Chairman’s Corner by Scott McGraw

Well, it’s down to crunch time with the 2016 elections. School is coming back into session in a few days and life will return to the routine for most people and families – except for those who are politically active. It’s going to be busy from now until Nov. 8 in Kalamazoo County. With an abundance of local races, legislative races and the presidential race, there will be no rest for the Republican Party in Kalamazoo!

Our office in Portage has been inundated since the Republican National Convention in July with Trump supporters wanted all kinds of campaign materials, from signs to bumper stickers and from buttons to brochures. I’ve estimated more than 100 each week have called or come to the office with such requests. I am happy to report that the KGOP has been able to fill the need. Although the campaign has been slow to respond, not your local Republican office. We’ve had “Make America Great Again” hats for sale for several months, thanks to entrepreneur T.W. Lane who saw an opportunity to raise money for the party and a local veterans group. We also have buttons available for sale for a small price. The KGOP has been giving out free bumper stickers for several weeks now and I’ve been noticing them around town. And the big news – we will have Trump-Pence yard signs by the end of the week. Your executive committee voted to fill the gap by purchasing nearly 2,000 yard signs earlier in the month. Those signs will be delivered on Friday and will be free to Republicans.

But your KGOP leadership has also been busy helping lay the foundation for many races here in the county. Door-to-door activity has been going well with many candidates and volunteers getting out the hitting the streets. Helping is the support of the state party’s new walking app. The app helps people going door-to-door by mapping their route and tracking survey information automatically. The app replaces the tedious task of printing and distributing paper walk lists. This duty usually took hours and hours before a candidate and his or her volunteers went out for door-to-door. It also eliminates the volunteers sorting through all the pages of information they had to carry with them while they were hitting doors.

This use of technology will help the KGOP as its candidates begin their campaigns. But technology doesn’t replace good, old-fashioned hard work. It still takes a number of people to help knock on doors – which is still the most effective tool for campaigns. Face-to-face communication directly with the voters is how elections are won in the modern age of high technology. The same techniques that Dale Shugars and Paul Wartner used back in the dark ages are still what gets candidates elected.

One other strategy our candidates need are mailings. Direct mailings for absentee voters and campaign issues. This is a strategy that needs support through financial contributions of their supporters. I want to encourage you to support our local candidates when they hold a fundraiser or send our a contribution letter.

The most important thing I can ask of you is to vote. Your vote counts. This week, Kalamazoo will be holding a recount of the August Primary because two races tied and one had a one-vote margin. If you don’t think your vote counts, you don’t have to look any further than Kalamazoo County. Please vote Nov. 8.