https://www.theepochtimes.com/everyday-folk-learn-art-of-political-canvassing-at-arizona-campaign-rally_4804300.html

PHOENIX, Ariz.—The morning forecast called for rain, and maybe a few doors slammed in his face, but Philip Ouellette of Phoenix was ready for anything.

With a handful of campaign literature, an “Lake for Arizona” flashing shirt pin, and an infectious smile, Ouellette felt primed to knock on a few doors and would hope for the best.

“We typically look for independents or homes with a Democrat and a Republican in it,” Oue llette, a volunteer canvasser for the Kari Lake for Governor campaign, told The Epoch Times.

“You get some pushback. I’m running about two-to-one in favor of Kari.”

Philip Ouellette of Phoenix, Ariz., went knocking on doors on Oct 15 to support Republican candidate for governor Kari Lake. (Allan Stein/The Epoch Times)

Ouellette was among a large group of canvassers at a pep rally at Longview Park in Phoenix on Oct. 15.

The volunteers had all the tools they needed: campaign T-shirts, stickers, flyers, and a list of instructions on how to engage prospective voters.

“Hopefully, we get to see the young people in our campaign,” said Matthew Martinez, 21, state director for the Kari Lake campaign.

He said many young people in leading positions make the campaign “unique.”

“It’s unorthodox, but in a good way. I’m managing people much older than me. You typically see people who have been in campaigns for 30 or 40 years managing young people. Now, you see young people managing all the people.”

And it’s an inclusive effort, Martinez said.

There are Latino, African-American, and Jewish volunteers—moms, dads, and siblings.

Excitement Building

“It’s amazing how many people who have come into this campaign are excited for this candidate. The objective is to ensure we have literature, snacks, water to go out and knock on some doors [and] talk to Arizonans.”

Whether Democrat or Republican, the goal of political canvassing is building relationships and listening to the needs of voters, said Ouellette, who has gone knocking on 30 to 40 doors every Saturday since July.

To achieve that goal, you must be open-minded and willing to talk to voters, hear them out, and ensure they’re registered to vote in the Nov. 8 general election.

“It is so awesome. Things are just kicking in,” Ouellette said.

Ouellette said nobody answers the door about 90 percent of the time. And not every contact is positive.

“Oh, yeah. Last weekend I got one guy—well, I don’t want to go into what he said,” Ouellette said, laughing. “But it was not civil.

“I try not to be reactive. If I can’t convince you to agree with me,” there’s no point in continuing the conversation.

Epoch Times Photo
Sandy Youkhana of Peoria, Ariz., holds a campaign sign before she and dozens of other canvassers went knocking on doors in Phoenix on Oct. 15, 2022. (Allan Stein/The Epoch Times)

Ouellette views the 2022 elections as pivotal when “half the country is attacking the other half nonstop.”

“We’re in a culture war, and we need to make changes, or it could turn into a real one,” he said.

For lack of a better term—a civil war.

Ouellette said he still believes in the electoral system for all the nation’s flaws and failings under President Joe Biden.

“I’m seeing a reaction from the Democrats now. They’re going, ‘Oh, you know, I didn’t sign up for this.’”

“I was a registered Democrat for about 10 years of my life. I voted for Hillary. I voted for Obama. At the time, I was anti-war. I just saw the Republicans pushing war.”

Culture Wars

He sees the opposite happening now.

“The leftists are against free speech and for war. And they’ve taken over all the organs of power. What happened to our country? You don’t get to ram your ideas down everybody’s throat.”

However, Ouellette said he sees a “tremendous opportunity” for Republicans to win state and federal races in the growing defections from the Democratic Party.

Most notably was former Hawaii state Rep. Tulsi Gabbard over what she views as a “cabal of warmongers” leading the Democratic Party.

Gabbard will be in Chandler, Arizona, on Oct. 18 to support a slate of Trump-endorsed Arizona Republican candidates.

Speakers for the Lake campaign at Saturday’s rally cautioned that as Arizona goes, so goes the nation.

Each race in Arizona is critical and will come right through central Phoenix—ground zero for state electoral politics. The winners will write Arizona’s political, economic, and cultural legislation for years.

“You have much to talk about [knocking on] doors today. There’s so much to talk about,” said one speaker.

Sandy Youkhana of Peoria, Arizona, toting a Kari Lake sign, said she anticipates a “red wave as we’ve never seen before—especially in Arizona.”

“People are excited. So many people—even Democrats—are tired of the same rhetoric. They want something new to the table,” Youkhana told The Epoch Times.

“We Arizonans stick together. We’re humble, good, hard-working people. We all want the same thing: to take care of our families.”

Allan Stein

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Allan Stein is an Epoch Times reporter who covers the state of Arizona.

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