Friday, June 22, 2018

Th Candidate's Wife: Primo goes hunting

Tomorrow, our (very nice) neighbor is taking Primo hunting.

This will be interesting.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: The Empress has no clothes

Me: How was it? How did it go? What did she say? What did you say? What happened?

Primo: Oh my gosh! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!

Me: What?

Primo: SHE'S A DITZ!!!

Me: But - her facebook page and her website are so polished!

Primo: Yes, but she is a horrible speaker!

Me: You were not a good speaker when you started, either.

Primo: No! It takes time! I mean, she comes across as a nice person and everything, but she sounded kind of - clueless.

Me: What do you mean?

Primo: It's not just that her speaking style isn't good. That's understandable. It's that she has no depth. She doesn't even know what she's talking about. She doesn't come across as serious or thoughtful.

Me: What did she talk about?

Primo: [Candidate from the next district*] and I spoke first. We are both deeply involved. I have been really involved with education issues. He's been the city council president for a few years. We both had a lot to talk about that gave us credibility - about what we want to accomplish and about what we have been involved in.

[*A federal prosecutor and is very active in our city politics - I know him from serving on a board with him for a few years. He is very smart, very knowledgeable, and has a ton of gravitas. Just like Primo.]

Me: OK. What did she say?

Primo: She didn't have much! She cited attending a town hall that [our congressman] conducted - the one where they had the videotape of him being cranky - as her involvement! She was in the tape protesting.

Me: Wait. She used attending a congressional town hall as an example of her political involvement?

Primo: Yes.

Me: But - I have been to several town halls. I don't think that constitutes deep involvement.

Primo: Nope.

Me: Not that I think you have to be deeply involved. I think it's OK for people to run, even as novices. Everyone has to start somewhere. And I honestly don't want professional politicians.

Primo: Nope. Other guys in the legislature are desperate - this is their job - it's the only thing they know how to do.

Me: Not you.

Primo: Nope. And yeah - it's OK for someone to be new. I was new. But I'm the one they know in this district. I'm the one who can win in November.

Me: The [other side] would eat her lunch!

Primo: I know. There's no way she could be in a serious debate.

Me: I never expected this plot twist.

Primo: Me neither! Maybe this is just a few people from the neighborhood? If it's [Big Political Figure] backing her, it's really insulting! If BPF did recruit someone to run against me, it's kind of offensive that they would pick someone so insubstantial.

The Candidate's Wife: Primo is tormented about confronting his challenger

Primo: I've been invited to a candidate forum tonight.

Me: Are you going?

Primo: I should. I need to see her speak. But I don't even know if I want to run. It's been so nice this past week not campaigning. We could have our life back!

Me: I know. But I don't want you to regret anything. And I don't want you to withdraw from the race because you are scared of her. It's OK not to want to run or to be a legislator but I think you would regret withdrawing from fear.

Primo: It's not that I'm scared of her; it's that I am so tired of the BS. I ran before because someone had to run. But now, if someone else wants to do it, fine. I don't care. I don't have to have this. I've had my career. I don't need this to pay the bills. I don't need this bullshit from her or from other people in my own party.

Me: I will support whatever you want to do.

Primo: I have to know, but I don't want to deal with her or with Not Running Again.

Me: He's a jerk.

Primo: Maybe I should just go to this other event.

Me: Maybe.

Primo: But I want to see what she says.

Me: So go.

Primo: I don't want to speak. But I would have to. How do I talk about how I am the best candidate if I am not even sure I'm running?

Me: You ARE the best candidate. You ARE the person better positioned to win in November. You have been involved in trying to make things better for the people in our district for eight years. You're the one who's been in it since the beginning, not the one who shows up only when there is a chance for your party to win.

Primo: I am.

Me: You could just hit your talking points and ignore her.

Primo: I could.

Me: You talk about how you've been here from the start and how your numbers have gone up in each election and you have the name recognition and are the one who can beat the other party.

Primo: What if she says something about me when she talks?

Me: You don't address anything she says. You stick to your script. You don't let yourself get distracted.

Primo: But what if she brings up the highway construction?

[She has copied parts of Primo's platform word for word, including his bits about transportation funding.]

Me: Then you ignore her. People who know you know this has been in your platform from the beginning. You have been writing about it for months now. Here's what you do - you talk about how the district has not been winnable since 2010, when the lines were re-drawn, but that you have been in it since then, fighting for the people of [the state], speaking at public hearings, protesting, whatever. Because she is going to say, "Why should you vote for this middle-aged guy who has lost three elections? It's time for someone new, blah blah blah."

Primo: She won't say that!

Me: She would if I were coaching her.

Primo: Why?

Me: Because those are your perceived weak points and that's where I would have her attack you! You have run three times and have not won. You need to make sure people understand that the district has not been winnable until now - that even the incumbent [who was from Primo's party] wouldn't run again after the re-districting.

Primo: You think she would say that?

Me: I would tell her to. I would also tell her to hit the woman and mom thing hard. Which means you have to make sure to refer to [his stepdaughters and grandchildren]. People think that people without children don't have a stake in the future. You do have children. You have grandchildren. You talk about public education and college costs and say that you were able to pay to send your two stepdaughters to college but you worry that college is becoming unaffordable and that it might not be so easy for your grandchildren to go. You just mention them - don't make a big deal of it - but get it into the conversation that you have kids.

Primo: OK.

Me: Stick to your script. Don't let her throw you. Ignore what she says. You can do this. You really are the better candidate.

Primo: People who I thought were my friends are supporting her.

Me: That just means they are better friends with her. And it's just four people, right?

Primo: What if I see NRA?

Me: You give him the cut direct.

Primo: I pretend I don't see him?

Me: Exactly.

Primo: I just act like he's not there?

Me: Yes.

Primo: What if he talks to me?

Me: Cordial response, look past his shoulder, say, "Excuse me, I have to talk to whoever."

Primo: I don't like him.

Me: He's a jerk.

Primo: This whole thing has me so stressed out.

Me: I know, baby. It's hard.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: Where is the challenger getting her money? And does Primo really care about running anymore?

Remember I told you about the woman who told Primo she was running against him in the primary? And how she and our former city councilman (AKA Not Running Again NRA) had decided that one of them would challenge Primo? And that NRA had invited Primo to like Challenger's facebook page?

(Primo did not do that.)

And that Challenger informed Primo that people were signing her nominating papers even though they had already signed his and that people didn't even know there was a primary to which I yelled at the wall in our house, "IT IS NOT PRIMO'S JOB TO TELL PEOPLE ABOUT YOU YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO ASK IF THEY HAVE ALREADY SIGNED FOR ANYONE!"

And did I tell you that Anti-Development guy had messaged a really good, very involved political friend of Primo's (let's call him Bob) thinking he was talking to Bob's wife, Jane, but unbeknownst to ADG, Bob and Jane share a facebook account and Bob has read everything that ADG has written to Jane, which Jane would have TOLD HIM ANYHOW, telling Jane that ADG doesn't like Primo because he wants someone who is anti-development, WHICH PRIMO IS!!!!!

And that ADG wanted another candidate?

So today, after Primo has spent the past ten days wondering if he even wants to run again because this is turning into a major pain in the neck and he is tired of being hit from his own side (See: Guy Who Thinks He Is Like Thomas Jefferson Does Not Like How Primo Is Campaigning), ADG messaged Jane again to tell her (i.e., to tell Bob) that THIS is his candidate and included a link to Challenger's newly-launched website.

And Primo wonders if ADG knows that Challenger is NRA's person. And that NRA is very pro-developer.

Which is why he does not like Primo.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: Primo's own party criticizes him and he thinks, Really, guys? and - I love him but politics is not for people who expect niceness

To which I say, "You know this is what life would be like every single day if you became a legislator? That people in your own party will be pissed at you if you don't toe the party line every single time? That you will face criticism from within the party unless you do exactly what they tell you to do?"

What did Primo do to make The Legislator Who Compared Himself to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison upset?

(Sort of compared himself, but Primo's campaign manager nodded sagely when I told him the story of how Legislator wondered why I didn't help Primo campaign and how our Founding Fathers were not citizen legislators. CM said, "Yeah, he does that.")

Primo went to a teacher protest.

A union leader posted a photo on facebook about the protest and wrote he wondered why more legislators from the school district had not attended the protest.

Primo commented that he had wondered the same thing.

As soon as Primo told me that, I thought, "Oh no. That - was not wise."

But Primo does not read behind the lines and takes everything at face value and he says what he means and doesn't do passive-aggressive.

So he was just wondering.

That's all.

But - ouch.

"You - sort of - called them all out," I said.

He was bewildered. "But I just wondered! And then Legislator Who Is Not Thomas Jefferson got really mad and sent me a message and copied a lot of the other legislators."

Me: Ignore him. Campaign Manager says he's a punk and he's right.

Primo: But I wasn't trying to insult him!

Me: Yeah. I know. But - I can see why he might take it that way.

Primo: But I would never insult him like that! Not on purpose!

Me: Perhaps in the future, it might be a good idea not - to make that kind of comment. People can take it wrong.

Primo: Campaign Manager thinks I need to apologize.

Me: He's right. You didn't intentionally harm him, but man - there is nothing to make people as angry as being called on something when they are wrong. He knows he should have been there or otherwise supported it and he's stung because what you said was true. Still, you need to apologize.

Primo: I don't want to.

Me: I know.

Primo: And then he wrote that he doesn't like how I am campaigning.

Me: It's not his campaign.

Primo: He's making me mad.

Me: You need to ignore him.

Primo: I can't!

Me: You know that this is what it will be like all the time if you win, right? You know this is what politics is like. You're used to facts. Politics is not about facts. It's not about doing the right thing. It's about alliances and making deals and stabbing people in the back.

Primo: But - I want to do the right thing!

Me: Then maybe you should go back to engineering.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: The primary challenger is very worried about dividing the neighborhood, to which I say, Then why are you running?

The law here is that you can sign the nominating petition for only one candidate for the office. Even if there are people running from both parties, you can sign only one petition.


You can sign only one petition.

If you sign more than one petition for the same position, your signature will be invalidated on all petitions and will not count for anyone.

So Primo's volunteers, although they did not mention the primary, did ask if people had signed any nominating petitions.

Because it's really not a primary-specific question - even if Primo were unopposed, someone from the other party could have asked the person to sign.

Primo's volunteers discovered that some people had already signed the challenger's petition, but there did not seem to be a coordinated, organized approach to getting signatures.

(Primo pays to use the party database, which indicates who has voted in which elections and has a measure, if known, of where the person is on the political spectrum. We use the lists to decide, block by block, which doors should be knocked.)

Primo's opponent texted him this morning:

I want to let you know that we have had numerous reports while collecting signatures that people who signed your clipboards did not know there's a primary, and that they didn't know they could only sign for one of us so they signed for both. Since that nullifies those signatures, I thought you should know the volunteers didn't seem to understand that. My people halted that whenever possible so that your signatories didn't sign ours and negate your signatures. We sure wouldn't want to end up with duplicate signatures so I wanted to let you know.


Apparently, the challenger's volunteers did not know to ask if someone had already signed.

Which is the correct process.

But no - why on earth would Primo volunteer that there is a primary? The primary is not relevant to any of this. Primo has to collect signatures whether or not there is a primary.

Primo and his volunteers asked if people had already signed. They know quite well that multiple signatures render the duplicates void.

That's all you need to ask.




Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: What we, the 99%, want

After the guy sitting next to us at a Patsy Cline/Elvis tribute concert at a suburban bar learns Primo is running for the state legislature.

Guy: I don't want to hear long speeches. I turn them off if they go too long. What I want is someone who knows me. Someone who understands me.

Then he bought Primo not one but two beers.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: This? This is why I hate politicians and reject all their empty promises

T - ten days: Local Politician tells Primo not only will she support him, she will help collect signatures and will bring ten clipboards to the signature-gathering event

T - seven days: We have to cancel the Sunday signature-gathering event because of weather and reschedule it for today (today = T)

T - two days: Primo confirms with Local Politician that she will bring clipboards today

T - one day: Primo asks Local Politician (who lives 30 minutes from our house) if he should just come by her house to pick up clipboards so he can have everything ready this morning. LP tells him she's not home but NOT TO WORRY SHE WILL BRING THE CLIPBOARDS

T - one hour: LP tells Primo she can't come so sorry


Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: Maybe just a right-wingtip conspiracy?

Primo: I feel like there are all these people against me. I never expected to have to fight my own side.

Me: It is awful. I feel terrible for you.

Primo: And the----

(phone rings)

Twenty minutes later

Primo: That was my friend who is helping [Guy in next district over who hasn't called Primo back]!

Me: And?

Primo: [Guy in next district over] is trying to download the nomination petitions and is having trouble. My friend has asked if I would help. Maybe [Guy in next district over] isn't against me?

Me: He probably wouldn't ask for help if he were.

Primo: No! Maybe this conspiracy feels a lot bigger than it really is.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: The vast right-wing conspiracy

Primo: Why didn't these people just come talk to me before deciding to run someone against me? Why didn't they even ask where I stood?

Me: Maybe because you have made your views clear and they know you can't be bought.

Primo: And I called [Guy in next district who has just announced] to congratulate him and tell him he has my full support. I left him a voicemail but he hasn't called me back. Is he against me, too?

Me: Well, he is a federal prosecutor. But I worked with him for a few years on that board and I am pretty sure he is aligned with you on the development issues. He is as anti-gross development as you and I are.

Primo: But he won't call me back. And his friend - who I thought was a friend of mine - won't call me back.

Me: This feels like second grade, doesn't it?

Primo: Yes. I don't like it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: Not Running Again (NRA) throws salt at Primo

Primo: My primary challenger put up her facebook page. Not Running Again (NRA) invited me to like it.

Me: NRA is a huge jerk.

The Candidate's Wife: The primary challenger says she is "facing a primary!"

She put up her facebook page.

She has copied Primo's platform almost exactly, including some very specific, district-only issues.

And she says she needs help because she is "facing a primary."

Let me fix that for her:

She has created a completely unnecessary primary.

In a year where a [Primo's Party] candidate actually has a chance of winning the general, she has created a completely unnecessary primary that will divert energy, time, and resources away from campaigning against [the other party].

She agrees with Primo on all the issues. She is copying his platform. But she has decided that the best way to advance this platform is not to support the person who actually has a chance of winning - the person who has campaigned three times* in the district and who is known to a lot more voters - in the general election but to run herself.

Because she offers - what? - that Primo does not?

* I used to think that if you didn't win the first time, it was because you were a loser who could never win, but I have since learned that sometimes, it takes several elections to get your name out there. There are many now-successful politicians who had to go through several campaigns before they finally won, i.e., LBJ, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George Bush, Barack Obama.

Monday, May 28, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition

It's 8:56 p.m. The signature-gathering event is tomorrow.

People are coming over at 11:30 to pick up nominating petitions and walk lists. A walk list is a list of names and addresses sorted by whatever criteria. Usually, if you are campaigning, you don't bother talking to someone who never votes. You don't bother with someone who is solidly on the other side. You want to spend as little time as possible per voter to get the vote. If there were unlimited time, I suppose you could try to convince the non-voters that this time, they should vote, but your time is probably better spent talking to ten other people who do vote.

[And this is why I was not outraged when Mitt Romney said something about not bothering to try to reach the 47%. He said, "There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what." What followed that was not so good, but honestly, that's the fact of campaigning - you are usually not going to convince the other side to vote for you. So you try to turn out the base and, if possible, get the people in the middle.]

Primo has not printed the petitions or the walk lists.

Primo has discovered he is almost out of toner.

Office Max is closed.

I. Am. Dying.

Unforced error, I call it.

So I am stress eating.

And I have been stress baking all day.

I swear this campaign is going to kill me.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: And now? I bake

We are having a nominating petition signatures gathering party at our house in two days.

I told Primo I would make snacks.

Here's what I'm making:

David Lebovitz's dark chocolate sea salt brownies (once you try these, you will never go back)

Lemon-Almond Butter Cake

Chocolate, Coffee, and Cardamom Cake (from Honey & Co cookbook)

Memphis Junior League onion dip

The Candidate's Wife: Primo descends into despair. Then he talks to his campaign manager, who is worth the money just for talking Primo off the ledge. Then he believes me that he actually has a message.

Primo: I never thought I would have to run against someone from my own party.

Primo: I don't even know how to run against someone I agree with!

Primo: Stop! I have to figure this out! I have to do a complete reset! This is a completely new problem! I am an engineer! I have to think in sequence!

Primo: Screw this. I don't need this. I don't HAVE to run. I don't want to deal with a primary.


Long conversation with Campaign Manager, who has, since our Big Conversation About The Value He Is Bringing, has earned my undying gratitude by being the person Primo calls when he is stressed out.


Primo: CM thinks this is not a problem.

Primo: CM thinks a primary will bring me more attention.

Primo: CM thinks I can win a primary.

Primo: But I'm still not sure what my message is. She and I agree on the issues!

Me: But - you are the one who has been in the trenches since 2010. You are the one who has been fighting, by campaigning for other candidates and by speaking at hearings at the capitol and by supporting all the things you believe, for the people of this state. I am sure your opponent is a lovely pers---

Primo: She IS a nice person! She even said she had wanted to run last fall but didn't want to take this away from me.

Me: Then -- why is she?

Primo: She and City Council Not Running Again (NRA) agreed a few months ago that one of them would run. His whole thing about not running again for city council so he could spend more time with his family was bullshit.

Me: Ha!

Primo: He would be easier to run against. Nobody who has ever met him seems to like him. [Friend who lives in our neighborhood and who works in the capitol] said if NRA won this race, he could condescend to 50,000 people instead of just the people in our neighborhood.

Me: And that was unprompted?

Primo: Yes!

Me: Anyhow - your message is - and you don't have to badmouth Same-Party Opponent - is that you have been in the trenches. You were fighting even when there wasn't a chance for someone in Your Party to win this district. You have been here for the duration. You're committed. You have been fighting and will continue to fight. You didn't just show up when the odds actually got good.

Primo: Only I can't say it like that, of course.

Me: No. No need to say anything negative. But you just have to tell the truth. If this were just about positions, then robots could run. But it's more than that. This is about who you are and what you have done. You can win this.

The Candidate's Wife: Primo finally talks to the woman who called him yesterday

Primo: She wants to run.

Me:Against you.

Primo: She says we share a lot of the same values.

Me: So ----- she wants to run against you? Even though she agrees with you?

Primo: I don't get it.

The Candidate's Wife: This is what it's like wondering if someone is going to challenge your husband in a primary

Imagine having a really upset stomach.

Imagine wanting to throw up.

Imagine not being able to throw up.

Or not knowing how long it will be before you stop feeling like you are going to throw up.

Imagine thinking about all those times your husband ran when the district really wasn't winnable but the party wanted someone on the ballot.

Imagine thinking about all those times your husband spent hours and hours and hours campaigning for other people.

Imagine the district might be winnable.

And now, everyone wants to run.

From your husband's own party. Against him.

That's what it's like.

Feeling sick and not knowing when or if it's going to end.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: Primo is asking around about Not Running Again (NRA) and we realize (no surprise) that I am not the only woman who thinks NRA is kind of a jerk

Primo: I talked to [former superintendent of the school board].

Me: Have I met her?

[I am discovering this is a Big Problem in politics. I am The Spouse. Like it or not, Primo is judged somewhat based on what people think about me. When I am with him, I need to be ultra charming and lovely and supportive and my house needs to be clean or else I am A Bitch Who Won't Bake Cookies or Keep a Clean House.

The only thing worse than A Bitch Who Won't Bake Cookies or Keep a Clean House?

A Bitch Who Won't Bake Cookies or Keep a Clean House and Who Does Not Remember My Name.

I have a really hard time remembering the names of all the political people I meet, especially because at almost any political event I attend, I am counting the minutes until I can leave.]

Primo: I don't know. Anyhow, I asked her about Not Running Again (NRA).

Me: And?

Primo: You know that little art festival in September?

Me: Yes.

Primo: She was volunteering at the ticket table and NRA walked up. He said, "I'm Not."

Me: That's all?

Primo: Yes. Just his first name. As if she should know who he is.

Me: Would she even have known him if he had given his full name?

Primo: I doubt it. She doesn't live in his district and the festival is in another district.

Me: What a jerk.

Primo: He was really annoyed that she didn't know who he is.

Me: He is a city councilman. In a small city. Even the people in his district don't know who he is!

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: Primo goes on the offensive but I am not a Good Supportive Candidate's Wife so sue me

Primo: I called Not Running Again (NRA) to talk to him about his possibly running, but he didn't answer. 

Me: I know.

Primo: So I talked to people about it last night at the Party Prom. They suggested I have a neighborhood blitz next week to collect nominating signatures.

Me: OK.

Primo: You're not going to like this.

Me: What?

Primo: I'm going to have people come here.

Me: What?!

Primo: I am going to have them come here to get the clipboards and the sheets.

Me: Oh. Lord.

Primo: And then I thought I might grill some hot dogs.

Me: Which means you will need plates and condiments and people will be in the house. 

Primo: Not necessarily! Hot dogs are finger food!

Me: Not. Really.

Primo: They are!

Me: I am not going to be a part of this.

Primo: But---!

Me: Do what you want. But I will not be visible. I am not a part of this. This is not how I want to spend my Sunday afternoon and I don't want to play hostess. I don't care if you do this, but I am not a part of it.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: Primo talks to Campaign Manager and some other people about a possible primary challenge and is not as despondent as he was

Me: I'm sorry this is so stressful.

Primo: I feel better now. I talked to Campaign Manager and to [someone else with influence whose role I cannot remember]. They reminded me that the County Mayor* might not be so eager to fund a campaign against me - I already have endorsements from nine pretty prominent, powerful legislators.

Me: That's true!

Primo: And several unions.

Me: exACTLY!

Primo: He's not going to go against that. And Not Running Again (NRA) - he can primary me if he wants, but he is not going to get party support because I already have it. Plus he is not known outside of his district.

Me: AND he's a jerk!

Primo: I feel better.

Me: BAM!

Primo: I have to get to that dinner** early so I can ask [other prominent union leaders, politicians, and people of influence] for their endorsements.

Me: You have A PLAN!!!

Primo: Yes. Normally, you wait until after the filing deadline**** to ask for endorsements, but CM suggested I ask for them now.

Me: Great idea!

Primo: If NRA wants to run, go ahead. But it won't change my strategy. It might mean I campaign harder a little earlier----

Me: But it won't be wasted effort.

Primo: Nope.

Me: Knock 'em dead.

* The County Mayor has funded several campaigns against incumbents he doesn't like. He is trying to get a lot of power, which I totally get - that is how humans can be sometimes, but I don't agree with how he wants to use his power. He wants to develop EVERYTHING. Also - he is a rich kid who has never had to work for his own money. He had thousands of dollars in parking tickets a few years ago - all from the same location - because it was worth $36 a shot to park where he wanted to park. He's That Guy.

** I call it the "X Party Prom." Because it is. It's a prom for grownups.

*** No, I am not going. Why do you ask? Why on earth would I torture myself by spending a Saturday evening hanging out with politicians? Please.

**** The deadline for turning in the nominating petitions. For Primo's race, the deadline is early June, so he is asking (April, May) over two months ahead of time.

The Candidate's Wife: Primo and I reminisce about what a jerk Not Running Again is

Primo: Remember when NRA emailed that woman who wrote to him about the development and said, "I appreciate how much courage it must have taken for you to cut and paste from a form letter?"

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: Primo is despondent because there is gossip that Party Insiders want to primary him but he doesn't know who or what

But he does think he knows why. I have made some reference, I believe, to the development issues facing our city. We live in an older neighborhood - a first-ring suburb of houses built around the wars close to downtown. Our city has great public schools, really nice houses, and great services. It's a nice place to live.

The developers want to put high-density housing in the middle of neighborhoods of single-family homes. They want to build five-story buildings next to single-family homes.

I am not hearing any support for from people who actually live near the proposed development. Primo and I did not support the building of a 66-unit apartment building on the church parking lot two blocks from our house. We do not support development on the grounds of some really nice parkland in our city.

But there are people who want this development to happen. The people who would make money from it, of course. People who are much richer than we are and live in much fancier neighborhoods where this sort of thing would never be allowed to happen.

He has been told - but nobody will give him actual names - that the Establishment wants to run someone against him.

Primo: They aren't even doing me the courtesy of letting me know! That's how it's supposed to work.

Me: It's kind of as if during WWII, after we had started fighting the Germans, the Russians, and the Japanese, Illinois had also decided to fight against us.

Primo: This is not how it's done!

Me: It must feel like you have been betrayed.

Primo: I'm the one who ran in this district when nobody thought it was winnable. I have run three times! I'm the one who has put in the work. I'm the one with the name recognition. They should be supporting me, not fighting me.

Me: Except - they know you are not a Big Money Guy. That you're not a sellout. That you would not support big development deals.

Primo: I wouldn't!

Me: I didn't think your party was officially about Big Money and Developers.

Primo: They're not supposed to be!

Me: So as long as they say the right things about the social issues, it's OK for them to screw the little people over on anything to do with money?

Primo: Maybe.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: Primo gets a cryptic message from the city council candidate who ran against the woman who won

Remember how Not Running Again City Councilman (NRA) tried to intimidate a candidate for his seat into not running?

Primo stepped into that fray and supported the woman who was running. He also had a beer with the other candidate, whom we shall call Candidate B.

I met Candidate B. Nice guy. Nothing wrong with him. But Woman Candidate was very clear and strong in her message of Let's Stop This Crazy Re-Zoning Required Development.

After Woman Candidate won, Primo sent a message to Candidate B, saying he ran a good race and Primo's support of Woman Candidate was not personal against Candidate B. He suggested Candidate B and he get together for another beer.

Candidate B did not answer the beer question, but wrote back that Primo had not "seen the last of [Candidate B]."

Which Primo takes to suggest that Candidate B might primary Primo for the State House.

To which I said, "But he couldn't even win the City Council seat!"

To which Primo answered, "But he would get the developer money behind him for this race."

We both sighed.

Developers. Big Money. Must money always win in politics?

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: I am surprised into having a frank discussion with Primo's campaign manager so I try to channel my management hero, Alison Greene of Ask A Manager, a blog you should be reading every day

I have not been happy with Primo's campaign manager. I thought that by January, we should have a complete campaign strategy and a week by week plan for doors, media, mailing, events, whatever.

We do not have that.

I suggested to Primo that if the campaign manager was not going to do manage the campaign, perhaps Primo should fire him.

Primo was reluctant to do so - Campaign Manager (CM) is our friend.



I told Primo really specific things CM should be doing and suggested he and CM talk about them.

Here's the deal - Primo is not a planner. He gets things done, but by staying up all night to meet his deadlines.

CM is also like that.

Primo needs someone like me running his campaign.

Only I do not want to do that job.

I got home from work and CM was in our kitchen!


Primo: CM is here. I've been telling him the things you have been saying. He knows everything.

Me [Oh man.]

Primo: I think it would be useful for you to explain what you mean to him because you are much better at organizing than I am.

Me [SERIOUSLY!? You are dumping this on me?]

CM: I really want to hear what you have to say, Goldie. It's OK.

Me [IHateToGiveNegativeFeedbackIHateToGiveNegativeFeedbackIHateToGiveNegativeFeedbackWhatWouldAlisonDo?WhatWouldAlisonDo?WhatWouldAlisonDo?]

I take a deep breath and think about What Alison Would Do.

Clear, direct, objective statements.

Me: CM. I want to see a written campaign strategy.

Me: CM and Primo. I want you guys to meet at least once a week. I suggest you meet every Friday.

Me: CM. You need to be sending us a statement of account every month.

Me: CM. I love you. You're a friend. We want you to succeed as a campaign manager. But - you have to bring more value to us than we are paying. You need to find donors and you need to find voters we would not otherwise reach.

Me: CM. You guys have to finish that highway construction ad you were filming.

Me: I really don't want to be involved in this! I do not want to manage a campaign!

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: There really was a hidden agenda behind Not Running Again city councilman who has never recognized me when I have answered the door to him in my own house several times

Remember Not Running Again City Council Person (NRA)? The one who tried to intimidate one of the candidates - the one Primo supported - into not running?


NRA tweeted that he is thinking of running for the State House.

As in, NRA would primary Primo.

Oh good grief.

BTW, this guy has four children under 12. He promised his wife he would not run for city council again and that he would resign from all the boards he is on. I can't believe she is still married to him - he has stuck her with all the work at home and I bet she has to take care of him, too. Her life would be easier if he weren't even around - it would be one fewer person to feed and clean up after.

Which means I cannot possibly believe his wife would be happy about NRA running for the State House and possibly winning. He would be home even less than he has been.

(Or maybe that's all part of her plan?)

The only good thing about this potential primary is that NRA comes off horribly in person. I know I am biased because even though he has been to my house three times - and each time, I HAVE OPENED THE DOOR TO HIM AND INTRODUCED MYSELF, HE HAS NEVER EVEN REMEMBERED WHO I AM.

I know I am biased. But someone like that? I don't think he would impress anyone when he is doing doors. Whereas almost everyone who meets Primo - even my aunts and uncles, who are as far away from Primo politically as you can get, likes him. My family adores him.

But we don't want a primary. It would suck resources out of the campaign.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: In which Primo and I argue about how to address an envelope

Primo thinks a letter mailed intra-state needs to include the state name.

I say it does not.

We have been arguing about this for ten minutes and we are both very very cranky. I am pointing out to him that when he uses volunteer labor to address a couple hundred envelopes that maybe Labor should get to decide how the work is done.

I also pointed out to him that I have written way more letters than he has and guess what I NEVER put the state abbreviation in when I mail letters and YET THE LETTERS GET TO THEIR RECIPIENTS because the PO cares about the zip code.

But he is an engineer. And a control freak.

Do not let the people you love run for office. You will fight about things you never even thought people could fight about.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: This is how it works when I do Primo THE FAVOR of taking photos for him

Primo wants photos of himself standing in front of the yard signs for two city council candidates he is supporting.

Here's how it works.

We go outside.

I go back inside to put on my winter coat.

I go back outside.

He fusses with the yard signs.

I wait.

I wait.

I wait.

Finally he is ready.

I take photo after photo after photo. It's cold and electrons are free. I try to get good composition with no trees coming out of his head and without his face being distorted.

Primo: Stopstopstopstop! Waitwaitwaitwait!

Me: What?

Primo: You're moving too fast!

Me: It's COLD!

Primo: Butbutbutbut!

Me, moving like a pro, talking to myself about trees and roofs and getting everything in the photo

Me: There. That's enough. Let's go inside. You can take a look at what we've got.

Primo: I CAN'T PICK FROM 20 photos!

Me: Why not?

Primo: I can pick from five. I can't pick from 20!!!! How am I supposed to choose?

Me: It's for a facebook post! That's not even about you! It's supposed to be about the city council candidates you support!

Primo: It's too many!

Me: Fine. Give me.

I scroll through the photos and instantly delete the ones that are OBVIOUSLY bad.

Me: Here. Look at these.

Primo: But my eyes are - squinty. That's why I wanted you to say, "One two three!" and let me pose!

Me: Ummm. But your eyes ARE squinty when you smile!

Primo: They are?

Me: Yes. That is how you look.

Primo: Oh.

Me: Pick one. I'm cold. Those are good enough.

Primo [engineer stuff about how he will have to upload from my camera to his computer because if I message the photos to him, the resolution won't be as good]

Me [back to Chicago Med - yes, I am that lazy on a weekend. Don't judge. I had two major deadlines at work this week and I am wiped out.]

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: The thing about mailing lists is they are not actually transferable - who knew?

Primo's campaign manager, whom we love as a friend, came to him with an idea.

CM: This guy wants to sell me a mailing list of 7,000 good, local names. They have good data for Our County. It appears to be better data than we can get from the Party.

Primo: OK.

CM: It's only $300. We could maybe raise some money for your campaign.

Primo: Are they vetted? Are they opted in? Did you expect my campaign to pay?

CM: No. My firm would buy it. You would reimburse me.


CM: I got the list.

Primo: They are opted in, right? We can use them with Mail Chimp? Because their terms are really clear about this.

CM: I asked the seller. He said not to worry about that - that everyone does it, even if people aren't opted in.

Primo: I don't do it.

CM: But everyone does it.

Primo: I don't.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: Junior High and Mean Boys, continued

I told you how Not Running Again (NRA) told Primo that a mutual acquaintance told him that Primo had put a sign in Yard SignWoman's (YSW) yard and how that kind of bad publicity had hurt NRA in a campaign once.

Primo tried again to reach YSW but to no avail.

He tried to call NRA to no avail.

We tried to deconstruct why NRA would even get involved in this.

Me: Why does NRA even care if City Council Candidate's (CCC) sign is in YSW's yard?

Primo: Oh! Because he doesn't like CCC.

Me: How do you know?

Primo: I heard that NRA called CCC to tell her not to run - not necessarily rudely but very aggressively.

Me: Why would he even do that?

Primo: Because he was the first one to sign the nominating petition for CCC's opponent.

[I have met CCC's opponent and he is a good guy. But CCC, according to Primo, who has met both candidates, is also a nice person. ]

Me: That gives him no standing to tell her not to run!

Primo: I know. But this is all about power in our city. This is about the pro-development forces and the anti-development forces.

[There are people who want to re-zone certain residential areas - like a spot two blocks from our house, in a neighborhood full of 1928 single-family homes - for high-density housing. Apartment buildings that would hold 66 units in the space that nine houses would fit.]

Me: NRA is totally pro-development. He has to have some financial interest in this.

Primo: He's friends with the architect. [The architect who designed the proposed 66-unit complex and tried to convince Primo that our property value would go up as a result.]

Me: Jerks.

Primo: Anyhow, I don't trust NRA.

Me: I have never liked him. And if he wanted to make sure all his rich developer friends got their projects through city council, he shouldn't have decided not to run.

Primo: I just wish I could speak to YSW. I thought it was OK to put a sign there. I never would have put it up if I had known she didn't want it. I could have sworn she told me I could always put up a sign in her yard for any campaign.

Me: Sweetie, it was an innocent mistake and you have apologized. Stop beating yourself up.

Primo: Oh! Oh! She's messaging me! And she sent me a friend request! That's good, right?

Me: I would think sending you a friend request means she's not angry.

Primo: She wrote, "Hi Primo."

Me: And?

Primo: And now it just shows that she's typing.

Me: That doesn't always mean you'll get something.

Primo: She's an old lady. It'll take her a while.

Me: She might be waiting for you to answer. Say, "Hi YSW!"

Primo: No! She's typing!

Me: Or not. She might want to make sure you're there before she writes anymore.

Primo: This is so stressful. It's been eight hours. Why hasn't she answered my phone call or responded to my post?

Me: I don't know. Maybe answer her now?

Primo: No. The three dots are moving. She's typing.

Me: I told you. That's often a trick.

Primo: Wait. Wait. Here! Look!

I got your phone message while I was at work, and just found this. I didn't see it until I went to your timeline to leave a message. In any case, don't worry about the sign. I can see where the confusion originated as we did talk about yard signs and I gave you carte blanche without discussing this particular race. I'll take signs for the liberal/progressive in almost every other race. I might be pickier in a primary. If you want to place a sign for the gubernatorial primary, just shoot me a message and I'll let you know who I'm backing. Once there's a candidate, I'll back whoever can beat [incumbent]. Please feel free to place a sign for your race. If there's anything else I can do for your race, let me know. This race felt a little different to me as I've been involved with city activities for a few years and plan to continue. That will mean working closely with the District X council representatives from time to time. That's why I'd rather not publicly back either one. So, don't worry about it.

Me: She's not mad.

Primo: She's not mad.

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: I told you we are all back in junior high

This is the kind of crap that ruins a Saturday.

And this is the BS they mean when they say, "All politics are local."

Primo met a woman a while ago who told him that he could put campaign signs in her yard anytime.

Over the past few campaigns, he has put up signs for himself and for other candidates in his party.

Never any problem.

He ran into Yard Sign Woman again a few weeks ago at a forum for city council candidates.

Again, she re-iterated that Primo could always use her yard for signs.

Two days ago, Primo put up a sign for one of the city council candidates. YSW wasn't at home, but Primo thought he had standing permission because of the conversation they'd had.

Late last night, YSW wrote an angry post on City Council Candidate's facebook page that SOMEBODY had put a sign in her yard AND SHE DID NOT WANT IT THERE.

CCC apologized, explained that nobody in her campaign would put up signs without permission, and said she would remove it immediately.

Primo woke up and saw the post.

He got out of bed, got dressed, and immediately went to YSW's house to apologize.

She wasn't home.

He came home and apologized on facebook, then tried to call her. The phone number he had is no longer valid.

He messaged CCC and apologized. She assured him it was not a big deal and it was over forgetaboutit.

Then he gets a message from not running again city council rep - the one who has been to our house several times and has  never once remembered who I am (just the person who lives here with Primo) or my name (you know, the wife of Primo).

Not Running Again texts that someone known to both NRA and Primo had called him to complain about YardSignGate.

Primo got YSW's phone number from NRA. Called. She didn't answer, so he left a message.

Lord. Have. Mercy.

I hope this is over. This is way too much drama.

Friday, April 27, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: The Rain in Spain

I am so, so proud, you guys.

Primo: I am cranky!


Primo: I'm CRANKY!


Primo: I'M CRANKY!!!!

Me: Fine. What?

Primo: I had planned this event for after the legislature is supposed to be done with their session so my elected friends could come.

Me: And?


Me: So reschedule?

Primo: I can't do that!

Me: OK.

Primo: I'M CRANKY! They couldn't come to my first event because of the regular session. They couldn't come to my second event because of the regular session. I deliberately scheduled this one for after the session so they could come!

[NB Primo has been noting that he seems to be expected to attend a lot of political events. That does seem to be the political world, which, by itself, would be enough to keep me out of it.]

Me: So what are you going to do?

Primo: I KNOW!!!!! I will use the special session to promote the event! "Here's Governor X again, doing [admittedly not so good things]!"

Me: Great idea!

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: And we are back in seventh grade

Primo has been told that there are some young women in our district who don't trust him because he was having a beer with some guys at a local place and there was laughing and the other guys made a joke about a candidate for city council whose day job is selling underwear.

Primo: I don't even remember anyone saying that!

Me: Even if someone had said it, so what?

Primo: But I don't even remember if someone said it! And you know me! I'm not a bro guy! I might not have called someone out, but I would never make a joke like that.

Me: It doesn't matter. I know you don't make jokes like that, but even if you had, so what?

Primo: What if they run someone against me?

Me: Let them.

Primo: I am cranky about this! If someone wants to run against me, fine.

Me: Not. Fine.

Primo: What if they find someone to run against me?

Me: Seriously? I know it's common in your world, to run for office or to want to run for office, but honestly? In the real world, for most people, the idea of running for office is only slightly more attractive than a root canal. Wait. No. It's less attractive.

Primo: I don't deserve a primary opponent!

Me: Of course you don't. But you can't control it. So forget about it. There are always going to be people who don't like you. Screw them. There will be people on your side who don't like you. It doesn't matter. Just go out and knock on doors and worry about the campaign. Don't let the haters get to you.

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: Primo is on another radio show and I am messaging him during the show telling him what to say (PS I do not have the skill of knowing what to say when I am the one under pressure - this power is good only for telling other people what to do)

Primo was invited to be on yet another radio program. This one is on a station I have never even heard of, although to be honest, that means nothing, as the only time I listen to the radio is in the car and on Sunday mornings when we listen to vintage American Top 40.

And even with that, we cheat. If we don't like the episode that is playing on the radio, we just listen to the online version, which often does not match what our local station is playing.

(If you want to hear Casey Kasem, go here! It's so fun.)

The station is, I think, a super niche station. It's definitely local and may even be run out of someone's garage.

I was listening to Primo on the streaming. The setup is this is a high-school civics teacher who brings his students on the air and invites local guests to talk about issues so the kids will understand and get involved.

Host: You're running for the State House. What is that?

(NB I think the host was asking this kind of question for the benefit of his students. I am pretty sure a high school civics teacher knows that the House is.)

Primo: It's analogous--

Host: What's analogous?

Primo: Umm. When something is as something else is. So The State House is to [our state] as the House of Representatives is to the United States.


Host: Where is your district?

Primo: I am in a gerrymandered district.

Host: I know what that is, but my students might not.

Primo: Gerrymandering is when they draw the district lines in really weird ways. It's named after a politician named Gerry from Massachusetts who drew district lines that looked like a salamander.


Host: I want to get my students interested in citizenship. I want them to vote if they're old enough. I want them to be engaged. But they don't think what they want - what their community wants - matters.


Host: What should we do about mass incarceration? It's a big problem in our community.

(Me via facebook messenger: LEGALIZE DRUGS!!!)

Primo: [Thoughtful answer that is not specific enough for me]


Host: We're almost at the end of the show. We'll ask all our guests to wrap up with something inspiring.

(Me via facebook messenger: tell them their voice matters! 
and in a low-turnout election
their vote counts like ten votes!)

Primo, who didn't see what I wrote:  [Thoughtful answer that is not specific enough for me]

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

In which my boss, whom I like very much and intend to keep as a friend even when we are no longer working together, but who is a stubborn engineer so you know, answers a friend of his who tells me to run when he finds out I have been working for Boss for 3.5 years

Boss's friend (who is also a vendor): Nice to meet you, Goldie. How long have you been working for Boss?

Me: What - three years? three and a half?

Boss: I'll tell you. We've been working together long enough that we have had arguments that ended with her calling me Primo and my calling her [Boss's Wife's Name] because we're so mad at each other.

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: The Early Bird Catches the Audience or something like that

Primo: I just got off the phone with James Parker!

Me: Oh - that radio host. I like his show. I listen to him sometimes when I am driving to work.

Primo: He's invited me to be a guest on his show next week!

Me: Wow! That's great!

Primo: He wanted me on at 7:00 but I said that was kind of early for me, so I'm going on at 8:00.

Me: Umm. Are you sure about that?

Primo: Why? Seven is way too early! I don't want to have to get up for that.

Me: But - people listen to the radio when they are in their cars. By 8:00, they'll all already be at work.

Primo: But 7:00 is so - so early.

Me: Yeah. I. Know. I'm usually at work by then.

Primo: You think I should do it at 7:00 instead of 8:00.

Me: Yes.

Primo: So. Early.

Me: One. Morning.

Primo: So. Early.

Me: This is not New York. People here get up early.

Primo: OK, I guess.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: Even though only five people come to the house party our friends throw, we raise more money than we did at the fundraiser at our house with the homemade, fabulous food

S and K have a Shoes Off house, so I reminded Primo to wear nice socks. 

We went to the house party/fundraiser our friends S and K held for Primo. They don't live in our district, but K is passionate (and correct) about the idea that who is elected matters for everyone.

Only five people attended. S and K were horrified and apologetic, wondering what they had done wrong.

"We're pretty sure our friends agree with us politically," they said. "Maybe they were put off by the idea of a fundraiser?"

We didn't know. I ate some guacamole. Which was delicious.

"K did all this research about how to host a fundraiser," S told me. "That's why he said explicitly that it is a fundraiser - so people wouldn't show up not knowing they are supposed to give money!"

We didn't know. I ate some more guacamole. Still delicious. And I really like blue corn chips.

(Is it really blue corn, do you think? Or do they just cheat and dye yellow corn? Blue corn is kind of expensive, I thought.)

At 5:30, nobody had shown up.

"At least we'll eat well," S joked.

I ate more guacamole. If nobody else is coming, I am happy to be a guacamole pig.

"At the worst, Primo and I get to hang out with you guys," I said.

I ate more guacamole. Primo doesn't like avocados.

But at 5:45, the people, they came.

Only five of them - two married couples and a single guy - but they came.

Oh well.

Five people (even though it's only three campaign contribution units) is better than nothing.

After a respectable amount of time for people to eat, K, who is also an engineer, introduced Primo with perhaps the best introduction of Primo I have ever heard.

"When you need to fight a war, you send soldiers," he said. "When you need to win an argument, you get a lawyer. When you want to make a lot of money, you get a businessman. But when you want to solve a problem, who do you get?"

"You get an engineer. That's all engineers do all day long - we solve problems. We try to figure out how to fix things. And that's the kind of person we need in public office - someone who knows how to solve hard problems."

He was brilliant! He went on to talk about how even though Primo isn't in his district, he still has an impact and how everyone should give money.

And. They. Did.

We raised more money with only five attendees (seven, if you include S and K) than we did at the fundraiser we had at our house in Primo's first campaign. There were about 30 people at that fundraiser. And a lot more food, all of it homemade. (S and K bought really good prepared food. I told them not to waste any money on the food, as people do not seem to donate more when the food is good.)

Not a wasted evening at all.

PS I realized I should define amounts - Primo raised $300 with two more checks coming in the mail. That is A LOT of money for a small, un-connected middle-class candidate in a local race. A lot.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: He's a talker

Primo: Can I say one more thing?

Me: Is there any way for me to stop you?

Primo: I haven't talked to you since yesterday! We need to talk!

Me: Didn't you see what I posted last night? "Long silences are required to prevent unnecessary homicides."*

* Which makes me wonder what a "necessary" homicide would be.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: The karaoke fundraiser that already happened last month but I have been binge-watching "Chicago Fire" and have been distracted, as you might imagine

1. I was so impressed with Primo's marketing campaign for this event! He posted - over the course of a few days - videos of himself singing! And then tied the song title to his campaign! He is an engineer! And he did something creative!

2. This fundraiser had attendees from two worlds: Primo's karaoke/bar friends and his political friends. The political friends left as soon as the speeches were over and before the fun started. Honestly, I do not get people. Why not just come late so you don't have to hear the speeches and can be around for the singing?

3. Primo sang first and of course he was amazing. Then another candidate sang and he, too, can sing!

Then Primo and I sang together and Primo sounded great.

Me? I am no June Carter Cash.

4. My role in life sometimes is to show others that humiliating onesself publicly does not lead to death. So I was the Designated Bad Singer, who sings after a few good singers so others will not be intimidated.

Sing badly I did.

I sounded nothing like my buddy Olivia.

5. I saw a karaoke friend of Primo's whom I had met at his karaoke fundraiser a few years ago. This poor guy has gone blind and is in constant pain from some leg injuries. He sings beautifully, but it has to be songs he already knows because he can't read the lyrics.

6. I will leave you with the video of Primo singing from the karaoke fundraiser from his last campaign. He really is good.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: Do we need a campaign manager?

Primo has been frustrated because the friend he hired to run his campaign has not been pushing him.

I am frustrated because I am a planner and it's been [counting] six months - SIX MONTHS - since Primo decided to run again and there. is. no. campaign. strategy.

This is making me crazy.

It's making Primo crazy.

But Primo admits - and this is true - that he shares much of the blame, as he has not pushed it with campaign manager. He has been waiting for CM to call him.

Complicating things is that CM is our friend and we love him.

I have been the bitch in all of this. For months, I have been asking why Primo and CM are not designing the campaign literature. Or designing the campaign strategy. Or breaking down the doors strategy.

I have been asking what CM has been doing for the money.

Primo has been waiting for CM.

Problem is that they are both deadline driven and there have been no hard deadlines so they have not done what needs to be done.

I am the one who has found the local events for Primo to attend - the pancake breakfasts (the one he attended yesterday - the Kiwanis scholarship fundraiser - was very good for him - they invited him to speak to the group and he met a lot of people), the student city of the future contest judging, the events at the senior center, etc, etc, etc.

I am the one who argues with him about the campaign communications.

We LOVE CM - but maybe this is not something you do with friends?

I don't know.

Primo finally met with CM today.

No big plan.

No campaign strategy.

Primo came home and was really frustrated.

CM has gotten some big-name clients, including a gubernatorial candidate who has a shot - the guy is very well known in his current (very public) field and has a great repuation.

CM seems distracted.

Me: Maybe CM doesn't want to be your campaign manager anymore but feels bad about saying that.

Primo: Maybe.

Me: Why do you need a campaign manager anyhow?

Primo: To run email campaigns?

Me: We can do that.

Primo: To introduce me to rich people who will give me money?

Me: What do you need money for?

Primo: To run ads.

Me: But - advertising is really expensive. What if you focused on a grassroots campaign? And we spent the $1,000 a month you are paying CM on campaign literature and targeted facebook ads?

Primo: Maybe.

Me: Maybe he doesn't want to be your campaign manager but doesn't know how to tell you. Maybe you can tell him that you want him to be free to focus on these bigger campaigns - which really are great opportunities for him - and that you will do yours.

Primo: Maybe.

Me: It's hard when you mix friendship and business, isn't it?

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: Our friends throw a house party for Primo

Look at the invitation my friend and her husband (they're the ones whose seven year old son gave a dollar to Primo's campaign) sent. The house party (a fundraiser at someone's home) is in a few days. I will report back.

Isn't this nice?

Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Amazingly the 2018 election cycle is upon us and now more than ever we need to make our voices heard. 
Please join us on Wednesday, March 7, to meet our friend Primo, Polka Dot candidate for the state house. While you may not live in the district, we all have an interest in who serves in our state government. Just as it matters who Alabama sends to the Senate, it matters who our fellow [state residents] send to the state legislature. For the first time in decades, this seat is winnable by a progressive candidate.
We've seen the nature of elections and politics change dramatically in our lifetime. If there's one thing that S and I have learned over the past two years, it's that good governance matters at every level of government: local, state, and federal. This is an opportunity to make a tangible difference.
This is a fundraiser so remember to bring your checkbooks. No donation is too small!
The event is invitation-only. If there is anyone else that you feel should receive this invitation, please let us know.
K and S

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: Who's pulling the strings of the potential primary-er?

The scene:

In our town, which is one of three towns covered by the state house district for which Primo is running, there is an issue that affects a few square blocks. Now, these blocks are our neighborhood and the issue in principle is an important one that in principle matters to a lot of people, but it is not something that the state legislature decides except to the extent that they could change the law about how cities handle things.

This issue is development. More specifically, it is zoning variances to build huge ugly apartment buildings in neighborhoods full of single-family houses. As in, a zoning variance to build a 66-unit apartment building in the space where nine single-family homes would fit.

The argument that the architect has used is that high-density housing increases the value of the homes around it, which is bullshit as far as I am concerned, and that we are racist for not wanting high density apartments a block from our house and next to an elementary school.

But that's not why I called!

So - there is this issue that affects our neighborhood. There is this proposed development and there is another one two blocks over in which the apartments would at least be on a main artery but would cast shadows all day long over the neighboring homes and both would require zoning variances! What is the darn point of having a master development plan if you are going to vary all the zoning?

Primo and I have spoken out very strongly against these variances. We have attended the planning meetings at the city and we have put a sign up in our yard and have talked to people about it.

And we have moved on because we did manage to kill the project right by our house.

And now we are here.

Primo has heard that someone might be running against him in the primary. He managed to figure it out.

It's a woman who is a photographer by trade.

Once her husband, who has a mutual friend with Primo, spoke to the mutual friend and learned that Primo actually is a good guy, the woman apparently decided that her services were not needed.

But the guy who asked her to run -

Turns out it's the guy who has led (very well, I might say) the neighborhood effort against the development.

He is cranky because Primo will not put a campaign sign in our yard for the city council candidate who is more anti-development. There are two candidates for city council in our district.

Two candidates. Both against stupid development that requires zoning variances.

(Some of the argument for allowing high-density development is that there is not enough rental property in our neighborhood. Except

1. There is a ton of rental property downtown in Big City and
2. The ugly high-density apartment building they built 18 months ago has had a for-rent sign in front of it for most of the time it's been there as in if there is such demand for rental property, which aren't people renting these apartments?)

Primo likes both candidates. Both candidates are nice people. Both have ideas we agree with.

Development Guy Leader (who again, has been excellent in that role) had asked Primo to support the more anti-development candidate.

Primo said he thinks both candidates are good.

DG - in conversations with someone he did not know is Primo's good friend - said that Primo is anti-woman (the more anti-development candidate is a woman) and told Primo that he wants a candidate who is willing to take a stand on the Big Issues, even if the Big Issue is Not Something The Legislature Deals With.

As in - Primo's platform would never include LOCAL DEVELOPMENT ISSUES. Because people in the rest of the district outside OUR NEIGHBORHOOD would not care about it. And Primo could do nothing about it in the legislature.

PS Primo is not anti-woman. I live with him. I know. Rolling my eyes.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: We're talkers. Or not.

Primo: I need to call her.

Me: Why don't you just send her an email?

Primo: Because calling her is the personal touch!

Me: If you called me instead of emailing me, you would piss me off so much.

Primo: You hid the fact that you don't like to talk from me before we got married.

Me: You hid the fact that you were going to quit a perfectly good job to run for office. Four. Times. I. Win.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: Maybe there will be a primary after all? Who knows?

Primo: This guy on [a committee] told me that the wife of a friend of his might run in this district.

Me: Oh?

Primo: The guy used to be a pastor at [non-denominational] church.

Me: Oh! So she would be running for the other party.

Primo: Nope. Apparently, they are like the only non-denominational people in the world who are [my party].

Me: Crap!

Primo: But my committee friend won't tell me who this woman is. Or who his friend is.

Me: How does he know him?

Primo: They got their PhDs in Basket Weaving together at Big State U. The guy now teaches [across the state lines].

Me: He cannot possibly be that hard to find - how many former megachurch pastors turned professors of basket weaving teaching in another state but living here can there be?

Answer: We don't know, but after an hour on google, linkedin, and Big U website, we did not find anyone.

Stay tuned. This is frustrating.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: The Rain In Spain Falls Mainly On The Plain

You guys, I am so, so proud.

He did this all by himself.

"TOGETHER WE CAN!" HE DID THAT! Oh bless his "People should do what's right because it's right" heart. :)

I am beaming.

Primo: You were right! But sometimes I think if there aren't enough words, people won't have enough reasons to like me! Isn't the way to make something better by adding more information?

PS His logo and his photo do show on the real version. I am just too lazy to edit them.

The Candidate's Wife: Arguing with Primo, who wants to include ALL THE WORDS on his campaign door flyer

Round One
Primo: Would you check what I have written?

Me: OK - you need to make this a lot shorter.  Here:

Primo: What? WHY?

Me: Because people are going to read this between the door and the trash can and you want to make sure they know what you want them to know.

Primo: But you cut everything!

Me: People know what a website is. They know what an email address is. You don't know if you're going to be primaried,, so you don't need the date of the primary election on there. And you need to focus on just three issues, at least here.

Primo: I don't want to leave out [issues]. They are timely. 

Me: Then put them on your website. People can get more information if they want it. In this piece, you are flirting. You are not getting naked. Three things. Three. They are going to throw this away the second they read it.

Round Two
Primo: OK. What about this?

Me: No! TAKE OUT THE WORDS! And take out the part about "more Polka Dots in [capital]. This is about you. This is about getting you elected.

Primo: I want to help other candidates.

Me: You cannot help anyone if you don't win this election. Focus on your campaign! And take out all those extra words!

Primo: But - but! You are so forceful about this! What makes you so sure?

Me: Because I have spent this week re-writing the marketing copy of four other people in Marketing Communications BECAUSE I KNOW HOW TO DO IT! I get paid to do this!

(NB Love this man. He spent last week cleaning our basement after it flooded from sewer backup. That is where attention to detail is super important. We make a good team.)(But he uses too many words.)

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: This is not New York City people here get up early

The event was at the Presbyterian church in our neighborhood - a winter farmers market and brunch from 9:00 to 12:00.

Their services are at 8:30 and 10:30.

What would be the optimal time to go to meet the most voters, would you think?

Hint: Not after the 10:30 service. Not at 11:30 a.m. when  the scrambled eggs are gone and when everyone has already eaten breakfast/brunch and needs to get home because the day is already half over and there are things to do at home. Not at 11:30 a.m. when the people who aren't lazy have already showered, dressed, and gotten their butts out of the house.

Oh well.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: I love BEING RIGHT

Just two hours ago, Primo was telling me that going to a play was not a good way to campaign. I said that all he has to do is wear his "Primo for State House" button and maybe introduce himself to two or three people and that other opportunities might arise organically.

(I also pointed out that he could promote the event with something about how this was a fundraiser for arts in our schools and wouldn't it be great if all public schools had the funding they needed.)

So. I suggested we go to the ice rink in our neighborhood - they were having a family skate night.

We got our skates. Somehow, talking to the three women who were volunteering to hand out the skates, we got on the topic of being tricked into moving here where it's cold and being tricked into marriage to a politician. That is, Primo got to introduce himself to three voters who got to

1. Hear his name
2. See his face
3. Realize he is not a complete weirdo.

When we were taking our skates off, a woman sitting next to us asked Primo about his campaign button.

Woman: I have to ask. I see your buttons. Are you running for office?

Primo: Yes. I am running for the State House as a [Primo's party].

Woman: I knew it! I was a Poli Sci major in college. I volunteered on X's Senate campaign! I did doors, I called, I went to events! It was great!

Primo: I ran in 2012, in 2014, and in 2016. And I am running again now. But this time, I think I can win.

Woman: And you're in the neighborhood?

Primo: Yes. In X district.

Woman: That's my district! That's fabulous that you are running.

Primo: I don't have any cards with me.

Woman: No, I can find you!

Me: Want to do doors again or are you done with that?

Woman: I don't think so - but you never know! I will find your campaign page! Good luck!


Me: I. Told. You. So.

Primo: Maybe. Yes.

PS That dialog is just the skeleton of what we said. I am lazy and didn't want to write everything. But the Poli Sci woman and the three women who were volunteering and I covered, in detail

  • Cremating our mothers 
    • After they are dead, of course!
    • Because our mothers are Midwesterners and very practical 
    • Because it's so expensive to transport a corpse across state lines
  • Engineers
    • Primo wanted size 10.5 skates. They had only 10. As he is putting them on, a volunteer says, "Oh! A size 12 just came in! Would you rather have those?" Primo explains in great detail why skates that are too small are better than skates that are too big.
    • "Oh he's an engineer?" they said. "Yeah, that explains everything."
    • Primo wants the silverware stacked by type and by size
  • Primo tricked me into moving here
  • Politicians trick people into marrying them
    • They start out as normal people, like engineers
    • "Have you noticed this INJUSTICE?"
    • "Someone has to DO something!"
    • "I will run for office!"

Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: A community event in our district is a place to meet voters, PRIMO

Primo: You want me to go to a middle-school play?

Me: No. I want you to go to events in our district where voters will be.

Primo: I don't want to go to a middle-school play!

Me: Do you want to go to where voters are?

Primo: But I don't want to go to this play! I don't want to accost voters!

Me: You wear your button. You introduce yourself to three people. It's not that hard.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: I cut the number of words in Primo's fundraising email IN HALF and it just about kills him because he is an engineer and details are his jam

As I tell Primo, when he asks me to review his facebook posts or his emails and then ARGUES WITH ME ABOUT THEM, "If only you knew someone who wrote marketing copy FOR A LIVING."

You know - like me.

That's what I do.

I am a marketing person. I write stuff. For money. I write about topics that most people would find very boring (I don't - I think my job is fascinating and I love my boss and my co-workers) and I do it very well.

Primo, being an engineer, wants to explain every single little detail and wants to substantiate every claim.

His email started like this:

I am running for the State Assembly because xth District residents are hungry for real, honest representation in [the capital]. We need sensible, long-term plans to strengthen our public schools, fix our roads, bring down health care costs, and create family-supporting jobs while protecting our environment.

One issue that is very important to my neighbors -- and to a large percentage of people in the metro area -- is the unfinished Highway X. There is no question that the crumbling and obsolete Highway X needed to be rebuilt, but the project was inadequately funded from the start. Much of the work has been completed, but construction on the north leg (I-XX / US YY between Oak Blvd. and Pine St.) was suspended after the reconstruction of one bridge and is now indefinitely delayed. Two years ago, I talked to a district resident who was waiting for a sound wall to be installed near the rebuilt Main St. bridge. He is still waiting!

Our state's transportation funding crisis has been worsening for years.

[four more paragraphs]

[of detail]

[although also a call to action, but that needs to be a lot sooner in the email]


Me: It's too long.

Primo: I knew you'd say that. But [campaign manager] likes it.

Me: It's. Too. Long.

Primo: No it's not!

Me: Look. You don't have to listen to me. You can do it however you want. But I am telling you that as a new reader, I get to the second paragraph and I am already bored.

Primo: But I need to include that information!

Me: No, you don't. You need to get people to read this and agree with you on this one issue and then go to your facebook page or your website and maybe give you money.

Primo: Fine. Then how?

Me: This:

Are you sick and tired of the never-ending construction on Highway X?

So am I.

That's why I am running for the State Assembly. We need sensible, long-term plans for our roads. We also to strengthen our public schools, bring down health care costs, and create family-supporting jobs while protecting our environment.

Our state's transportation funding crisis has been worsening for years.

[two more short paragraphs]

Primo: But there's no detail!

Me: They can always go to your website for more information.

Primo: And the guy! Who's waiting for a sound wall!

Me: Does not support the main message of "Finish the highway!"

Primo: But all the work that's not done yet!

Me: People know! 

Primo: Grumble grumble grumble.

Me: Do it however you want, sweetie. It's your email. I'm just saying you need to give people a reason to keep reading. You start with an emotional hook and get to the point quickly.

Primo: Grumble.

Two hours later.

Primo: You're right. It's a lot better your way. Thank you.