Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Best Birthday Greeting

Last week Suzanne Elder, a very savvy marketing professional with significant campaign experience sent me a birthday greeting on Facebook and lamented my loss in my objection against my opponent’s petition. I replied:

“Although there were times when the idea of getting Mell off the ballot put a big grin on my face, I think it best to defeat her in the voting booth in Feb rather than face her as an Independent candidate next Nov. The unpaid media that the challenge earned me was worth every penny paid to Rich Means (my attorney). Now we need to move ahead. I am desperate for some good political savvy and experienced volunteers. My 15 friends who are working for me are green at it. Any ideas where I can get a campaign manager? I actually have money to pay him or her.”

She replied, “Let's make a time to chat. I may be able to help you for a short period. I can put together some analytics and a canvassing and field plan for you.”

We met on Sunday, after a weekend in which IVI-IPO voted to provisionally endorse me. The meeting went very well and it was obvious that her expertise would help move my campaign up a very big notch. She left me with homework and promised to return with a plan.

On Thursday she did so and it showed that in spite of the naysayers I could win. Later that day, I got a phone call from a significant and well-read Chicago journalist who is writing a full-length article about my race against the Chicago Machine. He thinks it will see the light of print just after the new year, proving that my race is being closely watched.

Yes, I am optimistic and I assure you that I know optimism ought always to be tempered with reality. I also know that my biggest problem is overcoming self-fulfilling prophecy. I had hoped, for instance, to get an endorsement from SEIU. After all, I have strong union credentials and have even participated in several union activities with them. Instead they chose to sit out my contest, endorsing no one.

That’s the rule of political thinking. If you can’t endorse the one you think will win, then certainly don’t endorse someone you think will lose, even if he or she is totally on your side. The lack of endorsement, of course, then helps fulfill the prophecy of defeat.

I had talked to Suzanne about helping me last summer and for a variety of reasons nothing came of it. So we had to mog through the summer on our own (us being me and my volunteers). Persevere we did and no one knocked me off the ballot. The few who really backed me, kept backing me to the hilt, affording me my first two endorsements, in spite of terrific odds to the contrary.

I write all this because each week it becomes more obvious that the original glimmer of hope for my victory shines a bit brighter.

As I write this blog, there are 53 days until the election. We’re on the ballot; we’ve got some money in the bank; Suzanne has put together a dynamite package that will lead to victory; and the folks who laughed at me when I asked them to sign my petition are beginning to think that indeed I just might have the last laugh.

But it’s too early to start laughing, even if a big smile is appropriate. I need volunteers to do the work on the street and money ($15,000) to fund the plan.

OK blog-readers. OK Facebook friends. OK everyone else. Now’s the time to dig a little deeper and help me go for the 3,750 votes I need to win. Repost the link to my blog on your Facebook page. Email your friends to visit my website at Tweet my URL to your followers. Put a check in the mail or go to to add your donation.

If you live in Chicagoland, I need you to commit to working for me between now and the election.

Time is moving toward the big day -- Feb 2. I need the cash now for two very important reasons: First, there are printers to pay so the direct mail part of the campaign can be mailed on time. That part needs to be done now. Secondly, Dec 31 marks the end of another reporting period. When my D2 (that’s what they’re called in Illinois) shows your support, it will be one more nail in the coffin of self-fulfilling prophecy. The naysayers will have to say “Gosh, that guy is doing it. Maybe, just maybe, he might win.”

Every likes to back a winner. It’s up to you and me to show them that I am (and will be) the winner.

Act now and the District 40 machine will tremble and fall on Feb 2. Then you and I will have plenty of reason to laugh the last laugh.

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