Office Politics: Checking out the headquarters of Toledo’s political parties

. October 26, 2016.
trump

Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 4.43.31 PM

Walking into the local headquarters of a political campaign feels like being a spy— no matter which headquarters you visit or what your political affiliation is. You feel like you’re accessing something sort of secretive and weird: this is where “the enemy” sleeps. The offices— all similarly offering a vaguely messy, drab workspace-that-doubles-as-sort-of-living-quarters aesthetic— illuminate a little about the candidates and the party they represent.

On the wall of the dimly-lit Democratic headquarters, a rainbow-colored art piece, crafted out of flowers, reads “Love Trumps Hate.” In the bright, spacious Republican headquarters, a life-sized cutout of Donald Trump stands, adorned by two American flags, welcoming visitors to take a picture “with” the presidential candidate. Toledo’s scrappy and diverse Green Party front line crowded into their small office, demonstrating grassroots hope.

The Republicans have stacks of lawn signs lined up— one of their major issues is the vandalism and theft of these propaganda pieces from the lawns of supporters. It’s perhaps the only issue they share with the Green Party. The Democrats have an assortment of ages and ethnicities working their phones, the Republicans on the day I visit are all lily white. I suspect that is most other days as well.

Here are the pics and deets behind the major politics in Toledo:

Democrats office

Office: 911 Jefferson Ave.

 

Did this used to be a bank?

Did this used to be a bank?

How many other offices in Lucas County?
Three offices in Lucas County (Sylvania, Toledo, W. Toledo). 9-10 in NW Ohio. 60 campaign offices in Ohio.

How many people work here:
Usually 20.

Age range:
Runs the gamut. From high school age to a 95-year-old woman who helps out with voter registration.

Hard at work to get the Hillary name out there.

Hard at work to get the Hillary name out there.

Is everyone from Toledo:
Mostly. There’s a few people from outlying areas like Grand Rapids, a couple from NY & CA.

Do you ever prank the other campaign office?
No.

What do you do after hours?
Pass out. Or go to The Attic for debate watch parties.

Toledo pride.

Toledo pride.

What are you doing for the campaign and how often?
It’s a full-time, 24-hour-a-day job. Assortment of duties from managing the office, organizers, volunteers, operate the phone banks, get canvassing material to put literature out, knock on doors, voter registration in the office, go do voter registration on the streets, organize events, debate watch parties and recruit volunteers.

Clearly, a lot of love went into making this wall piece.

Clearly, a lot of love went into making this wall piece.

Republican office

Office: 323 N. Huron St.

No bouncer, no cover charge!

No bouncer, no cover charge!

How many other offices in Lucas County?
One in Lucas County, two in Wood County.

How many people work here:
Between 8 and 10.

Age range:
It varies— 28-73.

schlub

Trump clearly thinks this guy is doing a good job.

Is everyone from Toledo:

Do you ever prank the other campaign office?
No. We try to keep it professional. We don’t really send anybody over there or anything like that.

What do you do after hours?

signs

Seating isn’t an issue with the Republicans this year.

What are you doing for the campaign and how often?
Extremely busy. Typical day in the office is handing out signs, making signs for the next day, always taking calls, giving voting advice. We deal with complainers and conspiracy theorists writing letters. We get a lot of vandalism, a lot of vandalism of Trump signs. We tell people to bring them in at night. We go door to door offering them, but a lot of people say, “No, they’ll destroy my potted plants.”

Signs are a big theft/vandalism issue for the Republicans AND the Green Party. Perhaps this will be the great unifier between the camps?

Signs are a big theft/vandalism issue for the Republicans AND the Green Party. Perhaps this will be the great unifier between the camps?

Libertarian office

—There is no office in Toledo. Whomp.—

Green Party office

Office: Collingwood Arts Center

gp group

Alyx Kendzierski, Anita Rios, Tanasio Loudermill, Shannon R. Frye, Maysoon Otaibi, Marilyn Bernstein

How many other offices in Lucas County?
This is our only brick and mortar office that is rented specifically for the Green Party. We have moved around a little bit… but this is the only established office in Lucas County.

How many people work here:
Generally one or two in the office, six people is pushing it. There are five or six people on main committee, but as far as campaigning and canvassing, there are about 20-30 core people.

IMG_0137

We don’t know what this sign says, but we dig it.

Age range:
It spans. We cover a wide range, men, women, different religious backgrounds, different ethnic backgrounds. We encompass a wide variety of ages, etc.

Is everyone from Toledo:
Now, not originally necessarily. We are all Toledoans. Several of us can walk (to the office).

Do you ever prank the other campaign office?
Not the offices. We do have some fun banter at the Attic when we run into them. The Attic seems to be a good meeting place for local politicians involved in the different parties. We think it’s unethical to mess with other people’s signs. And illegal.

IMG_0142

When you only have one small office to work with, photos of random “tchotchkes” become very important.

What do you do after hours?
Show up at The Attic with buttons and literature. It’s less formal, just hanging out and talking with people. No formal agenda because “meetings” tend to drive people away with their inherent boredom.

What is being done for the campaign?
Actively canvassing and out campaigning, designing walking routes, setting up meetings in coffee shops and libraries, working phone banks. Capturing the hearts and minds of disillusioned people, recruiting new volunteers, fundraising, finding out what needs people have and help out with that.

IMG_0140

A microwave oven is a luxury when you don’t have a “two party” budget.