Eau Claire and Wausau

My happy moment in Eau Claire? (Ok, besides finding lunch. 🙂 ) It was watching Mark Neumann give the kids a “high five.” There were a couple of youngsters in the crowd. It was fun.

Although I’m out of the Freedom Express for the rest of the tour, I’m tapping away on my phone trying to make notes. It’s a good thing, too. I would have easily forgotten a lot by now.

One other thing Neumann mentioned, he’s built this campaign from scratch. There wasn’t a Republican handholding session to get him started. And to be honest, there’s a different feel to this staff group. In general a campaign crowd can get cranky quickly. For some reason, it never crosses this group’s mind.

Back in a separate car the group talks politics until we laugh. Every corner of the country is covered. I think it’s a great deal of fun. It’s not very often I get to talk shop as long as I want without someone rolling their eyes.

I’m reminded of a story I told Mark. In the last few weeks I’ve remembered that as I child I was pretty into this, too. In fact, I called the local television station when I was 10 years old to tell them their electoral map was wrong for the race Nixon won.

I’m not sure why I’m just now remembering that, but honestly? It doesn’t surprise anyone. Ok, so I’m kind of a junkie.

The drive to Wausau has a lot more farmland. We stop at Trig’s, a grocery store.

This stop is the first awkward moment I’ve seen on the campaign. We’ve been warned the center of the state is heavily Democrat. When Neumann reaches out to shake a woman’s hand, she refuses. “I think it’s wrong you are here at all,” she all but snarls.

I recoil, but the candidate never misses a beat. He’s met with much more enthusiasm with the next extended hand.

A surprising number of yard signs are taken from this spot. One man says he has a bunch of rental property in the area and picks up one for each. Another woman makes a call to her husband to come enjoy the polka band.

I see he makes it just as the band is packing up. It makes me a little sad.

Each stop finds new volunteers for the location, plus a few extras that seem to come out of nowhere. There are a handful of “super” volunteers traveling to each stop. It’s a tight core group who have given up everything this last week to stay on the road. I marvel at their stamina.

They polka while I tap away on my phone.

I loved it, and I’m grateful to the campaign for letting me tag along. I am convinced that now more than ever, I’m voting for the right candidate tomorrow.

Win or lose, I’m glad for the chance to support Mark Neumann.


  1. Randy in Richmond says:

    Hearing the names of the towns and their descriptions make it sound like you were definitely in ‘A League of your Own’.
    Surely you must have run into Jimmy Dugan and the Hinsen sisters. And I know Jimmy reminded you ” there’s no crying in politics” before spitting out a wad of tobacco juice.