Lesson #1: When you’re at a Democratic function, don’t let your husband introduce you as a Republican.
He did this early in the campaign. “Full disclosure, my wife is a Republican,” he joked. It was supposed to be funny. Most people laughed but apparently one lady had no sense of humor. Zero. Zilch. Nada. As Glen tells the story, he was talking with another couple when he heard elevated voices involved in a tense conversation. He turned to see what was going on only to discover his wife was right in the middle of the scuffle! In my defense, she attacked me. I had spoken with this woman before the meeting and we got along fine. Afterwards, she was a woman on a mission to challenge me. Her whole demeanor had changed.
“You really are a Republican?” she asked. I confirmed. “Well let me ask you something: were your parents just independently wealthy individuals who raised you to think like that?” No body talks about my mama or my daddy that way. Especially since they are dedicated people who taught my brother and I the value of hard work. Deep breath. I reminded myself that Glen was running for office on the Democratic ticket, and he might need this crazy, judgmental, misinformed loon for who knows what reason someday so I should play nice. The conversation only went down hill from there when she accused me of blindly following Governor Brownback, destroying the state of Kansas, and basically calling down the plague on anyone I touched with my blasphemous ways. (Full disclosure: that last part may not actually have happened. But I was starting to see red so the details get a little fuzzy.) The conversation ended with me informing her that she needed Republicans like me because without us, Democrats don’t stand a chance of “turning Kansas blue” or even purple in November. Maybe I am a little pompous. Maybe it’s because I’m a Republican. But I belong to the majority party in this state and she might want to find a way to work with us, not attack us based on her own misguided assumptions, or she will never get the candidates she wants in office. And that includes my husband.
Lesson #2: Never let The Candidate go on lit drops unattended.
And his Junior Campaign manager doesn’t count as a chaperone, contrary to what he might try to tell you.
We decided during one of our lit drops to divide and conquer. I would take the two little girls, and Glen would take his five-year-old junior campaign manager. The goal was to cover more ground. It took my team about 30 minutes to cover all the houses on our list. The rest were apartments and those were hard to do with two kids under the age of 3 so I chose to postpone them until a later time when I could go on my bike. When we met back up with Glen, I was shocked to hear his progress report. He was done too! Except for a few houses that were on the route of our family walks so we could do them that evening. We still had an hour remaining until we had planned to meet up with the other teams so I told him to go home and get cleaned up (he had a function later that afternoon). I would take all the girls and we would finish his list. Out of two pages of addresses, five homes were crossed off. 5! F-I-V-E! 5! Turns out, his competitive nature got the better of him. We had a plan that day. We were not going to knock on every single door, but another political team whose candidate was running for Senate (so not in competition with Glen) was knocking on every door. Glen didn’t want to be outdone so he called an audible. He picked a random street that wasn’t even in the area he was supposed to cover and started going to EVERY SINGLE DOOR! Now, some might admire his moxy. They might like that he was being a go-getter! You might even think his was a better strategy. But let me take off my Campaign Wife hat and put on another hat for a moment – the Campaign Treasurer hat. When I wear this hat, I get to talk money and resources. The campaign’s graphic designer (also me) had only printed a certain number of door hangers. The Treasurer (remember? me) approved of this number based on the cash on hand. The volunteer coordinator (not me, thank God!) confirmed that the number would cover all the doors on our list that day. THE CANDIDATE THREW ALL THAT OUT THE WINDOW WHEN HE WENT ROGUE!!!!
New rule: The Candidate doesn’t get to travel without supervision.
I wonder. What other lessons lie ahead?