Just a few days ago I started doing the first door to door campaigning for my 2018 bid for Alaska House District 40's seat in the House of Representatives. All I did really was go around the block and tell my friends and family that I was running. And most people I talked to wanted to sign my pension to run. Some people don't like Dean Westlake. Some people would actually like some kind of democracy for our elections instead of just handing our seat to whoever wins the Democratic Primary. A lot of people just like me.
I'm far from ready to run but I just wanted to get out and do something. Well I'm also reading How To Win A Local Election by Judge Lawrence Grey and maybe that wasn't the best thing to do.
I didn't know how useful this book would be to me. When I was looking at books I could read on how to run a campaign there were a ton of them! So I decided this should be one of them because most of my campaigning will probably be done in Kotzebue. Certainly I want to go to the surrounding villages and elsewhere in the district but without a road to anywhere it's going to be expensive. But it's not like I'm running for President or Governor. The title grabbed my attention and it got good reviews from both sides of the political spectrum. So I bought it. I got to say for a political novice like me this book has really useful information about the pitfalls someone like me might and probably would have fell into.
I read that the minimum signatures I needed to get was 50. Sometimes I forgot to ask people if they were a registered voter. There were plenty of people who are excited about my bid to run but when I asked them the question if they were registered to vote in they revealed they were either not or were not registered voters in this district.
And to be honest the other day I didn't ask the question. I just let people sign. So what if I got 50 signatures but all 50 were not good? Well my plan was to get 100 signatures so that even if 10 of them were bad I'd still have 90 good signatures and that's more than enough to get me on the ballot. Or so thought.
Reading How To Win A Local Election I'm finding out something like that might have been used to keep me off the ballot. There are examples of people not getting on a ballot because of one or two bad signatures. And there's examples of a candidate losing his shot on getting on a ballot because they got a minimum amount of signatures and one person says they take back their endorsement and that ends their campaign.
If started to gather signatures in May and found out something like this it could have been the end of my campaign. Or even more embarrassing I could have turned in bad signatures and that would have been the end of my run as well. It doesn't matter what good intentions I have. I could have been dead in the water.
I don't think this is all bad either. A way of looking at this is this a system that weeds out bad candidates. If you're not willing to work hard and do it right you don't deserve to be in office let alone run for it.
But we're all human. I imagine I'll make mistakes on whatever road I take. We all do. Thankfully I started early.
I'm not discouraged at all and I don't see the work I did the other day as in vain. Now more people know I'm running and I saw who was excited about me. And lets be real I'd have no chance on winning if all I was planning to do was reach out to 50 people alone. There's many more doors to knock on and more signatures to get.
I'm completely new to this but that won't work as an excuse if I slip up somewhere. I think I'm going to finish this book before I knock on door again.