October 2002. Somewhere in South Carolina. A moderately politically-minded seventeen year old named Nettie and a bunch of her friends, living life at a small evangelical school when they hear...."The President's coming! The President is freaking coming here! And Mr. Keefer the insanely politically-minded history teacher snagged us the day OFF! Now, we just have to find tickets..." Enter the College Republicans: "Sure, you can have tickets, you just have to volunteer a few hours for the Victory 2002 campaign." We made it through the mishaps and saw en masse the leader of our country. But that was only the beginning.
I got hooked. For the rest of the Republicans-in-SC campaign, I made signs, put up signs, tore down signs, stuffed envelopes, rang doorbells, got on TV three times, and got caught up in the headiness of politics "Oh why Do I have to be too young to vote?!" But the next time around...
Fall 2003. Let the five-way Senate race begin. I had now become a member of those same College Republicans and was volunteering for one of the five, Jim DeMint. Until the five became six, with the late addition of David Beasley, former governor and all-time sleazeball. Cue desertion of College Republicans: "Oh we don't endorse candidates until after the primaries but hey Sleazy why dontcha come speak at our last meeting for the year?" And then the six became two, and the dominoes all fell in favor of Jim DeMint, first and last standing. And somehow all the Beasleyites licked their wounds and we came back together in time for...
Fall 2004. My first presidential election, a Senate race- it's Victory 2004. Let the fun begin again. "Hey, don't you have a Spanish test?" "Who cares, let's go stuff mailboxes in the boonies until midnight!" It's the camaraderie that makes it fun- in the final stretch, we had S.C. people, D.C. people, random Ohio people, all for Bush and DeMint. And the heady night of November second: "It's two A.M., time to call all your Democrat friends and rub it in their faces!" So we were a little premature, but it panned out in the end. The aftermath just reemphasized it.
Late Summer 2005. This time, for me, it's Mike Campbell for Lieutenant Governor, and my old friend Wes from 2002 as campaign manager. Afternoons of the euphemism 'data entry': sitting at computers typing in donor names in databases. "Do you enjoy
this stuff?" "I have no life." Or, alternately, sitting and watching Wes tear his hair out rebooting said computers while I scratch my head and wonder, when'd I get that dent?
But it'll all be worth it in the end. This is my game, my passion. I am a fierce competitor, and maybe a little cocky too. But you have to be to win this game. And we will. We will win this race, just as we have won before, and all the blood and tears and sweat will make the victory so sweet.