Last night we had the first installment detailing Dick and Judy’s decision to work for Congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth. Tonight we continue with the actual campaign.
We were two of many volunteers for Tammy…we spent hours writing postcards, making phone calls, and stuffing envelopes. Dick did some door-to-door canvassing and put up campaign signs in the area. Judy was asked to assist with data entry for the campaign, and she was also successful in having two Letters to the Editor published.
Recently, when we were stuffing envelopes with thank you notes to donors, one of the volunteers commented that Joe Walsh probably only has to send out about six letters, since two of his contributors are the Koch Brothers!
As volunteers we were invited to a Meet and Greet where we met Tammy in person for the first time. She was immediately impressive and reinforced our decision to work for her. Tammy did many of these Meet and Greets–wise decision on her part because once you meet her, you are “hooked.”
We went to a fund-raiser where Senator Dick Durbin endorsed Tammy. It turned out to be one of the few snowy evenings we’ve had all winter, but it was well-attended in spite of that. We also enjoyed a debate between Tammy and her primary opponent Raja Krishnamoorthi. The press was there, and we felt Tammy did exceptionally well. Krishnamoorthi was a good candidate but not ready for the challenge presented by Joe Walsh.
The climax was the night of the primary when we were invited to the election night party, which became a rousing celebration when Tammy won with 67% of the vote. Every TV station had cameras and reporters there, along with radio personalities, blog writers, newspaper reporters–all of whom converged on Tammy for interviews after her victory speech. It was an exciting evening and an experience we will never forget.
This is truly a grass-roots campaign with a very personal touch. Since Tammy does not like the use of robo-calls, all the phone calls made were by volunteers. The postcards were handwritten by volunteers using our own words. Tammy herself was frequently at the office visiting with us and sharing thoughts and ideas. We were fortunate to have lunch with her at a local restaurant the day before the primary where she and Dick largely discussed their aviation experiences. She was very interested in Dick’s former career as an Aircraft Mechanic for the airlines. She is clearly not a politician who is only interested in talking about herself and her accomplishments (which are many)!
One of the special rewards for working on this campaign is the camaraderie with the other volunteers. Even though our district is now thought to be “leaning Democratic,” our particular suburban area is still largely Republican, so it was great to have other Democrats to talk with. They are a very friendly, intelligent group from all walks of life–teachers, skilled workers, accountants, office workers, union members, veterans, etc. Her campaign staff is great fun to work with and mostly very young–they are committed to the cause and work extremely hard. We were wondering if they ever slept!
This will be a watched race throughout the country, not only due to the notoriety of Tammy’s opponent, but also because of the redistricting. We now have a chance to have a Democrat representing us in Congress for the first time.
The staff is giving a wine and cheese party for all the volunteers next week, but after that, we will likely be slowing down until the fall campaign actively begins in full force.
In the meantime, Tammy plans to do more of the Meet and Greets (a lot like Town Halls, but generally in private homes), along with numerous fund raisers. We will have the opportunity to participate in local parades on Memorial Day and throughout the summer. We plan to continue to help out whenever and how ever we can. Joe Walsh must be defeated!
Dick and Judy will report on the Duckworth campaign again in the upcoming months.