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This week I canvassed for Florida State House candidate Beverly Ledbetter and county commission candidate Erika Remsberg. This was a lit drop – hanging candidate packs on assigned doors – but I met several voters in driveways or sidewalks. Three encounters especially stood out:
One was a Democratic woman who received her Vote by Mail ballot last week and was thrilled to get a package listing all of our candidates, so she could send her ballot in this week. All of the Democrats I’ve spoken with said they’re going to vote, but people sometimes say that and don’t follow through. I had no doubt that this woman would, in fact, be a voter.
The other two conversations were with voters who weren’t on my list, but were in their driveways as I passed. I always greet people, identify myself, and explain what I’m doing. The first man said “Well it’s cool that you’re doing this, but I’m a Republican.” I said that was fine and thanked him for being a voter. He nodded and said “Who are the Democrats running this year, anyway?”
I said Beverly Ledbetter just retired after 30 years teaching high school history, and now she wanted to help her community by serving in public office. (Polling data show Republicans like history, or at least what they think history is.) I said Erika Remsberg works with our county school district, helping homeless kids stay in school so they can graduate and get jobs, and wants the county commission to stand up for hardworking families and not just rich developers. (Polling data also show Republicans want government to help “hardworking families,” so long as you don’t call those families “the poor.”)
The man nodded. “Those women sound pretty good. Can I have a packet?”
The third couple were also Republicans and not on my list. Nor were their dogs, Maggie and Buster. Buster was a big blonde lab and happy to meet me. Maggie was a suspicious little beagle who finally, cautiously eased close enough for me to rub under her chin. “If Maggie likes you, you must be okay,” the woman said. Her hubby nodded. “We’ll take one of those packets, if you have an extra.”
I don’t know if either of those Republican families will vote for our candidates, but they wanted packets … and that’s more than they wanted when I introduced myself.
On Friday I worked in our coordinated campaign office. I spent the afternoon bundling door-hangers for State Rep. Amanda Murphy, and assembling walk lists for her teams.
We have 29 days left until the midterms, and your local Democrats need your help. Even if you can’t canvass and hate making phone calls, you can assemble canvassing packets, address mailers, and help with other office tasks. As Rep. Murphy’s field director put it, “Not everyone can do everything, but everyone can do something.”