Brian’s Run For Delegate

I thought I would post about one of the most hardest thing my husband and I ever had to go through: running for state delegate. Besides my dad’s house (you should all know what a nightmare that was), running for office was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

Honestly, the first 8 months were probably the hardest… and that’s granted the campaign lasted a little over a year.

Donations

When Brian first announced to our family and friends at a party we threw, I thought the support was going to be tremendous. I had set up ActBlue beforehand and made sure it was working so people could donate ASAP. No one donated. No friends, no family, no one. It wasn’t until maybe September when we got our first donation. We had several people said they would but no one donated until then.

The first people to donate were people who’s door Brian knocked on. I remember that feeling of seeing the ActBlue notification of a gift of $25. Finally, we were relieved. I had Brian write a thank you note right away.

We didn’t raise a lot of money throughout the campaign but Brian wasn’t asking for it either. We didn’t tap any friends or family. We didn’t send out an email with the companies we worked for asking for donations. Besides Brian’s parents, we only raised a few hundred dollars total. Brian’s parents gave the most.

Campaign Lit

I had always wanted to go to a union shop but VistaPrint was cheap and they had great deals and the quality was great. We started out with business cards. Brian would door knock with them. We eventually had to bite the bullet and upgrade to something larger so we got postcards instead. We started out one-sided then opted for two sides… one being the stances, contact info, his picture, etc. The other, a personal message mentioning that he’s NOT A LAWYER.

We also purchased a few signs and posters with his logo.

The Logo

I had came up with a few things for Bri. He liked the cursive font with the Maryland flag. However, everyone thought it was too hard to read. By this point my sister was bugging me about a campaign video and we needed the logo to be concrete. I just changed the font and the alpha of the flag (making sure the 4.5:1 color contrast ratio for accessibility was enforced).

We went through like three logos. Even now people still say it’s hard to read but whatever. Maybe something that lead to us losing.

The Campaign Video That Never Was

When Brian started out, my sister, Stacy, offered to help with a campaign/intro video. I wanted to film the whole thing in one weekend. I had obtained a script from a guy online. I wanted it to be funny but the guy didn’t put many jokes in it. I had already came up with some jokes so the guy included some of them but all-in-all, looking back, I was disappointed in the script.

My sister came down for the weekend and I gave her the script and she immediately started to revise and make changes. I thought it was such a waste to let it go and Brian was awful filming. He won’t act the way I wanted and I got very frustrated with everything.

This was one of the worst weekends of my life. I had to divorce myself from it. My camera was crappy, we didn’t have all the things we needed for the script… it was just bad all over.

After the weekend, my sister took the footage we had (we shot more after she was gone). She and her friend tried to edit it together but nothing really came about it.

I wanted the video to be a 1-2 minute thing that said who he was, what his platform is, what sets him apart from the rest of the crappy candidates, but it never went. I wanted it to only take about a month so we could release it end of September to share on social media. I was hoping it could be a hit on YouTube since it would be funny but we stopped.

I do thank my sister and her friend for their effort.

Door Knocking

Our whole campaign strategy was about the doors and the events. We never through any meet-and-greets besides the one at Leisure World in September. It didn’t go well at all. Only four people showed up. It was a flop.

We got the voter data from Nation Builder and instead of paying thousands of dollars for the VAN, I decided to create my own.

It took me three days to load all the data into a MySQL database and another few days to build an app around it. It was all stored locally on my laptop at home (a laptop I especially bought for the campaign to replace my old PC).

I would create lists off of the data by choosing a street, looking it up on Google Maps, and getting the streets by it for a route. I created over 160 lists which was around 80% of the knockable district. A lot of the un-knockable district was Leisure World, apartments, or houses that were too far apart to knock.

Bri used these lists throughout the campaign. Bri’s parents would come over for the last two months of the campaign and flyer doors.

The app worked well and I would like to add upon it and have it as an alternative to the expensive VAN. However, I’m going to have to come up with a better way to load and update the data.

Events

Like I had mentioned before, Bri never had any meet-and-greets besides the one in Leisure World. He attended a lot of group meetings though. Every group I heard about, I made sure Bri attended their meetings. I wanted Brian to be a different kind of delegate. One who doesn’t just show up during election time. I wanted him to continue to going to these groups if he had won.

He mainly just did group meetings at night and even attended meet-and-greets of other people we knew were running.

Strategy

Like I said before, our whole strategy was door knocking. We also touted the fact (and hammered it) that Brian is not a lawyer. There was only two other candidates who weren’t lawyers running. Brian is also fact based. I made sure his website had links to articles that were proof of why Brian thinks that way. No other candidate does that or has that. Actual facts? What? And ideas to boot. And he backed up his ideas with facts!

Friends

We pretty much postponed our social lives until after 8PM. Bri would door knock all days

But where to start with our friends? First off, mostly all of our friends were not supportive of Brian running. They would ask how it was going but that’s about all. Only my friend from work joined us for a march (with the exception of our friend’s son). Mostly the marches were family and some of our political friends.

Let me get that straight… our friends were almost of no help but our political friends were of help. The people we met for Bernie stuff helped out a bit. Other than that, it was just us and family.

I am disappointed that our friends didn’t help us. It was something that really hurt me a lot during the campaign. I’m over it now and I’m still friends with people but it really hurt that no one would help. People barely could like Brian’s page on Facebook.

Social Media

God did Facebook cause me much anxiety. When we first announced in June 2017, I thought immediately Bri would get a lot of FB likes on his page. We got like 15. And it stayed at 15-20 for MONTHS. This was the most depressing thing for me that a lot of our friends couldn’t even bother to like his page. I can’t explain how much depression I felt because of FB. I was always tempted to pay for ads for Brian so he’d get more likes but knew I would regret it (if it even panned out).

Social media is not one of my strong suits. I sucked at posting to FB and Twitter but I always felt Brian needed to do that for himself.

Twitter wasn’t so bad. Brian got quite a few followers so I wasn’t depressed about Twitter. He even had more followers than someone we knew running who had hundreds of FB likes.

But ya, FB sucked and caused me to go through a lot of depression.

It’s A Big Club

2018 was a year where a lot of progressives ran for office. We were already helping our friend out in his County Council run. We met a lot of progressives on the campaign trail and if Bri wasn’t running, I would have totally helped them out in their campaigns.

However, a lot of these progressives turned out to be very popular. Much more popular than Brian. People I hadn’t even heard of were suddenly getting all the attention from Bernie groups (i.e. Moco’s Our Revolution) and Brian wasn’t. I had been a part of those kind of groups for a long time and never saw any of these other progressives in there. However, they got all the attention and not Brian.

George Carlin famously said, “It’s a big club and you ain’t in it.” I hate to report but the way I feel about progressives is the same… it’s a big club and we ain’t in it.

Endorsements

We spent hours and hours filling out candidate questionnaires for endorsements. We put our time and effort into finding the right words to say, spelling, grammar, etc. In the end, most came down to money anyway.

Here’s a list of groups that I have completely lost respect for because their endorsement process is a joke. Just have the most money or be able to raise the most money and you’ll get their endorsement.

  • MCEA – Ie. the Apple ballot/teachers union. My god. It didn’t matter what kind of views you had. You just needed to have the right amount of money in your bank account. Only one of the incumbents got their endorsement along with the rich guy and the union lawyer.
  • Sierra Club – We were pretty green. We wanted 100% green energy, everything recyclable, etc. Didn’t matter to them. They only cared about the money in your bank account. The two incumbents and the rich guy got their endorsement.
  • Progressive Maryland – We thought for sure we’d get PM but they instead endorsed the two incumbents and the union lawyer… go figure.
  • Progressive Neighbors – Nope! We are not the incumbents so we didn’t get their endorsement. They also went for the rich guy as their third.
  • SEIU – These people really treated Bri like crap. They scheduled a last-minute meeting and when Brian showed up, they didn’t. He tried to call them back several times (even talking to them) to reschedule but they never gave him a time. Seems they didn’t want to hear how Bri would help them with a $15 minimum wage, universal healthcare, etc.
  • All unions – Bri didn’t get any union endorsements. They all wanted to see the money. Like I explained before, money wasn’t our strong suit but door knocking was.

I am deeply humbled and honored and I thank the only two groups to give Brian an endorsement:

The Montgomery County Green Democrats and Montgomery County Our Revolution

These two groups didn’t care how much money you had in your bank account. They didn’t ask for other endorsements. They were strictly issues based.

And when it comes to the issues, Brian is the candidate.

ActBlue

I will never have ActBlue again. Bernie used it and I had donated to Bernie that way. I even tipped them quite a few times. MISTAKE.

ActBlue charged us lots of money even though we only raised a few hundred dollars through their site. They would charge us like $5+ a month.

I will never do ActBlue again and I will NEVER tip them again. Lesson to learn: DON’T TIP ACTBLUE. They get their money through the candidate.

The Other Candidates

We thought the two incumbents would win but one of them did not. I didn’t care for the other candidates that much. The union lawyer didn’t bother me as much as the others. The only one I really liked (besides Brian) was Jade. I would vote for him if he ran again.

One of the candidates did not treat Brian well. He made peace with her but I didn’t like what she did. She did end up winning.

The rich guy really bugged me. I will not be voting for him (or any of them) in the general. He’s the “progressive” but he raised thousands upon thousands of dollars from out-of-state. Since he raised all that money, he got all the endorsements. And since he was “progressive”, all the progressive groups swooned over him. Like I said, big club.

I really do think no one has the same integrity about money in politics as I do as no one else thinks that him raising thousands of dollars from out of state (and taking PAC/union money) is an issue. The same thing to say of him taking that money is the same excuse corporate democrats (and their defenders) use. Think about that.

Summary

To sum it up, friends hurt, lack of money hurt, determination and family are what got us through. I’m glad it’s finally over. I will NEVER do that again.

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