A campaign kickoff for a board supervisor race is usually a relatively intimate affair with fifty or so people in attendance. Jeanine Lawson’s kickoff last evening however looked more like someone kicking off a state-wide race with well over 200 people in attendance, dozens of kids burning off excess energy in a moonbounce and a full service bar for those adults needing fortification to deal with those exhausted children later. Between the five week old baby there to a big grandparent contingent, the crowd spilled all over the grounds of the country club where this was held looking more like a sesquicentennial event than a campaign activity.
I was there filming a website video for Jeanine. Before speeches start my typical approach is to get footage of the candidate talking with people and anything else interesting that might be happening going on. I found myself running all over the place and frequently had to go searching for Jeanine after getting this crowd shot, or that cute five year old with an ice cream cone where most of it ends up on her, rather than in her. It struck me — when have I ever had to search for the candidate at a campaign event? Well, when have the crowds at a campaign event been so large that it actually took effort to find the candidate? Never!
And this happened despite the fact Jeanine didn’t have some big headliner there like the Governor. I’ve seen candidates for the House of Delegates bring in a headliner like this and they didn’t get this kind of crowd. In this case however just about all the elected officials in the area are afraid of upsetting the incumbent Republican representing Brentsville and they stayed away, so no big-name headliners. Their constituents sure didn’t. So who did this huge mob end up getting as a headliner? A pastor. A pastor who talked about faith and service, quoting the Bible.
Yeah, this is a different kind of campaign than most of us are used to seeing. It’s kind of fearless, the vague platitudes have been thrown away, it feels distinctly honest. People in Brentsville really want a change and they really like who Jeanine is. It doesn’t come stuffed with a bunch of endorsements by elected officials obligated to give them, it isn’t armed with gobs of cash, and it isn’t particularly polished at this point. What it does have is enormous energy, a lot of passion, and obviously a growing army behind it.
I’d say Jeanine Lawson for Supervisor is on a roll.
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