This past week our Canvassing Coordinator had the privilege to fly out of state and canvass for an incumbent congresswoman in the Texas primary. He learned many new things and was able to make many comparisons and contrasts to canvassing in Washington state and documented them.
Here was his experience:
Canvassing for a Republican is a different experience no matter where you are in the country or even the state for that matter. This particular race featured a primary challenger whose main pitch was that he was more pro-Trump than the sitting congresswoman, despite her having the President’s endorsement. In this particular part of Texas, Trump is the ultimate deciding factor for many voters. I came across multiple voters who said they would not vote for the congresswoman because she “Doesn’t support Trump.” Which made my job super easy because I just have to hand them literature that literally had a picture of a Trump tweet with his endorsement of the Congresswoman, and believe it or not, it swayed voters.
I had multiple cases of “Well if that’s the case, I’ll vote for her.” It was that easy. Of course, not everyone was sold merely on a Trump endorsement. Campaigning in Western Washington, you will find that Trump does not play particularly well, even amongst Republicans. I have canvassed for Republican candidates who wanted to distance themselves from the President and wanted it to be clear that they do not support the things he says or even some of his policies. This shows the difference in voting demographics. In Texas, you want to attach yourself to Trump. In Western Washington, you want to distance yourself, as to win over moderates or swing voters. To split the baby, Eastern Washington doesn’t require you to separate yourself from Trump, but leaching on to him is not going to help you much. Candidates who run on their own platform and credentials will do just fine, and rocking the Trump boat one way or another can be risky.
I found that interactions with voters were much better in Texas than they are in Washington. It is sometimes very difficult to find a quality and productive discussion going door-to-door in Washington, whereas in Texas, it was quite easy. I had multiple 30 minute-plus conversations with voters, as they either wanted to know more about the candidate, or they wanted to talk politics, life, you name it. Some voters seemed to want to get to know me, which I have never had in Washington. I also had zero doors slammed on me in Texas, whereas I have had many in Washington. Maybe it’s a cultural thing? Who knows. Not one time did I feel worried about being a punching bag at the front door. Even though many houses had signs warning intruders that they would be shot, there was never anything to worry about. Perhaps the most entertaining part of the experience was the faux-drawl that developed without warning.
All in all, it was just plain fun and I had a fantastic time. Talking to voters at their front doors, or on the phone was always interesting, as well as just immersing myself in the atmosphere and being a local Texas boy for the day. Campaigning in the State of Texas was a great experience, and definitely worth my while. It was a nice change of pace from trying to flip moderate Democrats to vote for a Republican in a blue district.