It's difficult to make the leap directly from the state Senate to a state-wide elected office. But it's not impossible. Lawton Chiles got elected to the US Senate in 1970 by taking a 91 day, 1,003 mile walking trip across Florida. Bob Graham was elected to Governor in 1978 after starting a Workdays program in which he worked full days at various jobs like teacher, garbageman and even busboy.
This was when grassroots campaigners actually got outside once in a while to see the grass, and didn't spend all their time concocting weird online fundraising schemes -- trying to amass friends on Twitter and Facebook, and replacing door-to-door campaigning with txt messages. Remember Ron Paul and his loyal band of Internet political vigilantes? Those misguided hacks built a super dedicated online network, and yet still no one took Paul seriously (and that's probably for the best).
The Internet has its place in modern campaigns, but it will never replace face-to-face, out-in-the-community campaigning and I'm surprised it took so long for someone to dust off Lawton's boots or Graham's work gloves.
Oh, hey, here's Democratic US Senate Candidate and current state Senator Dan Gelber doing just that with his "100 Service Days."
Except he wants you to know this isn't just a blatant rip off-off from
two candidates who successfully lifted themselves directly out of
Florida's upper house. He says so right on his blog:
did not choose this idea because the "walk" of Lawton Chiles and the
"work days" of Bob Graham had been taken. I chose it because it fits
me. I have always made volunteerism an everyday part of my life and the
life of my family.
"Sure, yeah right, Gelby," the cynics
will say, and they're most likely right. But, we totally applaud this
type of campaigning making a comeback. Candidates today are maybe
getting a little too caught up in this "Internet" thing. All the double clicks in the world aren't
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going to give them much insight into the problems of everyday Floridians.
Of course, this 100 service thing doesn't completely ignore the internet. You can view him planting trees on YouTube. Of course it only has 29 views as of this posting, becuase, jeez no one actually wants to watch it. Yawn.
And that's the thing. Touting your number of community service days
during stump speeches and debates sounds a lot better than your YouTube view count.