Confessions of a Campaign Intern: What they don’t tell you (Parade Edition)

ParticipationAs some of you know, I decided to volunteer on a campaign this cycle. I got tired of complaining, and not doing.

Beginning at the start of the year, when everyone (except apparently for Luz Robles) was kicking off their campaign, I decided to start finding a candidate I could support, and help. I have had several on my podcast, including Doug Owens (Utah 04) Charles Stormont (AG) and Jennifer Johnson.

Jennifer decided not to run, because of some other issues, and the Owens campaign seemed like they were doing well from a volunteer standpoint; but still fighting an uphill battle against Mia Love and her republican party backed Juggernaut of a campaign.

The Attorney General race this cycle is an interesting one. It comes in the wake of the Mark Shurtleff/John Swallow issues that have been covered near and far by the Utah media. Sean Reyes was appointed in December, 2013. But I still felt I needed to do something.

Charles appeared on my Podcast – the Salt City Throwdown and immediately I was impressed with him and how he carried himself. He knew his legal stuff, and knew that the Attorney General of Utah needed to be more than just another GOP lead statewide office that succumbed to the partisan needs of the GOP super super super majority (87% GOP) in the Utah Legislature.

It is an uphill battle. But after hearing him speak a couple of times, and then being able to sit down one-on-one with him, I was hooked. This was my guy. So I told him I would help.

It was quiet for a while. Then the news started to come out more and more about Shurtleff and Swallow, Kitchen v. Herbert and Evans v. Herbert. Charles has a great message. But his digital/social-media strategy were lacking. I offered to help him with this, and he accepted. So now, with the help of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics we have turned it into a real live campaign internship.

So thats the story in a nutshell, I am working on the only state-wide race this year as a “Social Media Coordinator”

But when I signed up there were a couple of things I didn’t know, or expect.


Pioneer Day Parade, Monroe, Utah
Pioneer Day Parade, Monroe, Utah

10) People in Utah love small town parades. I wasn’t prepared for this. I hate parades.  I am an IT guy by trade, not a “Hooray! Lets go to the parade, lets sit in the sun and bake our rear end off” guy. On July fourth, we marched in Tooele, Utah and Grantsville, Utah. By the end of the Grantsville parade, I was about to pass out from heat exhaustion. Parades in Utah, are long, hot, and have huge turn out.

Lesson learned parade route. Lesson. Learned.

9) There is no such thing as “a comfortable pair of shoes” when marching in said parade(s). Nope. Doesn’t happen, You could be walking on panda bear skinned shoes with kitten kissed insoles and lace up with unicorn tears. You will still have aching, sweaty feet when you get done.

8) Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. And stand behind any parade entry that has water guns, dare them to hit you. Have cold gatorade somewhere near by to replenish the salt you just lost

7) Have good aim. Kids might not be able to vote, but they need their candy. Lets be honest, Parades are more about getting candy for the kids, than parents.

6) Have candy throughout the parade: The campaign, or community person, or candidate that has candy at the end of the parade is a hero, and the kids will love you.

5) If you’re quick. Candy is recyclable. Yes. If you can swoop down and grab it while nobody is looking, errantly fired candy can be re-used.

4) You may not have signed up for a fitness class, but good lord, this will get you in shape.  I haven’t walked like this in years. And by years I mean “Since I last had to do two-a-day’s during High School football” I have 3 pairs of shorts that don’t fit me any more because they are too large… Yes. The fat guy has lost weight.

3) It’s fun to make jokes and laugh. But keep it light-hearted. It was awesome to watch Donna McAlleer (UT 01) run laps and high-five everyone possible. I wish I had a quarter of her U.S. Bobsled Team member energy.

2) Dress Light. It gets hot.  And wear a hat….. and try not to let the sweat get in your eyes. If you’re like me, that is hard to do – especially when you are built like me. About 3/4 of the way in, my eyes are usually burning from the sweat drenching down my face.

NCAA Football: Utah at Brigham YoungAnd last, but not least. The almost most important thing to remember….

1) Don’t make jokes to BYU guy. I have watched Charles make a couple of jokes to “BYU Guy” (see example below) and some enjoy his banter, and some get really weirded out by it. Hey at least he wasn’t wearing a drum and feather and big ole “Block U’ when he made it. (Also, it should be noted that the last two attorney generals – you know, the ones who got indicted for campaign fraud…. yup. Both BYU guys.)

Originally posted at Random Thoughts and Useless Information.

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