I’ve agreed to take an active volunteer role in Sherrod Brown’s re-election campaign, so I’ll be writing about that here. It was an exhaustive and merit-based selection process: my friend Ann asked me to do it. Ann was the local contact in 2005-6 for Sherrod Brown’s first Senate race, and she was at my house all the time during that period. That means she knows where I live, which may have been the determining factor.
Before I begin what will be a series of increasingly obsessive posts I should back up, give you some context and make it clear what I actually do in these things. I got some emails after the Issue Two campaign that make me think I maybe wasn’t clear enough on my extremely limited, local role.
There are 88 counties in Ohio. I live, work and volunteer in one rural, conservative county. I’m not David Brooks, Chris Matthews or any of the cast/book merchants on Morning Joe so I’m not an expert on, respectively, the heartland, lunch bucket voters, or tough choices/sacrifice/centrism.
I choose what I do, and I don’t do anything I don‘t want to do. What I’ll do for Brown in 2012 is this: I’ll hold an event or some events, either at my house or at a rented public space. At those events I’ll develop a list. The list will consist of the local regulars and any new people who are interested in re-electing Sherrod Brown. I won’t do any of this until well after January. I may start a little earlier than I ordinarily would, because we have our Issue Two list, and I’m curious if some of the Issue Two-exclusive activists are one and done or are going to stick with it. Brown is a good candidate for them because he’s a liberal populist. I won’t use that label here because I don’t think anyone will care where I slot him in, Big Picture.
I’ll keep in touch with that list until the campaign organizer arrives in this county, and then I’ll turn it over to her or him. When I turn it over I usually meet with the organizer at the law office and tell her or him about the people on the list and the county. We know the county better than the new organizer, who is, after all, maybe 22 years old, so the organizer will be very interested in this information. After that, I’ll act as a contact point for the organizer, and I also sometimes relay information between locals and the organizer. “Information” means “complaints” about the organizer or the campaign. If we’re losing I’ll get a lot of complaints and if we’re winning I’ll get no complaints. We also have infighting, so in that scenario, perhaps, someone would be complaining to the organizer about me. I wouldn’t find that out until, say, hypothetically, I received an email that was supposed to go to someone else while I was on vacation. Not that that’s ever happened.
There are two parts to a Senate race, the candidate’s campaign and the Party role. On the campaign side, I have already had contact from Brown’s campaign, which I wrote about here. I’ll have more of that as it goes on.
There are three levels to the Democratic Party role in Ohio; local Party, state Party and national Party. I will have lots and lots of contact with the county people (because I am one of them), a lot of contact with the state level, because Ohio has a strong state Party, and lots of contact with our OFA organizer, who is representative of the national Party for my purposes, anyway. We have an OFA organizer here already, because OFA was central to the (so far successful) effort to keep Ohio’s latest voter suppression law from implementation, and, also, she lives here. That’s the context, that’s the (limited) role, so keep that in mind if you happen to read my posts on the race.