The age of the internet makes the world a much more accessible, if not smaller, place. While Americans living in Israel have the right to vote, there is even more that we can do. I have the privilege of engaging with the critical Senate races, together with a team of talented Americans living in Israel – and including some friends in the US as well – working with Rebublicans Abroad Israel and others, to raise our voices and speak out with a personal investment in what happens in the Middle East. For months we’ve engaged, and now I’m touching base with the campaigns on the ground. Join me as I share impressions from the road, with our ‘boots on the ground’ virtually and literally.
Battleground: North Carolina
Senator Kay Hagan isn’t the most popular politician in North Carolina, but she sure is spending alot of money to defeat her opponent, Thom Tillis. Thom’s a nice guy, a smart speaker who gets to the point and knows how to connect with everyone he comes across. His campaign is tireless, efficient and well run. He seems to play host constantly to a slew of Senators who stand at his side and encourage voters.
John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC) spent a national-security-oriented day chock full of events with Tillis – meeting veterans who encouraged the G.I. bill, seeing race car technology injected into jeeps built for military service to serve in Afghanistan (really cool, photos after elections!), and all around it was a macho, foreign policy day.
Volunteers are aplenty. Serious adults with good jobs and family life show up nightly to make phone calls at the Republican Victory Centers in each county. The atmosphere is electric, free snacks and friendly banter interrupt the sound of call after call, encouraging targeted voters to go to the polls on Tuesday to ensure a Senate win for Thom Tillis.
Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) and NC Congressman Mark Meadows are canvassing the state on behalf of Tillis, holding events even without Tillis present. Breakfast at a diner with the pledge of allegiance and a prayer for success are a recipe for victory in this southern state. By the way, Debbie and Mark Meadows are two of the most committed people I have met, having helped when the boys were kidnapped and with constant legislative efforts for Israel. Truly ‘ask not what your country can do for you..’
A note on Susan Tillis, Thom’s wife – her poise and Carolinan elegance surely add to the fundraising efforts that have been so key to this battle. As the campaign crosses and recrosses this state with its spread out population, Susan’s energy stays high. They say the key to a good man is the woman behind him – in this case that surely seems true. I’d like to see some more women out in front, but we’ll have to wait for that ’til Iowa (stay tuned).
Thoughts on the road: I have to admit, the city of Charlotte charmed me. Standing on a street corner marveling at the Native American historic crossroads, map in hand, a local woman stopped to offer guidance. Small art galleries call out for attention, and this banking industry leader is clearly on the rise. Still, take me back to nature for a real thrill. Lake Norman is just gorgeous, well worth a detour between the Blue Ridge in the west to the sandy shores of the eastern seaboard.