I learned many things from Dan Eldridge as I watched the now Washington County-Mayor elect over the past nine months. His first rule was, “always surround yourself with good people.” I held my breath each time he would say that knowing that I was part of the campaign team. Creating the PR, social media, web site, and special event planning for the Eldridge campaign was perhaps the most arduous task I have undertaken in my career. Every time our committee assembled , I would look around the table and realize the strength of a good team. It took a hard-working group of people with strong roots in the county, the city, and a knowledge of East Tennessee politics to pull off the win. (When we started this campaign many naysayers told us they wouldn’t give us a snowball’s chance in a very hot place of winning!)
Nothing in life is really won alone. A huge thanks to the folks who were on my team from the start. Tim McLeod who designed the web site, Theresa Bellamy who created Dan’s logo, Beth Barrett who helped me with the administration of the campaign, and Kyle Long who helped with video shooting and editing. Kudos to Tina Wilson for her fine photography of Dan and his family.
Dan first came to me last August because he “needed a press release.” In addition to letting him know he was going to need a lot more than just a press release (I shared with him the importance of Facebook, twitter and an online social media presence during our first meeting) I urged him to team with someone with political know-how. That’s when Dan came back with news that my former co-anchor and one time business partner Tony Treadway would be just the right person for the job. Indeed he was. Just as we did years ago anchoring the WJHL-TV 6 and 11 pm news, Tony and I once again collaborated and always had each others’ back. Clarence Mabe and Al and Lori Fatherree were instrumental in their knowledge as treasurers and Kelly Wolfe provided outstanding political insight.
So many people have told me I should write about the campaign that I plan to turn my experiences into a book. I am working on the outline now while it’s still fresh on my mind. Teamwork seems like a good place to start.