Many people have asked me about the caucus elections and what happened, was a shady deals cut ect..
To Jasons credit he simply out worked Bill after the election. Bill was a great leader. He kept us solid and together, developed plans and strategy raised money and helped us all get re elected. After the elections I am sure Bill was exahusted and went back to his regular job of cutting down trees. Mumpower went out on the campaign trail. He simply went out and got the votes he needed to become leader. I suspect the votes mostly came from new people who knew neither person well and some of the more moderates who may think Bill is too hard core.
This is not to say Jason is soft on issues or a liberal, but he is not as outspoken as Bill is.
To win an election to be leader is one thing, to lead is another. For Jason to be a success and lead us into the majority I think he will have to do some things I have not seen him do yet.
Jason is for the most part a quiet person on the floor. I think he likes do deals in silence more. He is used to being more behind the scene and not out front. To be a leader he will have to speak up more and be visible. I do not mean argue with the Democrats for the sake of arguing but study issues and speak up when it is necessary. Bill commanded respect from the Democrats. When he spoke (even before he was leader) Democrats paid attention. They knew he was going to bring facts and a solid point so they better pay attention. If they didn't Bill could make them look foolish. If the Democrats don't respect you or think they can steam roll you they will. Jason will have to show them that will not be the case. A title and a nice suit will not cut it. His skin will have to thicken and if he or one of his people gets hit in public he will have to be ready to return fire. He can not go into a shell or wait for someone else to do it.
Jason will have to reach out to the Pro life Christian evangelical and conservatives that Bill brought with him naturally. Many of them are quite let down that Bill is no longer leader. Bill is one of them through and through. These people are the backbone of most grass root campaigns. Without them we are looking at many up hill races. Just as Bob Corker had a tough fight after he won the primary (because most of the grass roots people went off with Van and Ed) we could face the same thing as a caucus. Bob still won, but it was not easy. He had to buy a lot of media to make up for the lost grass roots people. Jason needs to be able to keep these people on board with our message and develope a softer touch when confronted by people who are not happy he won.
Jason is going to have to continue on the state wide campaign trail. Being a real leader is difficult. I saw how much time Bill put in to it in just one year. Many times he did the work of the party as well as being caucus leader. Jason can not let up, but instead needs to push hard forward. This past election almost everything was against Republicans. We were lucky to hang on to the seats we had. Two years from now should be much different. Jason need to start recruiting quality candidates to run for office to beat some of these weak Democrats now. In one year it will be almost too late. New candidates and people with little name ID have to start early and lay ground work. As in sports recruiting, getting some one to put a name on a ballot is not too hard. Getting quality people to run who will run hard and can win is a longer more difficult process.
This next issue has been a real weakness for our party lately. Money. We are usually out spent two or three to one. This ratio needs to change if we are to take over. Bill was starting to bring the big money people on board with our message. Jason will have to keep those people and grow new ones. Money is the life blood of politics. Some non urban areas are spread to thin to do tons of door to door. In those races money is a huge factor. Jason will have to raise money for others as he has never done before. As I have said in the past we can not rely on the party if we are going to take over.
If you don't have some money, you can have the best message in the world and very few will ever hear it. Jason will need to start raising real money for the party and the caucus.Raising money for your self is difficult. Raising money for other people is extra difficult and requires a special kind of person. They have to be able to see the big picture and realize it is not all about themselves. After they do that they need to be able to take that message out and convince others they need to do the same thing. After they do that, they have to do it over and over and over and over, all across the state, face to face. Person by person. Dollar by dollar. It is a grueling task only the leader can do. When rejected, as happens often, he will have to swallow hard on his pride and start over and do it again.
Jason has proven he has what it takes to win a caucus election. Now the hard work of leading starts. I hope he can prove the nay sayers wrong and will do what it takes to win state elections and keep us moving forward. I encourage him and want him to succeed. When he succeeds we all succeed. If he fails.....