I’ve surprised myself by LOVING the talking part of campaigning. When you are really passionate about an issue, as I am about statehood and the injustices DC faces without our voices in Congress, it’s unexpectedly energizing to talk to strangers. We find common ground easily.
But that’s not all there is to campaigning. Case in point: I had my first intervention this week.
Not about my gummy candy addiction, proclivity for late-night Netflix binging, or belief that black maternity leggings are acceptable year-round wear. All of which would have been fair game.
No, I got sat down at a nice lunch and told that it was long past time for me to be bringing in the money to fund this campaign.
“How many fundraising calls have you made?” “Well…” I hedged.
“How much time are you setting aside for calls every morning?” “So, on some mornings I need to…” would start my pathetic-sounding excuse.
“Cut it out. No money, no campaign.”
While I despondently dipped another chip into the salsa, I bowed my head and nodded. Of course they were right. While idealistically campaigns are about who has the best ideas and approach for getting the job done, the truth is also that it comes down to whose name people will remember on Election Day. I’m a newcomer to politics and my opponent has been in office nearly 12 years. Money is what will get my name onto mailers and yard signs and Facebook ads to reach as many DC voters as possible. And everyone – even my closest family – wants to hear from the candidate when being asked to contribute to a political campaign.
Heads up: the calls and emails are going into overdrive now. If you haven’t heard from me yet, you are about to. But the ask isn’t just about my getting elected. It’s about my whole-hearted belief that DC’s second-class status in our democracy is fundamentally unjust, and also absolutely fixable. We can petition Congress to make Washington DC a state, as 37 territories have become states before us.
So when you hear from me – and you WILL be hearing from me – just remember the money I’ll be asking for isn’t just for me. It’s an ask on behalf of a cause. An excellent cause that I think you can believe in as well.