Steve Thomas Speaks Redux
The morning after the primary election, Matt made the following request: “And if you supported Steve Thomas, please in God’s name tell us how he did so well.” Well, here is the response, straight from Steve Thomas himself:
How in God's name did Steve Thomas do so well?
Anybody who followed my campaign, starting with the Lamorinda Club meeting last February knows that I came out strongly on big issues that matter to all of us. What I found was that many people were dying to hear someone stand up and say what I was saying. I meant it and I think I connected with people in the audience.
In all the candidate forums, televised and otherwise, other people consistently told me "you won the debate." Word of this does get around.
I did several rounds of emails to voters that actually had a lot of information in them. As a voter, I always found that the tripe that showed up in the mailbox (including the official voter guide) was remarkably useless when it came to making an informed decision. Out of respect for voter's intelligence, I took the risk of sending them "too much information" by ordinary standards. There were a small number of people who told me to stop "spamming" them (sorry, use your delete button or the unsubscribe button at the bottom of the emails), but the vast majority of them made the full cycle without being self unsubscribed.
Despite being marginalized by pretty much all the newspapers (the Lodi Sentinel paid me a back handed compliment saying I was "to the left of Ted Kennedy," without defining what that means) I had the strongest message on the most issues of all three candidates. Issues that really affect all of us and cut across party lines. To say that my votes were the result of confusion between Steve Thomas and Steve Filson, is hogwash. I'm certain I got some votes because of my ballot designation "Union Electrician." Other than that I did a lot of person to person canvassing. I handed out a lot of flyers, buttons and bumper stickers. I told everyone to spread the word and that I was "Steve the electrician" not "Steve the pilot."
What really counts is that when you talk to people, they can tell you're passionate, you really mean it and you connect with them. I can't tell you how many times, after my little spiel about how we are losing the middle class, people responded by saying they could tell I meant it and I was different. Caring is something you can't fake.
Pete McCloskey and I had a joint speaking engagement at one of the District Democratic Clubs. It was the first time we'd met and afterwards, he twice said to me "if there was a Democratic Presidential candidate saying what you are saying, the Democratic Party would be in better shape."
That's the message. All I had was that, an ability to deliver the message and the sense (or lack of it) to get out there and deliver it.
I brought a lot of different, important issues to the race and caused the other candidates to work on their public speaking. We are the people we've been waiting for. I could no longer look in the mirror, pretend everything was going to be ok, and just go to work. I couldn't do it, I had to get involved, I ran for office and my sense of commitment came through to people. I connected.