Campaigning for my Precinct Race

Two weeks ago, Kansas held its primary elections. As part of the primary, we elect precinct committeeman and committeewomen. It’s sort of confusing, as everyone else on the ballot goes on to face a challenger in the November general election. But for the precinct races, it ends in August.

Earlier this year someone convinced me that being a precinct committeeman was worthwhile, so in June I filed. Some precincts don’t even have candidates, and in many others there’s only one candidate. But in my precinct I had an opponent.

At first, I decided not to campaign. I was involved in another campaign and working hard on it. And, it was more important to me that that candidate be elected to his office than it was for me to be elected precinct committeeman. So I didn’t want to take time away from my efforts in his campaign. But someone else convinced me that I should campaign for myself and try to be elected.

How, then, should I campaign? Everything I’ve read told me that personal contact with voters is the best way to get votes. So I made a campaign flyer, which you can download here. (Imagine this printed on both sides of a sheet of paper and folded.) It’s pretty plain — okay, painfully plain — but it says what I wanted to say.

I obtained the voter list for my precinct, and identified the houses I wanted to visit. There were nearly 200. I planned to visit starting the Friday before the Tuesday election.

Then, on the Thursday before the election, a mailing arrived at my home. It was a generic mailing which you can view here. You can tell that the candidates’ names and polling place location are printed separately.

Nowhere on this piece can you identify who sent it. Kansas law doesn’t require disclosure for precinct races like this.

So now I panicked. Could I still win? I had 200 houses to visit, and very little time. So for many houses, I just “dropped” my flyer without ringing the doorbell. But I talked to many voters, especially on a warm and sunny Saturday morning, when many people were outside working in their yards before it got too hot.

I never saw evidence that my opponent did anything like this.

The result? I won by 67 votes to 32 votes.

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