Friday, October 13, 2006

Thursday Trail Report

This was another day that was a whirlwind of travel and interviews. Dan Drexler was my driver and road strategist. The first interview was with Kevin Keith of White River Broadcasting. The interview was for WCSI, but was likely to have portions additionally aired on the three other Indiana stations in the network.

On the air with Kevin Keith, WCSI-Columbus.

This was a 15-minute interview that covered the usual topics- Libertarian Party ballot status and the Elections Division, especially gerrymandering and voter verified paper audit trail voting machines. This interview has been posted at the Kole Campaign website in three files. Listen now!

Next stop was Seymour and a visit to the offices of the Tribune. I sat down with reporter Aubrey Woods, who noted more than once that I was the only candidate of any party, of any statewide race, who stopped at their offices this election season. I've been hearing that a lot, as will be seen.

The gerrymandering issue resonated with Mr. Woods, as all of the Statehouse candidates with districts that include Jackson County are running unopposed. From Woods' Tribune article:

One of the issues Kole said he believes the secretary of state's office needs to tackle is voting machines that can be trusted.

"I want to see an auditable voter verification paper trail audit system," Kole said. That system would allow voters to review their choices before making them final."

Grocery stores and other retailers allow you to see what you are buying, on the screen and on paper," Kole said. "Why can't we do this with our votes?"

Kole said such a move would serve to eliminate some of the distrust voters have with present systems.

He would also eliminate gerrymandering of districts because they ensure the election of officials and hold down voter turnout because elections are seen as a foregone conclusion.

The last stop was in Charlestown for the Clark County Farmers Bureau candidate forum.

Mike stands alone among statewide candidates.

The event started with the top of ticket. Eric Schansberg was there, but was not given an opportunity to speak. The Farm Bureau is not a Federal PAC, so it was not giving Federal candidates such as Schansberg the floor. Funny what campaign finance "reform" is doing to quiet discourse in America. This left Secretary of State candidates as the top of ticket. I was the only one to show, which cause room-wide snickering. I found that interesting, because the room was filled with Republican and Democratic partisans.

At any rate, I had the floor to myself. Again, I presented my platform of promoting higher turnout, and end to gerrymandering, and the use of VVPAT machines.

The New Albany News & Tribune not the presence of Schansberg & Kole- and the absence of their opponents. From David Mann's report:

The one federal candidate who showed up — 9th District Libertarian congressional candidate Eric Schansberg — joked that there might have been more candidates than regular voters at the event.

But Schansberg was just there to shake hands. Others got a chance to tell those attending what they were all about.

Here’s what a few of them had to say:

Libertarian Mike Kole was the only candidate for Secretary of State to make it to the forum.

Kole said he’s been traveling around the state at such forums and has been noticing that his opponents are not showing up. “It’s a real shame,” he said. And it speaks to voter disinterest.

Being a candidate is not simply the act of putting your name on a piece of paper, he said, but it’s a duty for the candidate to get out and meet the people who might be voting for them.

I've long held The Woody Allen Rule as my personal motto: "90% of success is simply showing up." There is a long-term lesson here for Libertarian candidates. Reporters still cover the top of ticket with the greatest attention. If we show up, and they don't, we get the coverage.

It is clear that the Ds & Rs have indeed created a game that allows them to concede that certain offices will be held by one or the other, leaving them to fight over just a small handful of offices. Observe the Democrats' cynical ploy this year for Indiana- back three Congressional races and the Marion County Prosecutors race; do the minimums elsewhere and suck up votes from your base for nothing. They didn't even bother to run a candidate for US Senate!

Alongside this, candidates from both "major" parties are only cherry-picking events. They attend if it's close to home, or in Indianapolis, or a large media event. It is the norm to not see a single other statewide candidate where I appear, not the exception. I've only seen the Republican incumbent twice all year. Twice! And I've been to over 180 events this year.

Wednesday Trail Report, Part 2

(The original post was too big for Blogger to post all the pictures!)

Yard signs in Kokomo. Dean's property and neighbors.

We left Ned's Corner Pub for Cedar Crest Lanes. The owner here has collected over 750 signatures of their patrons in protest of Kokomo's ban.

Kokomo clearly didn't ask the patrons. Bowling alley employees hold signed petitions.

Cedar Crest even has two sets of doors to seperate their bar from the bowling area. Prior to the ban, they created special smoke-free days and times, but report that this voluntary change in policy failed to attract crowds, otherwise they may have embraced it. They know who their customers are.

Kole yard signs outside the bowling alley.

We stopped at an IHOP on US 31 that had built in a separate smoking section that had its own ventilation system and had a door to close it off from the no-smoke section. This didn't make the grade with Kokomo, so IHOP simply keeps the door shut and the lights off in this section. It is completely unused. There is a newspaper in Kokomo that is missing a major news story, I tell you.

After Kokomo, we went over to Huntington for a dinner. Guests included Felix Aguilar (candidate for Indiana House District 50), and Doug Horner, host of the Fort Wayne TV show "Libertarian Perspectives". We talked campaign strategy at first, and then it all got very philosophical. I think Felix and Doug may have hung around for several hours after Kyle & I left.
Last stop was at the Indiana Wesleyan University campus in Marion, where the IWU College Libertarians invited me to speak at their regular meeting. This was my second meeting with this group, and they are as enthusiastic and active as ever. I was very grateful to have several students sign up to work polling places on election day. Most (about 90%) are from states other than Indiana, so we spent a good deal of time talking about the LP affiliates in their home states. Enjoying the discussion in one of IWU's great sofas.

Libertarian candidate for US House, District 5 Sheri Conover Sharlow also appeared and spoke. We enjoyed the hospitality shown by the IWU CLs, and the cozy setting.

Home late for a few hours sleep, a few hours of business work, and back to the trail! Thursday would be spent in Southern Indiana.

Wednesday's Report

Now this is the campaign trail! New LPIN executive director Kyle McDonald would be with me all day. We started in Lebanon, to meet with Rod Rose of the Lebanon Reporter. The Reporter carries southern Indiana libertarian Debbie Harbeson's regular column.

Rod knew quite a lot about our ballot access issues, and we discussed those items at leangth. He asked for my take on the GOP illegal immigration plan, and then we returned to my platform of Secretary of State issues. I'll look forward to seeing what is published.

Heading out of the interview with Rod Rose. A great interview and fun to see the old front pages throughout the offices.

From Lebanon, we went to Frankfort, for a sit down with the Frankfort Times reporter Marci Wright. This interview was very in-depth on the various outcomes related to the SOS results, ranging from the ballot status to the appointments to boards and commissions at the county and municipal levels, and also my platform points.

Frankfort Times reporter Traci Wright gets the details about our non-competitive elections.

Kyle & I zipped quickly from Frankfort to Kokomo, so that we could meet with a variety of business owners who are feeling the sting of their city's recently imposed smoking ban. As usual, we learned that the city council did not seek the input of business owners, their employees, or patrons, instead relying on the lobbyists who promote such bans. The most interesting comment to come out of this, "Haven't we shuttered enough businesses in Kokomo yet?" Apparently, this predictable effect never crossed the minds of the council members who voted in favor.

With Dean, the owner of Ned's Corner Pub

Dean advised me that his business may not make it through 2007. It has been open since 1964. He said it's goofy to see, but often times there will be more people standing around in the parking lot (the "outdoor smoking section") than there are inside the bar. True to form, he echoed the too-common theme that government doesn't listen. We urged him to make them listen by replacing them. We advised that the Libertarian Party will be delighted to run candidates in 2007 that specifically target city council that vote for policy that cripples small businesses.

(See Part 2 for continuation...)

Trail Notes

My apologies for the lack of updates the last few days. Believe me, I wasn't slacking off.

Look shortly for a report on Wednesday's activities, which included stops in Lebanon, Frankfurt, Kokomo, Huntington, and Marion. Thursday took us to Columbus, Seymour and Charlestown (Clark County). There are lots of great pictures to share and interesting tales to tell!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Coming Soon!

Check back here shortly. There will be a major event announcement from the Kole Campaign very soon. You will want to attend.