Rick Allen shouldn’t have done as well as he did. The medical supply wholesaler didn’t have the money. He didn’t have the establishments’ backing either. He should have, at best, eeked by for a second place finish over Ken DeLoach. The thing is, he didn’t. He came in first.
Allen’s approach to politics was a good, old-fashioned grass roots campaign. With a minimum amount of money, Allen shook the political world.
The evening of July 31st had a friend of mine, a fellow politophile, called me up. “What the heck is going on with Rick Allen?” he asked. It was a valid question. Word was going around that John House was the Republican Party’s choice to challenge Congressman Sanford Bishop. It didn’t matter.
This isn’t Allen’s first rodeo. Two years ago, he ran, falling just short to Mike Keown. This time, he’s shaking up things, and he’s doing it in new ways.
It was shortly after the last race that sources within the Tea Party movement told me that a lot of people were already looking at Rick Allen. “Keown has blown all of his political capital,” the source told me. Allen, however, was still fresh.
This approach Allen took was labor intensive, but high reward. Simply put, Rick Allen has put himself in front of every group of people he could manage. He canvassed door to door. He spoke to every civic group that would let him in to talk…the old stand-by of shaking hands and kissing babies.
The thing is, it worked.
One Allen supporter commented to me that shaking John House’s hand is like shaking the hand of an Army colonel. That kind of makes sense, considering House is a retired colonel. That same supporter said that shaking hands with Allen is like shaking a friend’s hand. When someone is like that, and they shake a lot of hands, that can translate into a lot of votes.
The fact of the matter is that people are notorious for voting for the guy they actually met, provided they like him. Rick Allen is a very likable guy. By meeting thousands of people, he has managed to get a pile of votes. The thing is, he’s done this without all the special interest money. He’s done it without a lot of money from anywhere.
Over the last week, press releases have come in over and over from the Rick Allen campaign of prominent Republicans in the state who are endorsing him. The fact is, Allen may well revolutionize GOP campaigning. The question is, how many candidates have the courage to follow where Rick Allen is leading?
<a href=”http://thealbanyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Tom-Knighton-21.jpg”><img title=”Tom Knighton 2″ src=”http://thealbanyjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Tom-Knighton-21.jpg” alt=”" width=”144″ height=”159″ /></a> <em>Tom Knighton is the Editor and Publisher of the Albany Journal.</em>