This time last year I was catching 14 winks in preparation for election day.

Earlier in the evening I had made the rounds collecting my outlying signs for redeployment. About 3 hours from now, I was leaping out of bed to fill some balloons, say a hasty goodbye to the family and rush to pick up local activist Tom Jensen ( thanks again Tom for kindly assisting with the last round of sign deployments at every municipal polling station).

It was the start of one of the longest days in my life. Exhilerating, enjoyable, extraordinary, engaging – the hospitality and good cheer of the citizens of Chapel Hill made the long hours fly by.

The beautiful fall weather was an incredible bonus.

And then there was my family, Ellie and Elijah. What troopers. They handed out literature, spoke to voters and covered for me in numerous ways. We’ve always taken Elijah with us to the polls. As he’s grown, his interest in civics deepens. Last year he was instrumental in my campaign. This year he was disappointed he wasn’t able to do more for Judge Baddour (though he will be helping out at the Library tomorrow).

He’s got the knack, he’s got the interest – I hope it sticks with him.

One year ago, 7:30pm, my family and I trundled up to Pepper’s Pizza for a quiet (for Pepper’s) meal. We popped into Mark Kleinschmidt’s shin-dig for a short time but by 9 or so we were back home – all exhausted. It was an incredible day.

Tonight I had a small reprise of last year. I’ve made a quick circuit of all the major precincts in Chapel Hill/Carrboro to check on Judges’ Baddour and Andersons signs. I also stopped a few times to nuture a few other signs I’ve been keeping an eye on (a particular one of Ellie Kinnaird’s for instance). Even pounded back in a miscellaneous few for a couple BOCC candidates.

They may be calling for rain tomorrow (actually, today) but the chill damp has not made it here yet… Tonight was clear, not too cool and very quiet. Hardly a car on the road. Maybe the weather will hold.

I was struck by how many signs are out. Obviously other folks made the rounds today preening, pruning and placing their candidate’s signs “just so” – hoping to capture the attention (“eyeballs”) and ballots of those critical few voters that might make the difference.

The variety and volume goes beyond 2004’s race – which seemed to set a high water mark. I know some folks have speculated that money usually wending its way towards state and national candidates – like Price – has been redirected to more local races. We know between Anderson, Stein, Fox and Baddour there’s $350+ K that went somewhere.

If placement of signs are rough indicators of where candidates think their natural support lies then Republicans, like Acuff and Daniels, must believe particular parts of Chapel Hill – Meadowmont, Southern Village, the eastern edge of Carrboro – are trending conservative.

We’ll see tomorrow.

Before getting tonight’s 14 winks, some advice for any candidates who might’ve read this far (hah!): Enjoy yourself.

A fair and honorable election, stirred by genuine debate, is one of the highest achievements of our culture and our country. Win or lose, if you, your volunteers and supporters have conducted their efforts with the best interest of the community in mind, we all are better for it…

Thank you for running and good luck ;-)!

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