It’s the final push, and fewer than 100 hours now remain before the last votes are cast when the polls close.
Most people want the commercials, the lawn signs, the mailers and the phone calls to end.
For a political junkie like me, however; Election Day is sort of like the World Series and the Superbowl combined. But even the most ardent political junkie finds themselves exhausted and ready for it to be all over at this point in the game.
We try to tell ourselves that life will go on, regardless of the results.
But still the pit in my stomach is consumed with anxiety and speculation.
I have been working on campaigns, professionally and as a volunteer, since 1984.
When it comes to my professional campaigns, I will either be 11-2 or 10-3 on Wednesday, Nov. 5.
My fellow campaign workers are no frantically, desperately in GOTV (Get-out-the vote) mode. Our families know that this weekend is a wash. We won’t sleep much, we won’t allow ourselves very much fun. 96 hours and counting. What did I miss? When is the other shoe going to drop?
We watch the weather forecasts, and we loathe the late letters to the editor. We lurk or ague on the #mepolitics feed on Twitter.
Visions of spreadsheets dance through our heads. What are the latest polls saying? That can’t be right.
I know what it feels like to win, and I know what it feels like to lose.
I ran a campaign that won with 83 percent of the vote. That felt good, but not nearly as good as winning another campaign with 24 votes.
I’ve lost campaigns, but none hurt as bad as a local referendum question in Old Orchard Beach that failed by fewer than 90 votes.
In all those cases, life went on and new battles loomed on the horizon.
Just like you, the campaign workers and the political junkies are ready for it to be over. They are more than ready to drink some Champagne or cry in their beers.
The unsung heroes
Campaign workers are among the unsung heroes of the political season.
The candidates or the issues get all the media attention, but they would be nowhere without the army of dedicated and exhausted volunteers and staffers who actually drive the campaigns. The paid staffers are generally more seasoned and experienced than the volunteers, but they generally work for peanuts. They are driven by passion and their ideals. They take it personally.
But there are many other unsung heroes in this process, most notably the city and town clerks who find themselves working overtime to keep up with the demands of the process: printing ballots, absentee voting and ensuring that the process remains fair and accessible to all voters.
And then there are the countless volunteers who give up an entire day to work at the polling places, helping voters get and cast their ballots. These people are generally rewarded with little more than complimentary donuts or pizzas.
So, when you go to vote, please make sure to say thank you to the wardens and clerks who keep the system running smoothly.
And finally, there are the candidates.
Regardless of your political leanings, we should all thank each of the candidates for sacrificing so much of their time and energy in order to serve in public office. Beyond the big-ticket races for governor, the U.S. Senate and U.S House of Representatives, hundreds of candidates are running for seats in the Maine Legislature. Many voters will also choose district attorneys, sheriffs, school board members, town councilors and other candidates seeking inglorious jobs such wastewater trustee.
So if you’re sick of the ads and the phone calls, take a deep breath and say thank you to all the people who are willing to work on your behalf; and then thank God that you are not working on a political campaign because this is the best time to be involved in the process and the worst time to be involved in the process.