Well, I’m leaving on a jet plan in about eight hours. My time in California has been interesting to say the least. Frankly, I thought after the first day that I might just be wasting my time. By the end of the week, I find my self uncharacteristically optimistic.
The 13th Congressional District in California is 60 percent minority and the incumbent won with close to 80% of the vote last time. The magic eight ball says I’m going to get my ass kicked. Tonight, though, an interesting thing happened that makes me think there might be a shot.
Before getting into that, let me say a word about anecdotal evidence. I don’t buy in to it. I know too many candidates who hear something from a few people and they take it as fact. They forget the numbers, the data, and the reality of where they are. In fact, they do not have a starting or ending point, they are just riding on gut. Anecdotal evidence can kill a campaign as fast as having no money.
The campaign I’m work on , George Bruno’s against Pete Stark, appeared, at first, to be running on anecdotal evidence. Everyone kept telling me that George has droves of people coming up to him and saying they will vote for him. “Yeah,” I’ve kept thinking, “but this district is still overwhelmingly Democrat. There cannot be enough people out there to make this anecdotal evidence be an accurate indicator of reality.” I’m beginning to doubt that.
For several days, volunteers have signed on to the campaign not so much for George, but for a visceral dislike of Pete Stark. Most of the volunteers are Democrats. George has spoken at several functions in which people have told him they are life long Democrats, but will vote for him. Then, tonight, we went to the Elks’ Lodge in Alameda, CA.
The campaign staff sat with several friends who are members. The members kept calling over other members and introducing George not as a Democrat, but as the guy who would beat Pete Stark. The response was amazing. Even a local member of the Democratic establishment said he’d be voting for George Bruno and John Kerry. Soon it took on a life of its own. Unsolicited, other people started coming over to tell George “the jackass needed to go. If it is a Republican that does it, so be it.”
I do not buy into anecdotal evidence. But this is increasingly becoming a compelling indicator of reality. The campaign has a lot of work to do, but I think it can pull it off. My mission was to give focus, purpose, and direction. I think I succeeded. All the indicators say this will be a loss for George. This could be a sleeper race. Even if George doesn’t win, I bet he will give Pete Stark a run for his money.