If we met in the early years of this century, you may wonder how an establishment Republican major donor fundraiser became a Tea Party conservative.
I was tired of staying in my lane while our candidates put up loss after loss, despite record fundraising. I was tired of Republicans saying they wanted limited government, and then voting for a lot more government. I was tired of being told “we only hire our friends” or “we don’t play in primaries” when all that got us was a lot more cookie cutter and a lot less authentic emotion.
So when I heard JennyBeth Martin for the first time in 2009, shortly after Rick Santelli’s CNBC rant, I knew this was the moment I’d been waiting for. (Not just a conservative, not just a fire breather, but a woman. Someone who looked like me.)
It was time to play full court press. Play like every day is the last play of the game. Let’s push people on their principles, even in primary campaigns, especially in primary campaigns.
At that particular moment, few people wanted to play in that niche. It seemed like a passing trend, and maybe a little dangerous.
Well, I wanted it. So CampaignHQ would be the Best Conservative Call Center in America.
2010 was a transition year for CHQ. Several key players who would build the foundation for what was to come joined us that year. Marlys De Witt Popma, Trevor Dodds, and Staci Shepard.
Marlys had been the Campaign Manager for a candidate for Governor who left the race shortly after Terry Branstad announced he was in. A key person on our staff had just quit and we were looking to fill the gap. But the notion that THE Marlys Popma would fill that gap (and more) #CHQ seemed outlandish.
Chad Foster and I giggled like little girls when I told him my big idea and read him the script of what I’d say when I called. But lo and behold in January 2010, she showed up for work and a new chapter began. When we hired Marlys, we didn’t have a place for her desk. So I moved out of my office into the vending machine closet, and my office was split in two so she’d have a space.
Trevor and Staci started on the call floor with amazing talent. We didn’t have assigned seats for everyone, and the day Trevor got a desk of his own (actually a $29.99 coffee cart from Wal-Mart) was a milestone. It was … as we like to call it… “Toilet Adjacent.”
#700EastPleasant was getting overcrowded.