I did it in 2014 and started knocking on doors in February.
Yeah, I was really dumb…but since then I’ve learned a lot.
Like…maybe it’s a better idea to start knocking on doors a couple weeks before voting starts, not a couple months.
So that’s what I’m doing, and each night until about May 10 or 15 I’ll go out and knock on doors.
I say those dates because I figure that’s when I’ll have all my campaign cards handed out.
I spent $75 for 500 of ‘em and so far it’s going well.
I’m not sure I can say the same for my opponent.
My Opponent’s Spending
Losing will be tough for her, especially after she’s raised $12,823 for the primary.
Some of the people that donated to her that stand out to me are:
- Gloria Curdy: $100
- Eric & Ellen Feaver: $150
- Jessica Karjala: $75
- Dan Kemmis: $100
- MEA-MFT Retirement Committee: $88
- Diane Sands: $50
- Hal & Sheila Stearns: $50
- Mark Thane: $100
My, that’s a lot of money to raise to get elected to a Montana House seat, just 1 of 100 that there are.
You’ll remember that I’ve raised a mere $340. Despite this, I’m doing very well.
I know this because of the yard signs.
My opponent is not doing that well on that front, despite spending $1,689.25 on yard signs and another $1,091.45 on walking cards and remittance envelopes.
Yeah, she got suckered into MDLCC’s ploy of making candidates spend hundreds of dollars more than they need and for, in my opinion, really shitty walking cards that voters don’t give one good-Goddamn about.
In fact, she’s spent $4,551.77 so far in this primary election.
Lots of retired teachers have donated to her, and considering she’s a former fundraiser for MEA-MFT, this is not surprising.
Besides the signs (which look Republican to me due to the red lettering and lack of "Democrat" anywhere) she’s also given $100 to the Montana Democratic Party (probably for the Voter Access Network) and another $250 for the Williams Event.
Strangely, she spent $44.72 on a District 99 map…even though you can get these online for free.
Overall, I see myself two years ago in this candidate. Yep, I didn’t know a damn thing either.
Most of all I see it when I hit the doors. My opponent has several yard signs up – interestingly, in the exact same spots I pointed out in my campaign blitz post – but not $1,600 worth.
In my opinion, she got burned out in early-April and has thrown in the towel. I think that from the reactions I get when I knock on doors.
You see, I don’t think my opponent is going to knock on all the doors.
What she will do most likely is rely on the Democratic VAN to give her addresses of “strong Democrats” and “leaning Democrats” and then, maybe, knock on their door.
I’m not doing that.
Instead I’m just parking at the end of a street and going up one side then down the other. I knock on every door and give my card to just about everyone that answers.
Many are surprised to see me, many are thankful. I can tell that they haven’t had a politician on their doorstep in some time.
So my opponent is doing what I did in 2014 – raising a lot of money, getting a lot of printing, then hoping to hell that’ll be enough to carry you through.
Despite being outraised by $12,500 I’ll win this race and I’ll do that by knocking on more doors than she does.
Endorsements aren’t going to matter, candidate interviews won’t do much, and all those MEA-MFT supporters might as well be in China for all the good they’ll do you.
Or are they going out each day to knock on doors and make that voter contact?
No, they’re not – no one does that but candidates, and most of the time they don’t even do it.
So I’m very confident in this race, and just two days on the doors has done that.
My Door Knocking Experiences
So I went out on Sunday night and, although I don’t keep track, I figured I knocked on 60 doors between about 7:30 and 9:00.
I handed out 48 of my campaign cards, and I do keep track of that as I carry 100 of them on me and count how many are left when I’m done for the night.
On Monday night I knocked on about 70 doors and handed out 38 cards.
So what accounts for that discrepancy?
- About 20 houses that I knock on have no answer
- About 10 houses I knock on say they aren’t voting/aren’t registered.
- So that leaves about 40 houses where I talk to the person and give them my card.
Most of the time it goes like this when someone answers the door:
I’d wanted to come by and introduce myself. My name is Greg Strandberg and I’m running for the Montana House of Representatives.
Are you voting in the June primary?
<Yes> = Can I give you my card with my name and website?
<No> = Alright, thanks for your time.
So that’s my campaign strategy. I’ll often give out a ‘ma’am’ instead of a ‘sir’ but rarely do I encounter a ‘miss.’
So most everyone gets a ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’ and so far it’s working out.
Sometimes I even talk to people, though I’ve found that most of the time these are Republicans.
Despite that, I’m so happy I’m knocking on every door and not just those of Democrats.
- First of all, it’s a lot easier to not have to follow a map, something I found slowed me down a lot in 2014.
- Next, it’s important for people in these neighborhoods to know that they aren’t forgotten by the Montana Democrats.
- Finally, I’m very proud to represent the Montana Democratic Party and talk to these people…when they want to.
So what do we talk about when someone does want to talk? It doesn’t happen often, maybe once every twenty doors.
Here are some things:
- I talked with a woman last night that loved Schweitzer but couldn’t think of anything that Bullock has done.
- I talked with a guy on Sunday from New England that’s not happy with things and thinks Missoula needs to develop more.
- I talked with an older man last night that’s frustrated by our tax structure and how this is pressing people on fixed incomes.
Not all of it is easy, either.
I had a guy at 8:45 on Sunday that got mad at me, saying it was too close to the kids’ bedtime to be knocking.
I had a woman get mad at me last night around 7:30 when she said they were in the middle of dinner.
I feel lots of people kind of get ticked off at you because you rang their doorbell and now the dogs are barking like crazy. Some people have a helluva time getting the dogs away from the door just so they can open it.
Lots of pot smoke wafting through neighborhoods in places, and I wonder how some of these upscale neighbors feel about that.
So it’s interesting, and stuff I’ve all seen before. If a house has dogs in the yard, I don’t knock. If they have my opponent’s sign, I don’t knock.
There are lots of little things that tip you off, and the closer it gets to 9 PM the more houses you skip because of no lights on or no car in the driveway or maybe because there are some kids bikes (bedtime, right?).
Again, I have to say how surprised I am that my opponent only has a few signs out. I’ve driven all over my district and she seems to have focused on one small area, right here:
Those are the streets I’ve done. Remember, I tell you everything because I’m totally transparent.
You think I’m scared about my opponent going out and knocking on those doors now?
I’m not, not at all. And if she does, awesome!
I was so happy to put up 4 campaign signs last night, leaving me with 6 more.
I had a man on Rainbow Street allow me to put one up after he asked if I was a Democrat. I said yes and he got happy and I asked about putting a sign up. It’s a hard sell but I got that one, and it felt good (I’d been rejected by about 4 houses that night).
Besides that I put 3 signs up in vacant lots/abandoned businesses. I looked at the rules governing campaign signs in Montana and Missoula and didn’t see any firm rules on this.
Mainly I go with the philosophy I learned in China – it’s easer to ask forgiveness than it is to ask for permission.
So I’m getting out there and doing the work, which is knocking on doors.
My opponent has more than $8,000 left out of her $12,000 and I have $0 out of the $340 I raised.
But I have two legs, a firm handshake, a nice smile, and the ability to look someone in the eye.
Together with my ability to go out each night and do the work, I’ll win this race.