August 10: Helping a buddy get the country back on track

We stopped in Florida for the sun, beach, and if you can believe it, politics. We’re not here counting hanging chads – those of you remembering the Bush/Gore race know what I’m referring too – we’re here to help my good friend and former Marine aircrew Cris Dosev. He’s running as a republican candidate for US Congress in Florida’s 1st Congressional District.

Cris is a combat vet, father of eight children, staunch Christian and a small business owner. He and his wife Lisa are also Godparents to our daughter, Ashley Stewart. Cris has been extremely active in veteran causes and co-founded the Wounded Heroes Foundation. We need people like this representing us in Washington.

The field consists of seven republican candidates and Cris is right up at the top. His grass roots campaign is mostly self-funded and is powered by a small army of friends, former military members from all services, and family members including his eight children who claim at times to be slave labor.

The most serious contender is a young 34 year old lawyer and current state representative. His multi-millionaire daddy is a former state senator and well known in local politics. Daddy not only helps junior fund his campaign, he’s gotten him out of a DUI and helped him cover-up 17 motor vehicle citations. Do we really need another silver spoon in Washington?

The primary election is on August 30. It will be decided by popular vote. Whoever wins the republican primary will likely win the general election because the district is heavily republican.

I’ve never helped on a political campaign before so I didn’t know what to expect on the first day. I was given a t-shirt and a stack of brochures, and piled into a car with three other people. I sat shotgun because I was the old guy. Cris’s son was the driver and head list master. He detailed data on every neighborhood in the district where known republican primary voters lived.

Our mission is to find voter’s homes, ring their doorbells, and talk with anyone who answered. We did this for eight hours in 95 degree heat and 90 percent humidity. This swelter was occasionally broken up by a torrential downpour. By the day’s end, our team had visited 600 homes and spoke with approximately 300 people. I spoke with about 100 would be voters.

You may be thinking: What does a republican voter look like and where do they live? Here is my observation. Voting republicans are old and they are young; working, unemployed, and retired; some live in huge mansions and others in trailer homes; many are well-educated and others are not; they are single, married and divorced; some have children; many have dogs and some have many dogs; the majority are white and mostly straight as far as I could tell; and most everyone was friendly and interested in the election.

I only had one bad experience. A guy called me a politician, told the young child standing next to him that all politicians are sleazebags, and slam their door in my face. This likely happened because I wanted to find out how good the list was by visiting a few few houses not on the list. Bottom line: the list is good – believe the list.

More campaign trail stories to follow.