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October 22, 2006

The Woes and Pleasures of Campaigning

Tom McLaughlin

These voters are golden, I kept telling myself as I rolled out of bed on grey dreary day. Ocean City had its municipal elections Tuesday (Mayor and Council), and I decided to hand out Democrat literature for the November 7 election to those leaving the polls. These citizens actually vote and I felt a responsibility to connect with them.

I arrived at 7 A.M., along with my friend Joan, and began the task of attacking the good people as they left, running up to them and handing the campaign materials. The major problem was the parking lot is the size of three footballs in length and four or five in width.

One car would leave on the five yard line and then another on the 350, and I was skipping across the tarmac in attempts to capture and hand them the printed promises. I am glad I had been working out in the health spa. Of course, Dad usually asks why I need to waste money at a gym when I can run along the beach and get all the exercise I need. Good point.

My car was parked mid-field and, like an eagle seeking prey, I could spot people leaving by the three different doors and make my mad dash. Across from me were the supporters of Margaret Pillas, candidate for city council and the person I voted for because of her anti-development and environmental stances.

When God was arranging genes for the Pillas family, he was very good. I mean very, very, very, very good. There is a nightclub (read meat market) in Ocean City called Seacrets. They have body contests and one of the nieces had won the award of most beautiful on the beach while her sister was the runner up. The rest of the supporting family could also have easily won any beauty contest including the candidate.

They would run after the voters and ask them to cast for Ms. Pillas as they entered the polls, while I would grab them (the voters) as they left, informing that my literature was for November election. Although they were 30 years my junior, I am proud to say I kept up with them.

I had to leave at 11:30, write an article for my newspaper, and eat lunch and then interview for another article. Meanwhile, the storm had gathered full fury and the rain was flooding at two inches per hour. I returned to my parking spot and noticed, well drooled, that the supporters for Margaret Pillas were still at it. I have never seen a group working so hard in such horrendous weather. We were all soaked through to the skin.

Then came a bubble of Republicans. They were mean. One drove away nearly flattening my foot, another refused to lower the window while a third screamed he was voting for "Ehrlich."

Except for this group, all the other voters, some of whom must have been Republicans, either politely said no thank you or accepted my offerings out of curiosity. I think I could have turned off some voters with "who was this nut, soaked to the skin thrusting Democrat stuff at me;" or "if Democrats are crazy enough to run through the heavy rain then maybe the Republicans aren't so bad after all."

I am still not sure whether I returned in the afternoon because of my dedication to the Democratic Party or because of the Venus beauty Pillas family. In any case, Governor O'Malley you owe me one.

P.S. Margaret Pillas, a real long shot, earned a seat on the Ocean City Council.

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