[Al was kind enough to take us up on our offer for some free space. Here's what he had to say. Previously posted as a comment, but moved to it's own post to promote comment and discussion.]
OK, folks. I sorta promised I’d blog a little about Heidi’s campaign when I had a moment to catch my breath so, here is just a little. (Obviously I’m not going to tell everything.)
We are taking NOTHING for granted in this race! We’ve been busting our humps since the day Heidi announced. We knew we’d be leading from the moment she announced because of all the urgent pleas we were getting for her to run again. It seems that the more they heard from the other guys in the race, the more pressure they put on Heidi to run again. And, yes, it was completely true and sincere that she was not sure whether she wanted to do this job for another 4 years. It’s a life-swallowing job if it’s done right and “right” is the only way Heidi would ever do it. Finally, she decided that she had to do it because the other choices were just not acceptable. She loves this town and she couldn’t abandon it or trust it to any of the other announced candidates. It may sound cheesy or trite but, it’s just absolutely true that she’s running out of a sense of duty and responsibility.
We’re proud of all our endorsements. We’ve gotten endorsed by everybody who does endorsements – except the Chamber PAC and they have yet to announce. We’re starting to wonder if they are afraid to endorse their candidate (you know who I mean) since we’re seeing lots of signs (pun intended) that the Chamber and hard-core Republicans are getting nervous about how closely their candidate is being identified with them.
On that subject, I have to say that there is really nothing at all non-partisan about this race in actuality other than the missing party identification on the ballots. The vast majority of the local (and state-wide) Dems have lined up behind Heidi. The vast majority of the Deep Red Team has lined up behind one of the other 2 “serious” candidates. That is not to say that Heidi does not have support from a lot of locals who usually vote Republican – she does. It’s just not any of the rabid far-right crowd. Heidi has built some great relationships with folks who don’t really agree with her on a lot of issues but they trust her and they know that they can work with her so, they appreciate that she’s honest and will seriously consider their points of view even when they don’t necessarily agree. That’s all good because we can’t win without support from folks who disagree on some issues.
In fact, one of the most gratifying things that we’re discovering about Athens voters is that there are very few “single-issue” voters out there. There are also very few who vote along the lines of race or gender. I’m pretty happy at how savvy is the majority of the local electorate. In fact, I’m proud of us! I’m equally happy that this town still frowns heavily on negative campaign tactics. I truly believe that, in Athens, the first one to go negative loses. We will absolutely NOT go negative! It’s not just good campaign strategy, it’s the only way Heidi and I will ever run a campaign. We do expect some last minute desperation attacks because that’s been the style and tactics that we’ve seen from the folks who are actually running some of the other campaigns – not the ones who have their names listed but the real campaign teams. Good luck to them – it won’t stick to us but it will stick to them long after the election is over. My old football coach once told me something I’ll never forget: “you play the way you practice”. We plan to “practice” and “play” in ways that will never cause us shame even if we lose.
OK, what else can I tell you? I guess the main thing is that we’re doing all we can to win this thing on November 7th. I think I was the only person in town that thought this was possible up until recently. I always knew it could be done. I’m not predicting anything – I’m just saying that there are now a lot of pundits who agree that we might win without a run-off and I’ve not heard from any respectable pundit who thinks Heidi won’t win on either Nov. 7th or Dec. 5th. We aren’t going for a landslide – we don’t really care if we only win by only 1 vote. There are other candidates in this race that are decent folks with plenty of support so there’s no reason to think that Heidi is going to win unanimously. ;-)
I do hope that we don’t have to campaign through Thanksgiving, though. I can imagine that the voter turn-out on Dec. 5th will be one of the lowest on record (unless there is a run-off for Governor).
Good luck all the candidates! Keep it clean, keep it issue based and true – let the people decide and be happy with the results if you can. There is life after Election Day.