Needham Ma 7:58 a.m.
Exactly one week before the lot was overflowing. It was necessary to find a parking place far from the door resulting in a run back to the car when we saw then candidate Scott Brown leave for a press conference.
It was here at the phone banks where we saw what seemed a continuous stream of volunteers from all over the state and some from beyond anxious to help. On that first day we ran into a group from Michigan ready to get to work for the candidate they supported, but there just wasn’t room for them to even enter the office.
Today the parking lot had plenty of spaces and the regular tenants didn’t have to compete to get a close one. The frenzy of activity and the crowds were gone but there was still a gentleman at the desk politely but firmly protecting the office and providing the same security that he did during the campaign in other locations.
As I sat with him a man who worked for the building owners came in. I asked him about the difference a week made, he contrasted the relative quiet today with the energy of the place when this office and another one upstairs were rented by the Scott Brown campaign. The tenants had seen the people and the candidate and liked what they had saw. “It was very exciting time.” he said, “They all felt like they were part of it.” The office smoker had the best view. Most of the year he would find himself alone outside satisfying his nicotine fix. Over the last week his trips outside meant that he had plenty of company for a change.
That feeling of being part of it was shared at Mighty Subs a few blocks down the street. All during yesterday customers came in talking about the election, how they voted and how happy the result had made them (with very few exceptions). Arthur (the owner) commented how he had gotten an e-mail at the web site from some person from Free Republic thanking them for supporting Scott Brown.
At this moment his wife Karen came to the front to say hello. She was excited and happy about the Brown victory but was curious about that e-mail. I explained that the e-mail came from Stacy’s McCain’s stories featuring her. When she learned her photo was on the net her priceless reaction brought a smile to my face.
It was Karen who told us how personable he was as a customer long before he decided to run, and it was that sense of personal retail politics in the tradition of Tip O’Neill that made a difference.
Back at the headquarters there was contractor spreading ice melt in front of the entrance way just as I was preparing to leave. When asked about the election he was pleased with the results. The Senator represented his district before in the State Senate and had dealt with him on some local matters. He expounded on what a good guy he was and how he always gave him his ear. His previous votes as a democrat had been for Ted Kennedy but now Scott Brown was his senator and he was very happy about it. When asked if another candidate with similar views would have gotten his vote, he thought about it for a moment before saying “Probably not, knowing him made all the difference”
His reaction reminded me of three twenty something Coakley supporters that I talked to on the Red Line as we left the Obama rally on Sunday. They had come from Kansas and Oklahoma as AmeriCorps volunteers and had found themselves in Massachusetts, a state that matched their liberalism. As liberals they decided to help support their candidate with their signs since they could not with their votes.
In the Red states where they lived Massachusetts had a very particular image. They heard people weren’t friendly and their opinions were painted with a broad liberal brush. They found that people were very friendly and willing to talk just about anything. The more they got to know people the more they got to like both the people and the place where their work had taken them erasing the painted image with personal experience.
It was that same type of personal touch that Scott Brown brought to his candidacy taking away characture the left leaning media had tried to paint him with, allowing him to turn a 30 point deficit into a 5 point victory. The people of Massachusetts got to know him and that made all the difference.
Update: The Lonely Conservative links and directly says what this post hints at:
There are quite a few days between now and the election in November. GOP candidates – it’s time to hit the road.
The better you know the people you want to represent the better you will represent them.
Update: Camp of the Saints links to me and several other good posts on the aftermath of the election. Worth a read.