This blog post was cross posted from the Madison Project’s blog.
During the 2014 election we had the opportunity we were pleased to work with Peter Baergen, a young homeschooler who loves politics, in Kentucky and Mississippi some of the GOTV Campaigns that Madison Project funded in 2014. We believe that training the youth of today in effective procedure and planning will produce better leaders for tomorrow.
Below is his recounting of his experience with us (thanks for doing this, Peter!).
“5 days. 42 students. Over 18,000 voters contacted and an initial victory of less than 1,400 votes.
Those are the numbers that resulted from a Madison Project student get-out-the-vote effort that I helped organize in Mississippi in early June of 2014, supporting constitutional conservative Chris McDaniel for U.S. Senate in his primary election race against 36-year incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran. In less then a week, we worked with 42 middle and high school students to knock on doors in the Jackson, MS area, contacting nearly twenty thousand voters in an election that Chris McDaniel would initially win by less than 1,400 votes.
With Madison Project staffers and voter contact software Campaign Sidekick we connected with the Republican primary voters most likely to support Chris McDaniel. Each morning, we gathered for breakfast and an update about the day’s plans before dividing into smaller teams and climbing into minivans, ready to hit the road.
Armed with walk lists, literature, and plenty of bottled water, we spent the majority of our time knocking on doors and talking to voters about why Chris McDaniel was the best candidate for the United States Senate. Each evening, we’d gather together again to hear any updates on the race and tell stories from the day — like the time that one of our guys knocked on a door that, unknown to him, had already been knocked on by a different team. A man answered the door and, referring to the team that had been there earlier, commented, “If you see them, tell them I’m sorry… but I had such fun giving them a hard time!”
He was, he added, a strong supporter of Chris McDaniel.
McDaniel, a state senator, faced an uphill battle against an entrenched incumbent and the Republican establishment in Mississippi. However, with the help of the Madison Project and other groups, he overcame the political establishment in Mississippi and across the nation to force a six-term incumbent U.S. Senator into a runoff — a feat that gained nationwide attention and the chagrin and dismay of the liberal GOP Establishment. It is generally acknowledged that had Democrats not been recruited to vote in the “open primary” run-off election by the Haley Barbour and his nephews, Chris McDaniel would have won the run-off as well.
The students that we worked with for this campaign, as well as other get-out-the-vote efforts funded by the Madison Project, were young conservatives concerned about the direction our nation is headed and willing to work hard to change it. After our work in Mississippi, they are still eager (many of them even more eager!) to make a difference — but now, they have valuable knowledge on how they can most effectively use their time and energy to make a difference. They have experienced what it takes to make a Get-Out-The-Vote operation work — from the phone calls and walk lists to the yard signs and Facebook posts. They have seen the attacks and manipulative tactics, and learned how to effectively combat them. Many of them returned to put their new-found knowledge to work within a few weeks of the primary campaign, joining us for our efforts in the run-off election on June 24.
This is how elections are won — by informed and engaged citizens interacting one-on-one with voters on doorsteps across America, answering their questions and asking for their vote. The Madison Project is doing great work across the country, building a strong ground game for the conservative movement — a ground game that is vital if we want to elect principled, constitutional conservatives to public office.”
If you would like to help fund our GOTV efforts with great kids like Peter, click here to make a donation today. Early money means we can hit the ground earlier in key races and states!