I’ve been involved on the periphery of political campaigns since 1970 when I stood beside my parents as they volunteered on campaigns in Oregon. During the 1985/86 campaign I had my first taste of staffing a campaign when I led the statewide volunteer effort for Senator Bob Packwood. I did this because I believed in him and what he had/could do for Oregon.
As a communications professional I have always believed I cannot compromise my own beliefs or standards for any client or organization. That’s one of the reasons I haven’t worked so openly on a political campaign since 1986. But this year was different.
After my friend and Alaska’s Senator Lisa Murkowski lost the Republican primary I joined thousands of Alaskans who encouraged her to stay in the race. We heard the pundits and the political experts who said it was a long shot and she couldn’t do this. We fought on fueled not only by Lisa’s commitment but also our belief it was time once again to show that Alaska is different.
I took a break from my own business and joined the write-in campaign as a volunteer member of the communications team. Wow! What a ride. It’s not over yet but we’re feeling pretty good about the chances to make history. I worked closely with Kristin Pugh Bundy, Steve Wackowski and others on the communications team to make sure our candidate’s belief in and commitment to Alaska, her positions and wonderful personality were out there for Alaskans to see.
Our challenges were greater than other campaigns because we also had to teach Alaskans how to complete a write-in ballot. However, the stakes for Alaska were high and we could see the momentum building. Alaskans were enthused and motivated to help with this race like nothing I have seen in my nearly 20 years living here.
The last time a write-in candidate won a statewide office was 1954…also the last time the San Francisco Giants won the World Series. The Giants won Monday night and “Write-In” won Tuesday night. Sometime before Thanksgiving, we hope Lisa Murkowski is the name replacing “Write-in” for Alaska’s history books.
In the next week, I’ll be posting additional thoughts about the election more related to communications. As you can imagine, social media added an entirely new dimension to the campaign. Working titles for upcoming posts include:
Your Mother Would be Embarrassed That You Said That
Liar, Liar Pants on Fire
Freedom of What?
Who knows. I might add more to the series. What would you like to see?