MA-05: Eye of the Tiger and Amazing Grace
By EaBo-Clipper Posted in Archived — Comments (14) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
As you all know I've been pushing Jim Ogonowski hard over the past six months. Besides my normal job, the campaign has taken most of my time. I've done this because I truly believe in Jim and his message that our government is broken and we need to reform Washington. Our differently winged friends have done their best to destroy Jim, because for them it's not about the best candidate winning, it's about their ideas not losing. Their ideas for larger more intrusive government and for socialism. Jim Ogonowski is a threat that eats at their core and they can't stand it.
I'd like to share with you why I think Jim Ogonowski is going to beat Niki Tsongas today. I have a few reasons.
Jim has plain worked harder than Niki. Ms. Tsongas saw this as a coronation not a political campaign. By all accounts in both th local and national press she has run a shoddy campaign. Jim on the other hand has been going at full throttle since May. I'm not sure of the exact number of doors Jim has personally knocked on but I know during most of the campaign he was spending at least 4 hours a day knocking on the doors of regular folks asking for their vote. I can do about 30 doors an hour on average so that translates to about 15,000 doors personally knocked on by Jim, by my best guesstimate. I would imagine that besides the doors Deval Patrick dragged Niki to this weekend that's 15,000 more than Niki Tsongas has knocked on.
The difference in work ethic between Niki and Jim was summed up in this Boston Herald headline: "Ogonowski Sprints, Tsongas Strides"
Today, the final day before voters go to the polls in a special election to replace former Rep. Martin Meehan, Ogonowski sprinted up and down the line of cars waiting at a Dunkin' Donuts drive-thru, seizing upon the captive audience - and open driver-side windows - to pass out campaign literature.
"Every vote counts," the farmer and former Air Force lieutenant colonel told one driver. "We're that close."
Democrat Niki Tsongas, the other headliner in the race, employed a slightly less frenetic pace, visiting several senior centers and holding an ice cream social ....
....Ogonowski flitted about looking for support, planning 40 rapid-fire stops on Monday,
This weekend was no different, Jim made 76 campaign appearances on Saturday and Sunday, including as I perused the schedule on the HQ wall 3 45 minute blocks of door to door campaigning. According to his schedule he was allowed two hours of sleep. So in the final 72 hours leading up to election day Jim Ogonowski made 116 different campaign stops. "Jim has the Eye of the Tiger".
Because Jim has spent so much time with regular everyday people at the places they congregate and because Jim is who he is, the connection made between Jim and everyday folks is amazing. At the few campaign stops I saw this past weekend and that I've heard about, his reception has been outstanding. I'd like to share a couple of them with you.
The first happened on Saturday in Concord Massachusetts. Jim was walking around downtown Concord talking to voters when a guy pulls up on his Harley jumps off his bike and grabs Jim sticks out his and and goes "Jim Effin' Ogonowski, you're gonna do it man!" I'm told scenes like that played themselves out all weekend.
The second story which gave me goosebumps and was reported in yesterday's Lowell Sun happened in Billerica on Sunday. Jim was with the WCVB-5 camera crew for a campaign stop at a coffee shop in Billerica Center. Jim and the camera crew go in to the coffee shop. Jim gets the warm reception he's been getting all weekend at the shop, shakes hands and passes out his ever present campaign flyer. After greetings, the WCVB-5 reporter asked questions of the patrons of the establishment. Most were enthusiastic in their support of Jim. The reporter asked the whole room if there was anything else they'd like to say. The entire coffee shop broke out spontaneously in "Amazing Grace". From all accounts it was a powerful and emotional display of support. Jim Ogonowski has touched people in ways that most politicians can only dream of. By the very fact of being and acting like Jim Ogonowski without airs he has connected with the electorate.
Ogonowski popped into the Coffee Emporium in Billerica Center. He was greeted warmly. A group of choir members from the First Congregational Church on Andover Road favored him with an a-cappella rendition of "Amazing Grace."
"That was awesome," Ogonowski said. "Impromptu, unstaged. You don't get to see that when you surround yourself with politicians like my opponent has done. That's the difference between the two campaigns."
This last story brings us to why Jim is going to win this election. His base of support is positively and enthusiastically supporting him. People who are voting for Jim are going to the polls because they want to vote for him. By all accounts this can't be said about his opponent. Niki Tsongas has not connected with the average voter in this district, her support comes from people who negatively don't want to see a republican, any republican get elected. Those are not motivated voters. Jim's voters are motivated.
Jim, before I end this blog post I want to wish you the best of luck today, and say that it has been my honor to work with you over these past 5 months. From the first time we met over coffee at the au bon pain in Woburn to now I have been proud to know you and I enthusiastically support you. While I no longer live in the district my family does and all of them from second cousins on out are voting for you. Oh and I can't resist this last line, Jim go kick some Tsongass!