Councilman-Possibly-Elect Dee Andrews & His Campaign Staffers On Election's Message
|(May 3, 2007) -- He did what others considered impossible.
His campaign stunned LB's supposedly powerful power brokers, scoring what appears to be one of the biggest political upsets in recent LB history.
Photo credit: Diana Lejins
When we caught up with them by cell phone shortly before 1 a.m. May 2, Dee Andrews, a well-known central LB native son, along with his campaign manager Kelton Reese and campaign consultant Tracy Kittinger, were ecstatic. They'd apparently bested some very expensive political machinery.
With a number of provisional and absentee ballots still remaining to be counted (so it's not over yet), Mr. Andrews is 49 votes ahead of Al Austin...backed by LB Mayor Bob Foster, multiple Democrat politicians and LB's police and firefighter unions). Ahmed Saafir...backed by the LB Area Chamber of Commerce PAC, former Mayor Beverly O'Neill, incumbent Harbor Commissioner Doris Topsy-Elvord, the Press-Telegram and Business Journal)...is third.
Despite the midnight hour, cheering supporters gathered 'round and passing cars honked in support as we asked the trio via cell phone how they did it and what they believe the election means:
Dee Andrews: The people are not for sale! That's what it is. Others can spend all the money they like. The people showed they're not for sale. We knew that. We've been for the people from the beginning and the voters knew that.
Tracy Kittinger: To see this eclectic group come together, including voters others discounted, is amazing. They beat the special interests on both sides. It's inspiring and wonderful. [Had to depart to deal with an overworked car battery.]
Kelton Reese: We reached out to those affected by what takes place here on a daily basis, by what they can see here for themselves every day, to those whose interests haven't been represented in political terms. Dee recognized that. The community responded.
All of us knew that knowledge of the district means something. It's not just an ephemeral thing that may or may not have impact.
|The message is: it's not always about money. It's not always establishment backing that wins elections. People can still mount a successful campaign based on the old traditional grassroots approach that the average person can have an impact on the system...|
Mr. Andrews rode through neighborhoods in this eye-catching classic car carrying an unmistakable message. Photo source: Andrews campaign consultant (and car owner) Tracy Kittinger
Coalitions can be built and this election was all about coalition building. We had groups coming together that others may not have viewed as allies or saw as adversarial. They joined together to achieve what's been achieved. .
Other candidates were supported by institutions, but people -- the voters -- realized they had to form their own coalitions, to work with people they're familiar with...and not necessarily take direction from others.
This election showed we can determine our destiny if we get involved. We worked with people who others passed up on, who weren't taken into account.
The system had reached a point where it became so sophisticated that the only ones catered to are those most likely to vote...and discounted all the others out there. Remember that old phrase "the silent majority?" This was in a different context. The election showed the power of registered voters who didn't fit a traditional profile that others didn't have an interest in. To us, that's of the reasons there are problems here, things we can change. The people said so in this election.
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