Door knocking is an integral part of any campaign season. Candidates head out after their regular jobs during the week and on weekends to the towns and cities that make up their legislative district. I prefer door knocking to phone calling, enjoying the chance to introduce myself, shake a few hands, and state my case for election in November.
People ask me if I run into any constituents who are “less than friendly?” I’ve certainly experienced a few people who were less than excited to see me at the door with a clipboard and a handful of campaign literature. I certainly am guilty of interrupting a family’s supper, Gopher football game, tomato canning, or even Junior’s bath time. However, most people are very friendly. Most people appreciate the fact that I am interested in their vote and that I show up on their door step. On a few extremely hot days, several have graciously offered me a glass of water.
A few weeks ago in one of the nearby towns in Senate District 20, I knocked on a door and a middle aged man greeted me with, “Republican or Democrat?” When I kindly responded, “Yes!” he inquired further, “Which one?” When I said I was endorsed by the DFL party, he said no thanks and closed the door. At the next house, a gentleman was outside watering some plants. Before I could say hello, he told me to get the hell off his yard. He didn’t have time for “any politicians.” I said, “You seem a little frustrated,” looking for an opening for some civil discourse. Looking me over apprehensively, he decided to share his concerns. We talked for the next 15 minutes and at the end of our conversation he asked for a piece of my literature. He said he would look it over. We shook hands and I proceeded down the street to the next house.
The next day, I received an email from the man who told me to “get off his yard.” He thanked me for letting him “blow off some steam.” He commented that anyone willing to take an earful from an angry constituent couldn’t be half bad. After looking at my literature and my website, he was satisfied that I had the best interests of constituents in mind. He said he would probably vote for me November 6.
Of course, I would rather receive a pleasant smile at the door than an angry “earful” but this particular meeting turned out to be one of my most rewarding door knocking encounters of this long campaign season.