All posts by harrywelty

Dot Com

Its time I wrap more people into my campaign because while I can juggle three tennis balls, and even four for a short time, I start dropping things beyond that number.

One of my allies pointed out in consternation that my first fundraising letter sent to a paltry 112 people had welty4congress.com on the letterhead. Oops! Its supposed to be dot org. Of course I’ve got the right ending on my 40,000 bookmarks which also went out with the letter but I’ve got too much going on to be trusted to do everything.

Chris, my campaign manager, pointed out that I can purchase the dot com site which I will be doing momentarily and perhaps some others so that people, like me, who inadvertantly forget the web address are still pointed in the right direction. So, I’m off to do that and gather more sigatures. I just found another 10 I hadn’t counted before. Hooray!

Company’s coming so times a wasting.

1000 Hits

The Welty campaign by the numbers:

As of this morning, not quite half way through July, the welty4congress home page has had exactly 1000 hits.

I’ve been thwarted so far in having a major publication list my website so that I get a big cross 8th District viewership but since I’m still tinkering with it that’s probably just as well. September and October will be a more critical time period.

I’ve passed out about 2,000 bookmarks. I printed 40,000 bookmarks so at this rate that’s about 20 weeks worth of flyers. Of course, after this week I’ll pass them out faster because I won’t have to stop for petition signings. Furthermore, now that Chris has gotten me a schedule of area events, I’ll be finding thicker crowds to mingle in.

There are about 600,000 residents in the 8th District. About 250,000 of them will vote. By this fall I’ll need a way to reach the folks beyond the reach of my handshake.

755 Signatures

I checked each of my petition sheets and found about 20 signatures out of 775 that wouldn’t pass muster for one reason or another. That still leaves me with 755 perfectly good signatures. I’ve got two days to finish this up before I take it in to the Secretary of State. Tomorrow is Sidewalk Days and I’m hope to pick up more signatures than ever although I doubt I’ll get anything like the 300 per day I anticipated.

My Brother is visiting tomorrow along with his daughter and nephew. The Nephew is up to collect his third Great Lake. I told them I’d be busy and to go to the beach while I’m campaigning but I’ll be home to greet them and lay out beach towels.

I just uploaded a fundraising page. I’ve got to tinker with it but it feels good to have it set up. The breakfast with my new campaign manager netted two of my signatures when our pastor and another church member stopped by our table.

My new manager will be very helpful. I’d complained that I hadn’t been able to find dates of northern Minnesota fairs in a google search and right after I got home I found links to the dates.  My new manager had found them. Excellent.

I just purged me\y room of partially digested newspapers and suddenly I can walk around in it again. Tommorrow before I petition I’ll get the rest of it sorted and filed. Life is good.

Civic service first

I was all set this morning to go out and get signtures when the Lighthouse for the Blind called and asked me to fill in on an emergency basis at their Radio for the blind. I put the petitions aside and hurried over to read the news over the air for two hours. That was about 60 missed signatures but I’m a little ahead of the game so everything’s OK. Not many folks turned me down. If the weather report is right it will be getting hot again so I’ll have to steel myself for some more sunblock.

After adding another 140 signatures this afternoon I returned home at 5:30 had a quick snack and then Claudia and I went out to our Monday night ballroom dance class. We learned a few new additions to the waltz and we got our first lesson in cha cha cha. It will probably come in handy by October when the campaign heats up and I’m required to do some fancy footwork.

I sent several emails I’d gotten on the plans I’m making to my new campaign manager. We meet tomorrow for breakfast and I’ll go from generalities to some specific plans to get the attention I’ll need to become a contender. I’m getting pumped.

Links unlinked

Dogonit! I’ve known for a couple weeks that the picture of the DFL Dream Team was gone on the Boyd Scandal page listed in the column to the right. I’ve kept checking the statistics on Boyd for the past couple weeks and they were pretty anemic. It turned out that the link to my developing book was broken too. Fixing it today should help boost the visits.

I haven’t added anything lately because I’m spending all my time organizing my campaign for Congress. I have four or five full days ahead of collecting signatures for my petition followed by a trip to St. Paul to file my papers. I’ll be calling the Secretary of State in a couple minutes to make sure the signatures I’ve collected so far are valid. I didn’t start asking people to print their full legal name including the spelled out middle name until after I’d gotten 300 signatures. State law does not require this. I wonder if the Secretary will?

Whether I’m elected or not the book should shed a light on a very important and neglected corner of Minnesota political history. I’m leaning to the conclusion that after the Feds rampaged around the state looking for a bad guy they succeeded in putting the only innocent among a bad bunch behind bars.

I was just listening to Minnesota Public Radio today. They said that a spokesman for Jim Oberstar couldn’t speak with them about some story because he was suffering from a bout of largyngitis. Last Saturday an elderly woman told me she was surprised to see Jim at the Clinic and even more surprised at how frail he looked. That may explain the great pains his staff is taking to post pictures of him on the Internet riding bicycles and looking vigorous. She reported that he seemed taken aback when the secretary admitting him asked him what he did for a living.

Republican and Democratic Civil Wars

Today’s Sunday Trib had side by side stories about the civil wars going on in both the Republican and Democratic Parties.

Long past are the days of Ronald Reagan’s “Big Tent” Republican party where people with many points of view were welcome. Today the most conservative Republican Congressman announced a party meeting to promote a completely non moderate agenda for the fall elections which will undermine the 35 remaining moderate Republicans in Congress.

As for the Democrats they are torn over Howard Dean’s pursuit of the angriest Democrats and this threatens to undermine the Party’s slim chance of retaking one or the other branch of Congress.

Its all very distressing for anyone who believes that there are answers in moderation and compromise. 

Petitioning Uniform

 

This is me after gathering another 100 signatures yesterday. Mel took it right after I got back. Mel dropped by to offer his support and later sent me a number of corrections and suggestions on my welty4congress website. I’ve ordered five more of the shirts so I can wear them daily from now to November.

456 Signatures

Yesterday I went to Cloquet and added another 120 signatures to my petition. Some strongly pro life signed despite my contrary views just so the voters would have the choice. Quite a number recognized my name from Duluth’s School Board politics and not a few complimented my on my snow sculptures. I’m up to 456 signatures after three days and I’ve got six to go before I have to hustle down to the St. Paul and turn in the whole kit an kaboodle.

I did have one note of caution thrown at me. A volunteer for another candidate, a legislator, told me that when they took in their signature list only five of 100 signers names were accepted because they hadn’t required people to print their full middle names. If this happens to me I’ll have to get about 350 new names to compensate.

I checked out the state law on the subject and there is no mention of requiring printed names let alone printed middle names. The form I was given at the Secretary of State’s office has it listed but I didn’t take it that seriously. In fact, the two nice people I got the form from made a point of telling me that I should look up the state laws before I made up my own form rather than go by the one they were giving me. So I have been.

The law does say something about the Secretary of state doing what’s necessary to supervise petitions but if she has added this extra hurdle she did not hand out any instructions to that affect that I can find.

I’ll get full printed names from now on but if I fall short of the 1000 signatures on account of this I will not be a very happy camper.

My big push will be Wed-Friday at Duluth’s Sidewalk days. I may be able to get 300 a day then. That should make up for any losses.

After coming home I cleaned up and took an all too short nap before Claudia and I went out ballroom dancing. A couple of friends and neighbors passed on their good wishes in my quest to beat Oberstar. I danced a little lighter after that – except for the waltz. There were a lot of dancers racing by us and it was a little like bumper cars. Kind of like politics.

Drug debate continues

My little debate over drugs has become a 4-way debate. A new voice entered the picture and sent me an email.

“Harry, Vic and Deb,

Great stuff, all of you but I do have one small disagreement with Harry’s reply…

“I’ve come to buy the conservative argument about gateway drugs. If we were going to legalize marijuana I’d want it regulated as strictly if not more so than liquor.”

It seems odd that no one has seen liquor as the gateway drug. I, in my life, have never known anyone who didn’t drink liquor before trying some other mind altering drug. I’ve never been part of the meth culture but I’d be willing to bet that the damages (societal and monetary) caused by alcohol still out weigh all the other drugs. Reminds me of the cartoon where a congressman is discussing drug abuse in America with a bartender and the bartender says that all drug dealers and users should be shot and the congressman says,
“I’ll drink to that”.

Any way, Harry, lots of luck. I’m sure you’ve heard that middle of the road people get hit by traffic from both directions. Vic, Deb and I are kind of like motor scooters. Ya gotta watch out for the big trucks.”

To which I replied:

The gateway drug stuff is oversimplified and your point about booze is well taken. In a way every experience is a gateway experience to the next. Once you’ve been on a Ferris wheel you want to go on the Octopus then to the roller coaster. Once you’ve had tea you’d like to try coffee etc etc. Nonetheless, because people have a tendency to ratchet things up past the reasonable point the collective will ( read government) ought to intervene to make sure it keeps its citizens safe from their own over exuberance. “I just drove 80 mph and no one pulled me over. Let’s try 100 mph!” Try that on a motor scooter.Thanks, on your good wishes. I’m going to have some fun with this campaign.

What can I do?

I’m just wolfing down a PBJ sandwich and some chocolate milk after five successful hours petitioning. Signatures are not hard to get. I’ve added another 100 and I still have a couple hours of daylight to get some more. I’m a fifth of the way to the minimum number I’ll need to get on the ballot. I have eight days left to get them.

I had a phone message waiting for me when I returned. It was short and sweet. “Harry, what can I do?” That was my old buddy Edith who has also suffered the slings and arrows of the outrageous party with me.

An email was also awaiting me from the friend I’d asked to be my campaign manager. He’s still thinking about that but he reported back to a query I sent him this morning. He told me that most of the pages on www.welty4congress.org now fit on his smaller computer. Hooray! He also reported the my blogsite is askew on his computer. That may take a bit more work for me to straighten out.

Searching for Lincoln

I wore a t-shirt with a wonderful image of Abe Lincoln on it. I purchased it on my trip to Springfield last year. Halfway through the day I recalled that Lincoln had campaigned under the banner of the “Union Party” when he ran for reelection. As I have chosen the word “Unity” to represent my one-man political party the coincidence was very pleasing. I decided I’d wear it every day while I’m petitioning. I hope it holds up to daily washing and drying.

When I came home after 8 hours in the sun I was spent but I got on the Internet and googled “t-shirts” and “Lincoln” to no avail. I wanted to buy a half dozen more for the rest of the campaign. It might be fun to wear them every day from now till November.

This morning I got an email back from the one connection I could find. The image’s creator was a person with the uncommon name of Trimborn. My googling led me to a music professor with the same name. He had written a book “Encounters With Lincoln.” Sure enough, I’d found the maker of the shirts and he was selling them through a single store the one I had purchased it at in Springfield. I’ll order more of them. Maybe I’ll even let people order them from my website now that I have a paypal account. (even if if the darned thing isn’t configured to my needs yet)

I may not go out of town to gather signatures after all. I can get my quota of petitions in Duluth more quickly and be done with it. Then I could go out of town to simply hand out the bookmarks and shake hands. I’d get more passed out that way and meet more people without having to have them stop and fill out all the info that the Secretary of State demands of them. 

The Trib didn’t mention my website which was a disappointment so no instant surge in hits. The several hundred bookmarks I passed out yesterday did just about double the traffic to welty4congress but I’m too greedy to be satisfied with that. I want thousands of people – tens of thousands - to check it out. Since I can’t afford major advertising yet it occured to me to make up hundreds of small lawnsigns with the url on it and pass them out around the district as I’m passing out bookmarks.

My next task before I head out to petition will be to tinker with my website to try to shrink it so that visitors don’t have to go back and fourth when they read it. That will make it a very annoying destination indeed and I can’t have that.

Hot fun in the summertime

I tried once again to figure out how to make my paypal account accept credit cards. I failed. There seems to be no human technician to help me out. Its too early yet to expect contributions. They may come in a few months time but its aggravating to spend hours to little purpose.

I sent off my first fund raising letters and then zipped down to the Lakewalk but not until a quarter after ten a little over an hour after I had hoped to start. fourteen of the first fifteen people I asked agreed to sign my petition. this was a fortuitous start and eventually I got over 130 signatures for the day. At that rate I should get a comfortable margin over the 1,000 I’m supposed to turn in. One of Duluth’s former principals rushed by and took two petitions for twenty names he said he’d try to get filled out for me.

A trio of ladies from Morrison county signed my petition then had second thoughts. Morrision is a very conservative county with a high proportion of Catholics. When they found out I was pro choice they seemed to regret helping but they were gracious and when I offered to let them cross off their names consoled themselves that as an Independent I wasn’t likely to win. The names stayed on the petition.

The number of people who seemed genuinely sympathetic with a third alternative to the two parties was enormous. Of course, that may simply be a response to my charisma.

I hustled back and forth until about 1:30 when the heat began taking a toll. Fortunately a couple young ladies offered me sunblock well before I ws ready for lunch. After I drove home for an hour’s rest I put an even stronger sunblock on and a cap as well. I don’t want the shiny patch at the top of my head to blister.

I went to the plaza shopping center at 2:30 in three hours there I got seventy five signatures to the 60 it had taken me four hours to get on the Lakewalk.

An old friend emailed me back to wish me well. He’s now the owner of several rural newspapers that I had sent Press Releases to. At least the print media seemed to pay attention. I got a call from the Duluth Trib’s reporter and he interviewed me for ten minues. It will be a short article tomorrow and it won’t be my press release word for word but I suspect it will be a reasonable introduction of my campaign the their readership.

I’ll try to get even more signatures tomorrow but I think I’ll do in in Duluth rather than drive to another city. I think I’ll to other cities and just hand out my bookmarks after I turned in my 1,000 signatures to the Secretary of State.