On this campaign journey, I try to do my best to appreciate the ride. Whether it is standing on a stage with amazing people who you've admired from afar or singing happy birthday to the wife of the future Attorney General before eating the best cupcake of your life, I try to step back and acknowledge the uniqueness of it all. Knocking on a stranger's door and asking them about their hopes for the state they call home. Telling that stranger your own. Building so many bonds with people premised on the short but powerful agreement: "I will vote for you" and "I will make you proud to have done so."
But amongst those unique experiences is having someone write about you; having them comment on your work in a public way. It is both the most satisfying and nerve-racking parts of being a candidate. I'll admit that my hand still quivers a bit when I start the page.
Julia, Bill, Frank, Jason, HowChow, Duane - all of you have written such kind things about me. And they mean more to me because I feel like you "get" my message. This isn't just "Tom is my friend. Vote for him." It's "Tom is really trying to change things, but he won't get there by himself." I've worked hard to be authentic, which is antithetical to 90% of the advice you get on the campaign trail. The reward for those efforts is being clearly understood. Seeing your words, and feeling like I've communicated the most important message of my campaign, is invaluable to me.
Yesterday was a big day for the campaign with two great columns published by Center Maryland. The first was written by Laslo Boyd and focused almost exclusively on our campaign - "An Election Looking Forward or Back". This line "when you talk to Coale, he comes across as a pragmatic problem solver, not a political ideologue" sums up the whole of what I'm trying to accomplish. Solving problems and eschewing empty ideology. If voters can evaluate me on that, and decide whether that is what they want in a Delegate, I feel like my campaign has been a success.
The second was from Josh Kurtz who wrote a more down-the-middle evaluation of the race in 9B, entitled "A Few Good Men". I only spoke with Josh briefly at my event last Thursday, but he also picked up our message: "There’s an undeniable, almost irresistible optimism about Coale. He
casts himself as a problem solver on the campaign trail, and talks about
his desire to empower the community 'in the face of cynicism.'" Josh also quoted my closing from last Thursday's event, which many of you have commented on:
Coale, speaking lyrically, not unlike a certain governor of Maryland who
is contemplating a run for president, calls cynicism “my only opponent
in the race – not Bob Flanagan. Not a man waving at traffic. Not a man
who previously served in the House of Delegates. I’ll give Bob Flanagan
his name. Give me my friends.”
Speaking of my friends, there was a third piece published yesterday that meant just as much to me. Jason Booms wrote about my candidacy, but he did so by commenting on "what got me here". When other people who have dedicated themselves to the thankless work of public service recognize the dedication and sincerity implicit therein, it means something. We just don't have enough people running for public office who started with their Village Board or a local nonprofit. I appreciate anyone willing to put themselves out there, but without this experience, I will always ask "where have you been?" Jason gets that (and so do so many of you).
I don't think a day has gone by since the start of this campaign that I haven't said "wow". Admittedly, sometimes that "wow" was in the face of challenges or disappointment, but always in appreciation and amazement. This race is not about me, but you all have made me feel like I have your full support and dedication to the cause.
Because at the end of the day, the reason I am so confident we are going to win this November has nothing to do with me. It has to do with my friends.
Have a great Friday doing what you love.