One of them was in Missoula today at 11 AM, so I went down there.
It was the grand opening of his Missoula office and this is what it looked like shortly after 11:
They had quite a few snacks too.
Bryce Bennett introduced Quist, making contrasts with Gianforte as he spoke.
After that Quist regaled the crowd of about 50 for ten minutes or so and that was it.
I noticed quite a few Missoula political regulars down there, as well as some new faces.
One was Dan West, who you’ll remember ran in the special nominating convention just a month ago.
Now he’s out helping Quist do rural outreach, which I mentioned a week or so ago.
I asked him about that, and what he’s being paid.
He said he’s just getting mileage reimbursement, for the most part.
That’s for driving out to places like Shelby, Colstrip, Miles City, and a bunch of other places he rattled off.
I asked him how that process works exactly, and it seems you try to contact the local Democrats that are there to get them campaign material and such.
That can sometimes be hard – in Shelby, for instance, there’s only 1 Democrat that’s active.
I told West that we need about 10 more positions like his.
Anyways, to my frustrations.
I’ve seen Quist a few times now and that’s great.
I don’t mind listening to him talk, but that’s not really why I came there today.
Oh, and let me say – Quist did a good job talking today.
You might remember that I chastised him a bit for his reliance on his notebook when he last spoke in Missoula.
Today there was no notebook and he was just speaking his thoughts.
He does really well that way!
But my frustrations.
Today was supposed to be a day to get out and knock on some doors.
I was very eager to get a small stack of Quist walking cards so I could go out and do just that.
(Actually, I showed up to the office yesterday and asked about that when I got my yard sign and bumper sticker).
I wanted to do it in my neighborhood, which is right where the South Hills start.
I mentioned that to one young lady and she said, “Wow, that’s a tough spot – lots of Republicans up there.”
Well, those are the areas we need to do some work in, I figure.
Anyways, I mentioned my desire to get out there. I wanted to do about 30 doors before getting home to take my son to his friend's birthday party.
I told my plans to quite a few of the people in charge, but no one wanted to send me out.
It seems you need to do some training.
Training to knock on doors and give them a card?
No, training to collect information for the Democratic Voter Access Network (VAN) database.
Now, I look at this two ways:
- First, it’s great to get that info so you can know where to send mailers and who to target. It helps in future elections.
- Second, it’s incredibly slow to cherry-pick which houses you choose to knock on, and it’s slow collecting that database info.
I know this because I’ve done it.
I did it in 2014 when the Dems let me use their VAN. I collected information on new Democratic voters as well as those voters that’d moved and which houses were no longer Democrat.
No one ever asked for this information.
I held onto it for 2 years before finally just throwing it away when I moved.
When I ran in 2016 the Dems wouldn’t let me use their VAN so I just knocked on every door on every street I went down.
I liked this strategy a lot better. I also doubled the number of votes I got, from 9% in 2014 to 18% in 2016.
Personally, I feel there was a huge lost opportunity today.
There were 50 people that could have knocked on doors if Missoula Dems just would have let them.
Instead the people filtered out of the room, and I was one of them.
I left with no walking cards, only the suggestion that I come back next week for training.
I dunno, maybe I’ll still do that.
I just get the sense that Missoula Dems are more interested in increasing their database than getting Quist elected.
So that’s frustrating.
On a final note, who’s really doing what?
I now have a Quist sign in my yard, a sticker on my bumper, and I’ve donated $20 to him.
I’d love to knock on doors and I probably still will.
I don’t like calling people, as I don’t think they like it, so I skip that style of campaigning.
Some people like to do that, and that’s great – every little bit helps.
But again…who is helping?
We saw that Dan West is out there on his own time, giving up money he could be earning through work, all to try and help get out the vote in rural areas.
So he’s doing a lot.
I guess who I’m wondering about are the two mouthpiece blogs of the Montana Democratic Party and who’s running them.
We know the Cowgirl/boy and the crop of writers there aren’t doing much, and we wouldn’t know if they were – they’re anonymous.
But what about ID?
I didn’t see Pete Talbot down at the Missoula event today, but perhaps I just missed him.
But come to think of it, I haven’t seen Talbot profile many Missoula events at all.
And what about the main guy?
I asked Don Pogreba over at ID if he was going to go out and do any Quist door knocking or phone calling.
He said he was too busy reading one of my books.
So there you have it, folks – Democrats in action.
Either they’re too busy worrying about collecting database information or they’re too busy coming up with snide remarks.
Meanwhile the doors remain un-knocked.