The lifesavers for my campaign, and for me and my family during the campaign, were the county chairs of the local county Democratic parties.
One such hero was Hollis Hackman, the County Chair of the Sheridan County Democratic Party.
Hollis reached out to me early in the campaign. He arranged for me to participate in the Sheridan WYO Rodeo Parade. When I told him that I was struggling to raise money, he arranged to host a meet and greet fundraiser at his house the night before the parade. I slept at his house that night.
We awoke early and he took me to the pre-parade pancake breakfast on Main Street. I shook hands with voters at the breakfast and along to parade route with Hollis introducing me along the way.
The thing that I will always remember about Hollis is how encouraging he was. I was never a great candidate or campaigner. Yet, Hollis was always there with words of praise and a smile. I often thought to myself: “This is the person who should be running…not me.”
Later in October, when the local Chamber of Commerce hosted a debate at Sheridan College, Hollis rallied the local Dems to come out and support me. It was not much of a debate…Cynthia Lummis didn’t show up. Neither did any of the third party candidates (there was three). Of course, she had a never ending stream of TV commercials. I had no money and did not have the luxury to skip such events. Sadly, time and money made it that I could not make every event either.
That August, Hollis and the Sheridan County Dems invited me out to the speak at their annual summer Kendrick Day Picnic. John B. Kendrick was a Democratic U.S. Senator for Wyoming from 1917 to 1933. He was also from Sheridan.
Todd and I drove up to Sheridan that day after driving down first for an interview that morning in Douglas. We got lost finding Kendrick Park. Sometimes it felt like we were always a little late and little lost.
The following clip was taken recorded and edited by the Sheridan Press. It includes some of the key points that I made on the campaign trail.
Hollis was not the only such hero. I will be talking a lot about county chairs in this series (stay tuned!). It is something that I emphasized over and over to the media: Despite my tensions with the state party, the county parties and many grassroots Democrats fought for us and along side us. They also showed us a lot of love.