Well, folks... there are only 17 days left until this little project comes to an end. I cannot tell you what a rewarding experience this has been... and no matter how this turns out, this has been an experience I will never forget. I have learned so much over the last 8 months about Utah and the people who live here, but more importantly I have learned what I am truly capable of and now realize that I can do anything I set my mind to doing. I think I knew that before, but I did not know how far I could actually go. No matter if I win the election or if God has other things in store for me, I promise that you have not seen the last of me in Utah politics.
So many interesting things have transpired over the last few months. I have tried to keep my message positive and focused on the things that I feel are important. I have knocked on literally thousands of doors (I think we hit 4,500 sometime today around 2pm in Fillmore) and I have talked to thousands of Utah citizens. I wish I had been wearing a pedometer all along, I can't imagine how many steps my feet have logged. I have put over 20,000 miles on my car since March, and have lost 7 lbs from all the walking. I'm not complaining - that in itself is a fabulous side effect of campaigning.
I have appreciated the good mentors at the Utah Senate and Utah House who have been there for me and who have made sure that I had the appropriate tools to get this job done. I have especially appreciated fellow Senate candidates Representative Pat Jones and former Representative Trisha Beck who have given advice worth its weight in solid gold. And there are not words to express the good help provided to me by the Utah Democratic party, who has been there with me every step of the way, guiding this neophite through every single aspect of my campaign. Specifically, thanks to Chairman Wayne Holland, who has made me focus on the positive, and when I get a little bit discouraged by the sea of "red" tells me to go "walk a neighborhood" and "don't come back until you feel better." I have to say, Wayne... it works every time. To Rob Miller, the uber blogger, who reminds me that I am stronger than I think I am. And to the rest of the staff - Todd, Tika, Marci, Jeff, and Craig - thanks for just taking my phone calls. You folks are awesome!
There are the strong and proud Iron County Democrats. Although our numbers are small, our spirit is unbelievable. There are too many people to name, but thanks to all of them for the undying commitment to my campaign and for always believing in me. I must give a special nod to Cyril Noble of the Washington County Democrats, whom I believe is the hardest working Democrat in all of Southern Utah.
There is my darling campaign manager, Cidne, and her crew of volunteers who just GO for it and hit the road and get that walking done. I can't imagine the foot miles *they* have logged over the last month. To the hundreds of people who have donated money, your donations have made all of this possible. And to the hundreds of people ... republicans and democrats alike... with lawn signs --- wow! Thank you for stepping out and supporting this Democrat, and for really believing in me!
I have to thank my beautiful friends, who have tolerated my mood swings and one-track mind, and nobody should have to put up with *that* on a regular basis! I promise to be more fun once this is over!! To Larry and Kristen, who have been a good emotional support system and who are the only two other people I know who truly understand what a campaign does to a family. To Katie, who campaigns for more candidates than anybody in Utah, but who is always willing to help. To Sue, who keeps sending the funny jokes and emails, which lightens me right up. To Michael, whose experience in campaign management has been invaluable. And to Reshell, who has made more sacrifices than I can imagine, you will never know what your incredible help has meant to me.
The list would not be complete without naming my good family. Tim and Kristen Hollingshead, who are good listeners and give good advice. Hey guys, only 22 more days until Disneyland! My parents, in spite of their being republicans, have been my most dedicated cheerleaders and have brought many otherwise non-democratic voters into my camp. My sister, the wordsmith, who has helped me make sure that my message was always *just* right. My brother, who just kept encouraging me. And my two wonderful sons, Chas and Sam, who have really hung in there even though every bit of their spare time is spent on the road, either campaigning or making sure the signs have all stayed put. Only two more weekends of this, kids... I promise.
And then there is Mark. I do not deserve him. He has been my constant companion and best friend for over 20 years. But in the last 8 months, I have really come to understand the depth of his love and devotion to me. He has kept up with the kids and the housework and even the laundry. He has helped me pull off two stake choir events (no small feat) and has had the best ideas for advertising. He has walked with me, has gone to every campaign event with me, and has been by my side every step of the way. He helps me with every aspect of this campaign, and has been my practice audience for every speech. He tells me every day that he is proud of me, and makes sure that I *always* have time to decompress. Mark, I love you more than I dreamed possible. Thank you so much for encouraging me on this journey and for never letting me stop going.
I did not really mean for this entry to turn so sappy and dramatic... but I fear I won't have 10 minutes in the next two weeks to really get it all down. My calendar is jam packed over the next 17 days, and I just know I won't even have time to blog let alone tell people how grateful I am for them.
I think this is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. But boy has it been fun. I have 2000 more homes to visit in 17 days. With the help of my solid team and good friends, I think we will make it. I have never been more grateful for anyone as I am for all of you now.