In 2009, I began to help my close friend Michael Caldwell run for state house here in Georgia.
The catch: We wanted to run the most accountable, accessible, transparent campaign possible.
This meant no lobbyist funding, no out of state funding (even from family), no funding from PACs or other political campaigns, and self-limiting funding from ourselves.
On top of this, we also were facing an incumbent with none of these restrictions, and tens of thousands of dollars in the bank.
Making the task even more challenging, Michael Caldwell was 20 years old when he began his candidacy.
In 2010, we lost with 45% of the vote in one of the closest elections in the state. Two years later, we decided that our message of accountability and transparency in Government was worth giving another shot.
Last night, Michael Caldwell won in the primary election for House #20 here in Georgia against an 8-year incumbent.
Out of all of this, I am very proud of my close friend and his supporters, but I am most excited about what this means for future elections in Georgia (and perhaps other states as well). We have proven that the stigma of “lobbyist dollars are a necessary evil” wrong. We have shown people that you can be a working citizen legislator, not a career politician. We have created a model for a new kind of campaign that I hope catches on over the coming years.
It should be noted that this wasn’t the victory of one person, but a collaborative effort of thousands of supporters, and many hard-working volunteers. A huge thank you is in order for everyone who helped make this victory possible. This is truly your doing.