And that's exactly what I'm going to say. And I didn't even get a t-shirt!
See, they didn't just let me tag along to the organized events and speeches, they literally embedded me in the campaign for a day. They took a Utah blogger -- with a reputation in many political circles for badgering, criticizing, constant emailing, and generally making trouble to get Democrats show a little fight in this state -- and literally planted me in the middle of the campaign for the day. There were no "you can't write about this" lectures or "plug your ears" moments. They just let me in, and let me watch. And yeah, I got gossip!
Things like a member of the finance team owns a leprechaun costume. One member of the communications branch of the campaign chooses not to use a smart phone! (I know!) And Peter Corroon has an irrational, and paralyzing fear of the color Magenta... Yeah, I made that last one up because I know they will be reading this, wondering what I'll say about what I saw. But the first two are completely true.
I heard them prepare a rapid response to Herbert's (IMHO) ironic cheap shot -- ironic because he launched a thinly veiled and contrived accusation at Corroon to paint a picture of "bad campaigning," a tactic which is itself "bad campaigning" -- lobbed during his own filing speech, and I watched them recruit volunteers on the Frontrunner ride north from SLC to Ogden. They gave interviews, changed speech phrasing, brainstormed, scheduled, re-scheduled, canceled, then re-scheduled again events, interviews, and fundraising opportunities with the typically hectic, break neck speed of a campaign in full swing. But with all the opportunity that existed for something to go wrong, and with all the things outside of staff control that did go wrong, I saw something amazing that I haven't seen in a local campaign for a very long time.
They knew what they were doing, had the tools to do what they were doing, and had the skills to make what they were doing a flawless success. They were late for nothing, missed no event, left no one behind (although I believe they threatened me with that at least once). And at the events themselves, it wasn't only Peter rallying the crowd. These same staffers would work the crowd like the most experienced of volunteer activists, then be back in the cars, seat belts on, phones to ears, papers... well, scattered everywhere. And by the next event, they were prepared to do it again.
And most strikingly, each member I met of the Corroon campaign staff did all of this with the same sincerity, confidence, and professionalism the candidate himself displayed. At all times. They exhibited an obvious camaraderie with each other, and an ability to react as a team to the most unexpected twist. And believe me, I tried to get them to slip up! Not to be mean spirited, of course, but to see if what I was watching was for real. Staffers were having so much fun, it was impossible not to get caught up in it.
So I could say a lot about Corroon's message, which I like (especially his: Air quality, water quality, quality of life! comment at one event), or what I learned from listening in and asking questions about his take on this or that issue. But you can find that out from his website. Or call the campaign and ask. They'll answer. What I'd really like to say to Utah readers here, from the experience: If you want to be a part of something big, and organized, and real, and going places, get involved in this campaign.
Oh, and left edge of this picture? Yeah... owns a leprechaun costume.