atmosphere was electric, and the company was second to none. There were hundreds of amazing volunteers in attendance. Here are some snippets of the action – photography by Jeremy Nicoll. He’s awesome – hire him. I took my camera, but forgot the memory card. All is well, though, the professional did a much better job than I could have, and I actually have a few pictures of myself. (That’s me at the end of the line – helping a friend load up some plates for her children. I ended up going through the line four different times, but only once for me – I promise. Although I may have snuck a few berries before the crowd arrived. OK, it might have been many berries. Blowing up those balloons took a lot of energy.)
News reporters were everywhere. And they were all shocked that Mike had won, since the polls had him trailing by 10 points (silly polls). I overheard one reporter telling another, “Ya know, I knew he was supposed to lose, but I requested to come to this one anyway. I just had a feeling that I should be here.” Smart reporter.
The reporters at our party were talking to the reporters at the other party, and all of them reported that our party was much more fun. It’s because I was there. 😉
One radio reporter pulled me to the side and sheepishly said, “I was talking to a friend while I was in the buffet line and when he asked if I had voted I replied that I hadn’t because I hadn’t had time and I didn’t know who I would have voted for anyway. Then I looked up and saw Mike standing right across the table from me. I felt so dumb. Will you please let him know that my wife voted for him?”
Dear Reporter, I understand. I have foot-in-mouth syndrome, too. And your message has been passed on to Mike.
As the evening grew later, the staff moved to a super-secret news watching room. OK, it wasn’t *that* super secret. Whenever a team member would walk in, Mike would shout out their name in his booming voice, and everyone would cheer. “Goooooo Heather Williamson!!!” It was very festive.
As it was becoming clear that Mike was going to win, we moved back out to mingle again. Except that Mike could barely get through the door with all of the well-wishers cheering him. He finally made it over to a quiet corner where I happened to be standing. He was texting the opponent’s campaign. 😉 They were almost ready to concede. Then he saw me, smiled, and gave me a great big bear hug. He thanked me, I congratulated him. It was very touching. (Please note that I am aware that this is a terrible picture of Mike, and I would not have included it except that I wanted proof that sometimes I do hug people. In fact, I hugged a lot of people that night. Also note that I realize that I am too old to wear flowers in my hair, but I was having a very bad hair day and needed something to distract from it. Upon viewing this picture, I can see that clearly, I failed.)
Less than a minute later, the concession call came!
And wow – what a rush!!
PS – We were all volunteers. On paper, this win should never have happened. The next time you think you can’t make a difference in the way our country is being run, think again. A small group of dedicated people can have a big impact.