Heading right into an August roast, like we do every year. Well, nothing is to be done about it, anyway.
The Kitzhaber campaign kicked off today, from its Portland headquarters at SE 31st and Division. They called me a couple weeks ago, and I promised them some time, so I spent the late morning and early afternoon walking door-to-door, reminding folks that we've got a gubernatorial election this year. And, oh by the way, we really want to make sure to elect Governor Kitzhaber.
I walked down to headquarters, arriving just at 10am. There was a lot of bustle and activity. The operation was well-organized, with canvassing packets ready to hand out to volunteers. It is hard to estimate their number since people were constantly coming and going, but when Attorney General Kroger spoke, just before we set out, there were some four or five dozen people.
|Comings and goings|
I got paired up with Lisa Jean, a woman from Raleigh Hills. We drove to the area around Providence Hospital, on NE Glisan. The campaign had given us lists of voters and their addresses. We were to knock on a door and try to establish face to face contact. From there, we determined (by asking directly) if the person was likely to vote for Governor Kitzhaber, and inquire as to the strength of that person's support. We were also prepared to hand out campaign literature, register voters, and, if we did not make contact, to leave campaign leaflets in the door.
Together, Lisa Jean and I knocked on about 50 doors. Most times, we didn't make contact. But, of those we did contact, support for Governor Kitzhaber was overwhelming. Of course, these weren't random voters. The campaign had given us rosters of registered Democrats, independents, and a few Republican women. There were no Republican men on the lists. (I found this to be a revealing set of data. But, I guess it should come as no surprise that Republican women might be restive within the bounds of that repressive party.)
When we finished, Lisa Jean and I drove back to headquarters, where they were barbecuing hamburgers and hot dogs.
Attorney Kroger's remarks, and the exhortations of the campaign staff all indicate that Democrats know the key to victory this fall is voter turnout. The higher the turnout, the better are the chances for success.
I'm encouraged that there is so much activity. And we're still in August!
I remember well the 1998 election when Governor Kitzhaber crushed Bill Sizemore's sleazy power grab. Back then, perhaps knowing that victory was writ in the stars, the Kitzhaber campaign had seemed lackluster, anemic.
But that was then. As Attorney Kroger pointed out, Republicans try to win elections by suppressing voter turnout, and by flooding the airwaves with corporate-funded messaging laden with fear and ugliness. But they still don't have an answer for the Democratic ground game: volunteers manning phone banks and knocking on doors. Ask Gordon Smith how well a ground game does against money. I'm sure he'll tell you.
Chris Dudley might be a nice fellow but, just as he was never the go-to guy at the end of the Blazer game, he's even less the go-to guy in state governance. Especially not when we're in such a fix. Especially not when his solutions are warmed-over GOP hash about tax cuts for upper incomes. That trickle-down Reagan crap never really caught on, here in Oregon. I'm not sure if Dudley knows that.
Junior Bush put us in a deep hole, folks. His administration looted us, ran us into debt, bogged our military down in unwinnable wars, and left us with catastrophe on every front. So, if we're going to get out of this, we need smart, capable leadership. That's why I'm on board with Governor Kitzhaber.