When I first ran for the Virginia House of Delegates I was relatively unknown in my district. My wife had been born and raised in the district but I had lived there for only a few years.
My district was a multi-Member district that would elect two Delegates. There were five candidates. The District was large geographically, covering three counties and one city – over one hundred miles from one end to the other.
The strategy adopted was to personally meet as many voters as possible in the seven months before the election. We chose my wifeʼs home county as our target and a door-to-door campaign as our means of meeting people.
Voter lists for the more densely populated areas of the county were prepared so I could save time by visiting only voter households.
Most weekdays I would start at around 6pm and go until dark, which gave me about three hours per night during Daylight Savings Time. On Saturdays I would begin at 9 am and go all day until dark. On Sundays I would begin at 1 pm in deference to Church services.
Amazingly, I was able to complete a visit in under five minutes. I would introduce myself, tell them what I was doing and then begin chatting. I would talk to the voter as long as it took me to get to common ground on something.
It didnʼt matter what we had in common, whether someone we both knew or some group we belonged to or what we did for a living. As soon as we got to that common ground I would end the conversation, hand the voter my card and say, “I hope you might think about voting for me.” And leave.
Seven months later the election was held and I was an upset winner by 500 votes. Our review of the precincts where we conducted door-to-door showed that I was the top vote getter in each of them.
In one small precinct I received 85% of the votes cast. Amazing.
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