It’s called House District 99: Knocking on doors in South Missoula.
For the most part, I tell readers that I’m going around knocking on doors to meet voters.
I tell them that “I’ve knocked on more than 500 doors and handed out nearly 300 of my campaign cards.”
I tell them what streets I’ve been hitting up, and then I go into this bit here:
“It’s been nice meeting so many of you and I’m glad lots of you are voicing your concerns about state and local government.
To be honest, I don’t have a lot of hope for the 2017 Legislature. I feel it’ll be stocked with people that don’t care about you. By this I mean hard-line Republicans that feel giving tax breaks to the rich is more important than funding our essential services.
Alas, until the Montana Democrats can come up with a viable, long-term message that resonates with the rural areas of the Hi-Line and in eastern Montana, I don’t feel we’ll gain much traction to help your life.
Democrats haven’t had a chamber of the legislature since 1991 and we’re always on the defense. I hope we can change this and we need strong voices in Helena to begin that process.
I’d like to be one of those strong voices. Please vote for Greg Strandberg now by mail or at your polling place on June 7. Thanks!”
So it’s a pretty simple letter, one that might be read by a couple hundred people.
Hey, I got damn lucky and they ran it on Sunday, a high-circulation day.
Will it matter?
Honestly, I don’t think it will.
For instance, this week I went out and knocked on a bunch of doors and lots of people told me they’d be voting for my opponent.
They knew her, had worked with her, or perhaps were fellow retired teachers.
It’s hard when you’re running against the establishment in Missoula, the Democratic machine that’s been in place here for so long, looking out for the interests of the rich, well-off and educated Dems.
Sadly, no one really gives a shit about struggling property taxpayers or common workers.
That’s what I tell people I’m running for – to help those people.
But dang it anyways, much of my district is very upscale, with people that have big homes and lots of money.
What the hell can I say to them?
So I’m not surprised that an older, grey-haired teacher is who they think will represent them – most Montana voters look like that, most of our legislature as well.
It’s why Democrats can’t win in this state – no one cares about them.
I said that in my letter and we’ll see how it goes. We have 15 days until the primary and anything could happen.
Most likely I’ll lose, but oh well.
At least I went out and gave it a shot, as you can see from all the streets I’ve gone down, all the doors I’ve knocked upon:
All those red lines are streets I’ve went down, and the blue dots represent my yard signs.
I have six of my ten yard signs up, and that one with a yellow dot is a sign that disappeared for a few days but then magically reappeared.
You’ll remember from my post detailing my strategy for knocking on doors that I put up a few signs outside abandoned businesses.
So far, all remain.
So I’ve been lucky there.
I’d like to get into a bit more detail.
I started knocking on doors on May 1, a Sunday. I did everyday that week, skipping Friday and Saturday.
Then the rain started up and I got slowed down the next week. The rain continued this week, as well as my foot strain.
Well, I kind of rolled it and then the next morning I woke up and it was pretty sore.
I run between doors because it’s faster than walking. I get to a lot more houses that way.
Here’s a detailed look at my progress, with doors knocked on and (campaign cards handed out):
- May 1: 60 (48)
- May 2: 70 (38)
- May 3: 65 (38)
- May 4: 75 (39)
- May 5: 70 (29)
- May 10: 90 (38)
- May 11: 64 (26)
- May 16: 70 (34)
- May 17: 80 (37)
So that comes out to 644 doors that I’ve knocked on and 327 campaign cards that I’ve handed out.
That means 50% of the doors I knock on, it’s just a waste of time.
That’s what it is. For the most part, people do not answer their door.
So consider me knocking on 90 doors in one night but handing out just 38 campaign cards, like happened on May 10.
That’s 52 houses that I knocked on where the person did not open the door.
Mainly, people are not home, they’re in the yard, the garage, the shower, the back room, or – when I hear the TV on – they might not hear my knock or they might just not want to answer.
Many homes have a “no soliciting” sign on the door and I run up, see that, and run right back to the sidewalk and the next house – those houses don’t want me knocking.
If I see my opponent’s campaign sign, I don’t knock…though this week I had a house with a dog in the garage that was barking real loud. I was distracted, ran to the next house, knocked, then saw my opponent’s sign there.
Damn it. Well, the woman came to the door and she looked kind of annoyed, like “what, are you stupid or something?”
Anyways, put a big smile on my face for the next door…or next few doors with no answer.
I don’t mind this strategy. When the Montana Democratic Party still considered me normal and not an anti-semitic Republican like they do now they let me use their database.
Honestly, that was a pain. I’d have to look at which houses to not knock on, and that had me peering at maps while out on the sidewalk.
I feel a better strategy is to just run from door to door. People like seeing that, and I’ve been told that numerous times.
And that’s what I’ve been doing.
So I've been lucky.
All in all, I’ve been very lucky.
- I’m lucky I live in Montana and can run for office. I lived in China for 5 years and could not do that.
- I’m lucky I found an open seat in Missoula to run for. That way I’m not stepping on any toes…aside from those that think they’re entitled to an open seat
- I’m lucky that I have a dad and step-mom that donated $340 to my campaign, as I’d have no money otherwise.
So I’m very, very lucky.
Will it be enough?
In case you didn’t notice, I’m not that confident. Actually, I think we’ll have some major setbacks coming soon.
- First, I’ll likely lose my primary race.
- Next, we probably won’t get enough signatures to legalize marijuana.
- Finally, it’s looking a lot like Bernie will not be getting the presidential nomination.
For the most part, I don’t want to get negative.
Come the night of June 7, I don’t want to get negative.
I don’t want to have that happen on June 17 when the signatures are due and I don’t want to have that happen on July 28 during the last day of the Democratic National Convention.
I just don’t want that…but it might happen.
We’ll see. Like I said, we still have two weeks to the primary and anything could happen.
I strained my foot running from house to house on Tuesday night and together with the rain this week, my door knocking has been slowed.
I’ll get back out there, despite many voters telling me they already sent their absentee ballot in.
Maybe I won’t win this year, but I’ll win eventually.
In many ways, I’m a winner now.