Thank You for the Opportunity
This is long, but, if you read until the end, I promise it will be worth it.
I remember touching the imprint of the state seal on my folder on October 4, 2018. I was sitting in a Cole County courtroom listening to Eric Greitens’ lawyer argue about how the public deserved no transparency, how our government can so easily be broken, and how it should stay that way.
I got that folder working as an Assistant Attorney General of Missouri. It witnessed some of the proudest moments of my career, many of which were prefaced with, “Your Honor, I am here on behalf of the People of Missouri.”
I decided in that courtroom to take a shot, to run for Attorney General, to try to fix the brokenness so many of us live every day. And you came with me.
One of the first invitations I got was from Stoddard County. For the next two years, I would travel to 567 more events all over our state and spend a lot more time in courtrooms trying to hold our government accountable.
In the middle of it all, one of our staff members, Darlisa, asked me a question. “What is your number one priority right now? I mean, winning the election….”
“No. I’m not running to win. I’m running to make Missouri better. And when we forget that, whatever the outcome, we’ve already lost.”
You believed that too.
We had a great time. We made campaigning fun. We showed Missouri what this can be, how it can be so meaningful, how it can be real.
That’s how we broke down so many divisions in our state. We had Republicans crossing over to vote Democratic. We had both young and old voting for the first time. We had at least one woman asking for the “ballot with Elad on it.” I know because they are still texting me!!! (It’s OK. You can still text!)
I know some folks will look at this campaign and try to draw conclusions about where our electoral focus should be in Missouri. I ask you not to fall for that trap. Missouri is a special place. We’re in this broken spot because we’ve ignored so many folks who don’t have money or power. Building trust doesn’t happen overnight, especially after years of breaking it. Visit with people. Listen to them. Come with patience and compassion and understanding. And don’t give up.
Almost 200,000 Missourians voted for the kid with a funny sounding name. Just not enough people saw what we built by 7 PM on August 4.
These last two years have meant the world to me. We made Missouri better. And I know we’re not done yet.
On November 3, I’ll be voting for Rich Finneran to be Missouri’s next Attorney General. Until then, I’ll be helping him get there. I met Rich years ago, and, before and even during all of this, I kept volunteering to guest judge his appellate advocacy classes he taught at Wash U. Rich’s students love him for a reason. I hope you get to know him too because he is going to need all the help he can get in the general election. We need a new Attorney General very badly.
I also want you to find a local candidate, someone running for state representative or state senate or county commissioner or school board. I want you to contact them. I want you to ask them why they’re running. And if you like the answer, ask them how you can help. Goodness knows we need you.
Finally, and most importantly, I want you to know who helped pull this all together.
Jessica Lambrecht was the firebrand manager of this campaign. I don’t know what Freddy Doss’s official position was because he would do whatever it took on any given day. I’ve know these two for a very long time. This campaign meant so much to so many of you because it was run by some of the best friends anyone could ask for. They built the most active, responsive, dedicated campaign Missouri has seen in a long time. And they helped other campaigns too all over our state. You need to call them.
Daniel Williams came on board a little later, but he made up for lost time. He responded to an email. Little did he know he would become the volunteer manager for a statewide campaign with A LOT of amazing volunteers. He ran a program that reached out to many hundreds of thousands of people in Missouri. He also adopted his new dog Barney during this campaign, locking up the canine vote at a crucial time. There are few people I’ve met anywhere who work harder than Daniel. Call him too.
Our interns were phenomenal. We wanted this campaign to teach young folks how to be more civically engaged. I asked our interns to lead on making policy, to creating volunteer plans, to taking ownership of our state. In the years to come, you’ll see them fighting in every corner of Missouri.
I realized we weren’t going to pull it off early last night. I wanted to spend the time with them, especially at the moment when the press would eventually call it. Maybe it was the teacher in me. I couldn’t have asked for a better sendoff.
My wife, Tasha, and my mom, Margalit, were always ready to tell me what to do. They were usually right. And now they both have that in writing, along with more free time for my manual labor at two locations in St. Louis City, imagine that.
Our amazing volunteers truly were that. They would walk door-to-door days after surgery, text half the state on their own, call and listen patiently for a chance to get a voter, and do everything humanly possible to improve our state. I’d do anything for them.
To all of our record-number of donors, to all of the folks who endorsed this campaign, to everyone who shared my name with a friend, thank you for believing in me.
There’s nothing I’ll be able to do in my life to repay you all for what you’ve done for me and for our state. You gave your time, your money, your energy. I promise you I’ll keep fighting to make your dedication worthwhile.
Missouri, thank you. I love you…