Pima County Fair 2014, Tucson, Arizona. CD2 Congressional candidate Chuck Wooten’s campaign booth was, in layman’s terms, freaking awesome. I can say that because, having graduated from “supporter” to “volunteer”, I worked the day shift at the booth for nine straight days, skipping only the final weekend of the eleven day mega-event.
Frankly, aside from the political campaign, this was by far the largest County Fair I’d ever seen–and as a bull rider following the rodeo circuit for seven years in the sixties, I’d seen more than a few. There were dozens of rides, many that would make me hurl in a New York minute if I were foolish enough to try them. There was a mechanical bull, operated by a tall young cowboy I learned was a former California State Bull Riding Champion at the high school level. A carousel with not only merry-go-round horses to ride, but a big pig as well, plus a lion, a bear, a zebra, and even a life sized Bengal tiger. Umpteen roller coasters.
You name it, the Fair had it.
But we were there for the political work, and work we did…except that the work was no work at all.
We’d cheerfully ask those who passed by Chuck Wooten’s booth, “Are you registered to vote in Arizona?” If they answered in the affirmative, we’d proceed to let them know we were gathering signatures from CD2 registered voters to get Chuck on the ballot. We had Tucson maps that showed which part of the city fell in which District, and of course we knew that if Ron Barber was your current Congressman or your home address was in Cochise County, you definitely lived in CD2.
As a final check, we’d even make sure they hadn’t already signed to nominate either Shelley Kais or Martha McSally, and that they were registered in one of the three groups eligible to nominate Chuck Wooten: Republican, Independent, or No Preference.
But it wasn’t really work. It was pleasure. A gratifying percentage of the folks who slowed down long enough to talk to us were sincerely interested in finding out more about the only true conservative candidate in this year’s Republican field.
One gentleman even commented that he’d cruised the area and chosen to sign for Chuck because, in his words, “You folks looked like you had the most class!”
Awesome. Freaking awesome.
That did make me think, though. What specific factors added up to produce our awesomeness? With TV cartoon character Kick Buttowski, “awesome” is generated through a never ending series of death defying daredevil stunts, but we weren’t doing stunts. We were strictly for real, as any campaign volunteers for Chuck Wooten’s campaign would have to be.
I decided there were several aspects of our presentation that stood out, to wit:
1. The booth itself.
Tall full color posters lined the back wall, featuring photos of the candidate and large print listings of his key positions on various crucial issues. The table across the front of the booth was covered in a snazzy bright red cloth and covered with nominating petition clipboards (for both Pima County and Cochise County), campaign brochures, giveaway refrigerator magnets, and copies of various media articles about Chuck. The overall effect was downright spiffy.
2. The people.
We were all quietly but sincerely enthusiastic about our candidate and friendly in our relations with the public…but not pushy. With most of the volunteers wearing Chuck Wooten for Congress campaign tee shirts, the crew looked mighty professional. Beyond that, there were always at least two people (and sometimes as many as six) working the booth when the Fair was open. Finally, we stayed on our toes, alert to interact with those who passed by, letting our bright-eyed interest in them show.
3. The candidate.
Yes, it does help to have a great candidate. In Chuck Wooten, we know we’ve got one. In fact, he’s the best candidate I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been politically aware since the fourth grade, during the 1952 Presidential campaign.
Yes. That does add up to a campaign booth with a bit of class.
Richard Zaplishny, age 25, was one of the people who stopped at the booth on the first Fair day to sign for Chuck Wooten. He wasn’t “just any old Arizona voter”, either. Not that there is such a thing; every voter is essential. But just minutes earlier, Richard had registered to vote in CD2 for the first time ever…and there he was, getting active in the political process, signing to nominate a Congressional candidate.
Wow. Now that’s awesome!
On a later Fair day, another brand new registered voter stopped by to sign for Chuck Wooten in the same way. Adi Belancourt got extra lucky, though, as the candidate happened to be on duty at the booth when she showed up. After signing, she gladly posed for a picture with Chuck, both of them looking pretty happy about it.
The 2014 Pima County Fair still has one day left to run (Sunday, April 27). Chuck Wooten’s campaign booth will be open and staffed from opening bell (10:00 a.m.) until the Fair closes (11:00 p.m.). If you happen to find this post in time, you might want to stop by, see if you think this writer is accurate in his description of the strong presence and positive impact of the booth, the people staffing it, and of course the candidate himself.
After all, the primary election happens on August 26…and that’s right around the corner, just four months away.