Monday, May 24, 2010

What I Saw at the Campaign

Unable to write for the past few weeks. Demands of the Randy Alexander for Senate campaign and my day job absorbed all my time and every last brain cell. Who deigned the week before the primary to be during my university’s finals week? Then, right into a couple of accelerated online summer school courses.


A victory for Randy was a stretch to say the least. And of the eight Republican candidates, he only garnered 3% of the vote. Initially, I agreed to work in his campaign because as a fellow Washington County Tea Party member I had pledged to help him if he ran for office. He decided to run, so I kept my word. As I worked with him and got to know him better I came to believe he was the best candidate for the job. Still do. That said, I’m totally behind the winner in the primary, my Congressman, John Boozman. More on that in my Arkie Malarky segment.

One of our fellow campaign workers said the money (not to mention the effort) we spent on the Alexander campaign was “tuition.” Indeed. This whole experience of about six months was a time of learning. We’re filing away these lessons for the future. And Randy is not done with politics.

The biggest thing I learned was that it takes a lot of money to run for office.

I did most of the radio and cable TV buys. I could have used $40,000 just for radio. We had about $4,000 for both media. A drop in the bucket.

After it was all over, I realized that Randy should have had $300,000 to run for the Republican nomination. We had a tenth of that.

It takes a lot of money to run for office.

But relating to money, there were positive things. For instance, it was interesting to see a Randy, a self-described introvert, grow into the position of being a candidate and doing what needed to be done: ask for money.

Other positive things related to our campaign team: a great, hard-working group.

And the Cutest Community Organizer to whom I’m married was dynamite. Said Randy: “If I had a hundred Barbras, I’d be a U. S. Senator.”

Week in and week out (daily as the election approached), Barbra took to the streets hanging Alexander for Senate literature on doors, talking to people she came in contact with. Initially she tried to organize teams to go out; but if there was nobody to go with her, she went by her self. Dynamite.

It was an interesting experience. We learned a lot. We got to know some great people.

And it sure takes a lot of money to run for office.

Arkie Malarky (for those who live in Arkansas or wish they did).

I was taken aback by the overwhelming support for establishment Republicans in the May 18 primary. I thought there might be a runoff between John Boozman and Jim Holt. Not a chance – Boozman walked away with nearly 53 percent of the vote, leaving Holt a distance second at 17 percent. I also did not anticipate Cecile Bledsoe to do so well, forcing a runoff with Steve Womack.

But there’s a lot to be said for name recognition and apparently the party’s relatively small size in Arkansas does not preclude its ability to organize for its candidates.

I think others among the conservative/Tea Party/Constitutionalist/libertarian wing of Arkansans were as surprised as I. It’s been an emotional week for some, and there are calls for backing independent candidate for Senate Trevor Drown.

Enough people doing that would guarantee returning a Democrat to the Senate.

Besides, John Boozman has an American Conservative Union lifetime rating of over 92. Yeah, I wish he were a bit more aggressive a la Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn, but John Boozman is a conservative. And he’s a decent man. And in Arkansas, where everybody knows everybody, it says a lot about Congressman Boozman’s reputation that he won so handily.

Being so caught up in the Senate race supporting Randy Alexander, I did not follow the Third Congressional District race closely; but I liked things said by Cecile Bledsoe and I intend to vote for her in the runoff.

By the way, one of the people I met during the Alexander campaign was Aaron Szabo, who has a production company, Imagine Film Company. We had great comments on our TV commercials and that stems not only from the image Randy projected, but how Aaron was able to capture it. We had very little money to work with, but Aaron put together some very simple productions that were really good. He was very affordable and easy to work with. A real pro.

Here’s my favorite of the spots:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

On the Links

Let me get this straight: Disneyland hosts two hundred roaming cats to keep the rodent population down?

But, um, what about the Corporate Rodent Spokesmouse?,0,5574120,full.story