Allen County Councilwoman Sharon Tucker canvassing in New Haven, Indiana; Sharon Tucker (left), campaign volunteer (left), and Adams County Trustee Candidate Denita Washington (right) before canvassing
“I don’t want to go too late,” said Allen County Councilwoman Sharon Tucker (D-1st) to a group of campaign volunteers on July 26, 2018, about canvasing door-to-door in Fort Wayne and New Haven-city neighborhoods.
The group was a combination of volunteers for Tucker and, in her first campaign, Denita Bell Washington, who is running for Adams Township Trustee. The combined campaigning served as an informal “training” for the rookie Washington.
“Denita has been great at getting a lot of people to walk, and I, of course, I can run all of the information we need,” Tucker said.
Overlapping of canvassing areas also necessitated the joint effort, but eventually the campaigns will go their separate ways once exploration leads beyond Washington’s voting population.
The group that canvassed twice a week at the end of July will increase its frequency closer to the election and will also, according to Tucker, decrease in size. “The interest will fade. Some people will come back,” Tucker said.
“This [election] has a significant level of importance because it will be my first re-election,” Tucker said. “For the last three terms that someone has held this office, they’ve only been able to hold onto it one time.”
Before the crowd dispersed with their assignments, Tucker put out 7:15 P.M. as their start-to-return time. She advised caution when canvassing, particularly in New Haven, asking the assembled if anyone has issues, because of our current political climate, with working in the neighboring city.
“I’ve been told to get off my porch n-word. I’ve been told ‘we don’t want you here,” said Tucker, who does not mind canvassing alone. Candidates are protected by a special law when canvassing but that’s not exactly common knowledge.
“I’m not going to lie, it can be hurtful,” Tucker said. “The majority of people have been very kind. I have lots of friends who live in the New Haven area, both black and white.”
But Donald Trump is president. “Because of the political situation with our current president, people have become embolden to be disrespectful to each other.”
During her canvas walk, Tucker approached six houses on one block; she only spoke with two residents, including the director of an autism agency with a Master’s degree, who met the candidate in his just chillin’ clothes. “It’s best not to judge people,” Tucker said, when canvassing.
An empty trash can still out on the curb signifies that the home owner isn’t there, according to Tucker, who would place campaign literature in a door frame or door handle. (Leaflets cannot be placed in mailboxes.)
When she addressed a resident, after introducing herself as a candidate, she encouraged voter turnout. “The position that I hold is a financial position. The county council is all the county money,” Tucker said. “You can only talk about taxes and money for so long.”
She admitted that she can be very conservative in terms of how county money is spent. “I can challenge from a different angle,” Tucker said. “And in my challenge, it might come out that [my solution] can be more conservative than some of the conservatives that are there.”
Tucker’s presence added diversity to the council, “not by race or sex but by thought,” she said.