Loretta Nall's 2006 Year in Review
2006 has drawn to a close and, as always, it is time to reflect on the year gone by, examine progress and look at the plans for the upcoming year.
I want to thank each and every one of you for the support you gave to me and my family during my recent campaign for Governor of Alabama. I would never have made it as far as I did without you and your wonderful emails, letters, phone calls, in person declarations of support and your money. You provided me with constant inspiration for this very hard and often trying work.
Politics is nasty business. Blood sport. My political issues of choice are not your average candidates issues of choice and my style is not that of the everyday politican, especially in a place like Alabama.
Normally, candidates like me are ignored by the media during campaigns even when we have ballot access and when the media does decide to cover third party candidates they do not generally do so in a positive light. But this time, even without ballot access, the media followed through with me to the end. Granted, not all of my media coverage was positive...but it wasn't negative either. It was more a matter of tone and seriousness than negative coverage. Without you out there writing letters to newspapers, posting about my campaign on your blogs, calling TV and talk radio stations and asking for fair coverage of your candidate, the media would likely not have paid much attention.
I want to take a look back at some of the major things that happened, what we gained with my candidacy and where we go from here.
Not ever having run for office before I didn't know what to expect. I am just an average person with no prior political experience. I didn't have and knew I couldn't raise anywhere near the amounts of money my opponents had. I worried in the beginning that I might fail in my effort to see it through to the end. How nasty would it get? Will I be able to handle it with wit and grace? Will it be worth it in the end? I remember thinking, "Oh man, what have I done?", after hitting the send button on my first news release announcing my run for Governor and quickly and enthusiastically embracing the next realization of "Well, it's done now...put me in coach, I'm ready to play."
So many different things happened during the campaign that I didn't really expect to happen. I guess the most surprising thing is that people from across the political spectrum paid attention. Their reasons for doing so are probably as diverse as they themselves are. Maybe people cared about the issues and wanted to help. Maybe they despised the issues and wanted to impede progress. Maybe they were simply fascinated that a woman in Alabama had the courage to address issues like REAL drug policy reform, prison reform, equal rights for the LGBT community, getting out of the Iraq war, getting the federal government out of public education and any other controversial issues that I covered in my campaign. Maybe some tuned in for the humor alone.I am sure some were laughing with me and some were laughing at me, but the important thing is that they were laughing and laughter is good.
I got invites to speak from the VFW to the Rotary Club, from the PTA convention to the African American Mayors Conference, from the Kiwanis Club to the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.
As of now, two months after the election, there is still no conclusive ending to the story. Some of the votes cast for me were not counted while others were, so we will never have an accurate vote count. Sure, I didn't win the Governors seat...but I never expected to and I don't believe that any of the people voting for me thought that I would win....at least not this go round. This wasn't meant to be an ending though as it is only the beginning of my political career.
Here is what I gained by running for Governor of Alabama.
1. A large network of Alabama citizens motivated enough to go to the polls and physically write my name in on the ballot. Many of these same people will now be helping me on the Compassionate Care Act, the push for less restrictive ballot access laws (this has been a particularly hot issue in all of Alabama's major newspapers just recently) and my possible 2008 campaign against Congressman Mike Rogers of Alabama's third district.
2. I also gained the respect of the Alabama media and met many new people in the national media. The huge role that the Alabama media and, near the end the national media, played in my campaign would be very hard to put a dollar figure on.
3. I was respected by those who heard me speak even if they disagreed with what I had to say.
4. I gained name recognition for my future political expoloits.
5. I tried to un-demonize the average pot smoker to the average non-pot smoking citizen. I put a human face on someone who smokes pot and lives a normal life. I tried to help people understand that people who smoke pot aren't a threat to anyone, we are not out to rob you, steal from you, pollute your children or otherwise cause harm to the fabric of society.
I tried to help people understand that me smoking a joint in the privacy of my own home is not a problem until the police kick in my door, terrorize my family, haul me through the courts and to jail and put it all on the taxpayers tab. I tried to show that pot smokers are not hard core drug addicts, that 99.98 percent of us never go on to become heroin or crack addicts, despite what the federal and local governments tell you. I tried to show that we are basically regular people who live next door to you, work with you, maybe go to church with you, maybe even your own flesh and blood, and that you should not fear us. The truth is everyone knows someone who smokes pot whether they know it or not.
6. The most important thing is that I ran and that I brought issues like drug policy reform to the front and center of politics in Alabama. My message was delivered to millions of Alabamians through every available media outlet. I planted seeds in peoples' minds all across the state and I am certian some of them will sprout and grow into thriving community activists and future elected officials and that will help move the state of Alabama forward.
Here is a month by month recap of the campaign beginning in October of 2005.
Marijuana Advocate Joins Governor's Race
Nall Enters Alabama Governors Race
Don Markwell Show
Nall and Libertarians in Joint Venture
Tuscaloosa News LTE
Tuscaloosa News LTE Response
Marijuana Head Seeks Governors Office
Local Hopes Run Will Influence Candidates
The Kevin Elkins Show
Get to Know your 2006 Candidates
Montgomery Advertiser Editorial Recommending Decrim
Decatur Daily Editorial on Treatment instead of incarceration
Birmingham News Editorial on Treatment instead of incarceration
The Times Daily Editorial on Prison Overcrowding and Treatment instead of Incarceration
Guest on 90.7 FM
Was a very slow month. No media or events for the entire month.
For the Record
Election Buzz Heating Up
First Campaign Stump Speech at the Wetumpka VFW
Feedback from the first speech
Pot Bust Lights Fire Under State Candidate
Nall to Address National African-American Mayors Association
Video of Address at National African-American Mayors Association
The Great Boob Flap Begins
My Reponse to the Men Who Started the Boob Discussion
Meet the Twins Letter Printed in Montgomery Independent
A Life of Its Own
Colorful Contenders in Governors Race
More of These Boobs and Less of These Boobs
Nall Still Running, Maintains Innocence
For the Record Nomination COverage
WAKA Channel 8 Nomination Coverage
Woman Heads Libertarian Ticket
Nall on Channel 8 TalkBack Video
Libertarians Make it Official
Nall More Excited Than the Lt. Governor about Campaign
Video of Nall's Addresses State PTA Convention
Huntsville Times Coverage: Candidates Share ideas on Schools, Criminals, Taxes
Nall A Guest on Atlanta's 96 Rock
Ten Commandments Judge Trails in Race for Governor
Alabama Gubernatorial Hopeful Flashes for Cash
Nall on Free Talk Live
Boobs, Panties & Coourage; How Honest Elections Could Change Alabama
Nall on Alan Colmes Show
Nall on Joe & The Poor Boy
Nall Makes Top 10 at Technorati
Nall on WRMN and Freedomworks Radio
Columbia Journalism Review Coverage
Loretta Nall on Cultural Baggage
Nall Opposes National Guard Troops on Mexican Border
More or Less
MSNBC Coverage of FLash for Cash Campaign
Nall on WRJM Wiregrass Radio
Kim Hendrix Interviews Loretta Nall & Joe Copeland
Tuskegee Sheriff's Candidates, "Nall Right on Drug Policy"
Drug Policy Reformers Take Third Party Path in Bids for State Office
Ballot Access War...The Final Battle
Nall. "I'm Not Dropping Out"
Nall on For the Record Primary Election Night Coverage
Hoover Metro Kiwanis Club Recap
More Supporter LTE's
Nall Launches Campaign Radio Ads
Lower than Dogs
Women's Rights & Jericho Horns
Nall Looks to Ride Colorful Campaign
Nall Speaks at Birmingham Peace Rally
For the Record on Womens Rights
Nall on Head On Radio with Bob Kincaid
Loretta Nall on WAUD Auburn
Drug Policy Discussion on For the Record
Candidate Due Spot in Debate
State Law Creates Roadblock to Ballot Access
Montgomery Advertiser Editorial: Ballot Access Far Too Limited
Nall Polled in Survey
Nall Heads Back to COurt
Not Being in Jail is Cool
Unfair Rules Block Good Candidates
My First Vote
Nall Registers Ex-Felons to Vote...Addresses NAACP State Convention
Nall Addresses Birmingham Sunrise ROtary Club
Candidates Get Face Time
USA Today: "Vote Nall Y'all...She's Smokin'!
Alabama Gubernatorial Hopeful Campaigns on Cleavage
Feedback on the Twins
National Media Storm Begins
The Slippery Nipple
Nall on Fox & Friends
Loretta Nall #1 on Countdown with Keith Olbermann
Candidate Talks Issues, Not Good Looks
Nall on NBC 13 News (no video uploaded for this one yet)
Political Levity a Good Thing
Nall Endorsed by Talk Left
WAKA and WVTM Coverage
Nall's Campaign Ads Named "Most Honest" by Brandweek magazine
Nall Answers Debate Questions
NOW Takes Stand on State Issues
Bob Ingram You are Still invited to my Inaugural Ball
Birmingham Black & White Publishers Notebook
The Race for Montgomery Heats Up
Fun Alternative News Interviews
Nall Best Qualified Candidate
Nall on Good Morning America
Nall CBS Radio Interview
Nall on For the Record
Back to the Grind
Mobile Sees Spike in Write-in Voting
Voters Deserve Right to Write-In
Some Preliminary Vote Totals
Elections Officials Complain About Having to Count Write-in Votes
Put Your Big Girl Panties on and Deal With It!
Citizens Respond to Call for Ban on Write-in Voting
Don't Limit Access to Get on Ballot
Shouldn't charge fee for Write-ins
Ballot Access laws are the Real problem
Ballot Access in Alabama
Ballot Rules Too Restrictive
Alabama Voters Need More Choices
Write-in Votes Often Good for Chuckle
Well folks, there you have the majority of the last 15 months of my life in print, audio and video.
Nothing about the campaign was negative nor does any of it leave a bad taste in my mouth. Quite the opposite actually. The overall experience was incredibly positive. Despite being a write-in candidate I enjoyed widespread media coverage in print, radio and TV long before the unintended 'boobs' bruhaha near the end of he campaign. I've come to the conclusion that every politician is intimately familar with the principles of addiction . It doesn't necessairily have to be a 'substance' that one is addicted to. I can't wait to run again.
Despite what the numbers say, I won. No, not the governors seat...but I think we all knew that was the longest of long shots and no one was surprised by that outcome. I am not convinced we will ever know the actual number of votes I received, what with the poll workers deciding which votes to count and which votes to simply discard, but even that is a victory. By spotlighting the fact that apparently not everyone's vote counts I have brought it to the attention of voters who are very unhappy about it. That unhappiness is fertile breeding ground for political action and political action breeds political change. My campaign also has brought light to the larger and more critical issue of Alabama's horrible ballot access laws and has given me a base of people, which I can and will organize to carry out the political actions that breed political change. Look for a bill addressing ballot access laws in the upcoming legislative session as well as a bill on medical marijuana.
In closing and trying to sum up all of the things that I feel and that happened during this campaign I have this to say, when I was a kid I always wanted to be a rock star and running for Governor in Alabama was what I imagine being a rock star is like. For 15 months I got to be a thorn in the ass of the prohibitionist establishment in the most oppressive state in the nation and I got the media to cover it all the way down the line. I had an absolute ball. How often in ones life does the opportunity to thoroughly mock the establishment, and in Alabama no less, on such a grand public scale, knock on the door? Not often.
I'll see you at the State House during the upcoming legislative session and around Alabama as I prepare to educate the public, the media and elected officials about the issue of medical marijuana in Alabama.
I owe a very special thanks to some very special individuals who helped me in some way during the campaign.
Members of the Media
Tim Lennox at For the Record. Throughout the campaign Tim Lennox was ethical enough in his journalism to include my activities despite my not having ballot access. He inserted me into many roundtable discussions and newscasts, exchanged emails with me and had me on the show near the end of the election. FTR is my favorite news show in Alabama and having Tim be so helpful was priceless.
Phil Rawls and Robb Carr at the Associated Press. Phil was always fair, enjoyed my sense of humor and captured it well in his articles, and did not leave me out of his experienced political coverage even though he very well could have. Phil also offered me tips he had collected from his many years covering politics in Alabama. It was always sage advice. I can't thank him enough. He did the first and last major articles on my campaign and his last one launched me into the international spotlight. Robb Carr took great photos of me throughout the campaign for various AP articles and was just delightful to be around. I'll miss them between now and the next run for office. They added to the fun factor for this election.
Monica Allen, Stephanie Hicks, Chris Bailey, Jabari Pruitt and the whole gang at WAKA Channel 8 in Montgomery. Channel 8 provided more in-depth coverage of my campaign than any other major network channel in the state. I always had an absolute ball everytime I would go in to be a guest on TalkBack Live and everyone at Channel 8 treated me like an old friend.
Editor Bob Martin at the Montgomery Independent and Bob Ingram, the syndicated political columnist, for noticing that I have boobies and proceeding to alert everyone else to that fact. Without their help I probably never would have been covered in the national and international media. With their help I was second only to the Governator (Arnold S. in Cali)in national media coverage of gubernatorial campaigns. Also, I would never have made as much money as I did on the "More Boobs" merchandise. So thanks y'all for making me a star even though I am almost certain that was not your intent.
To the bloggerhood
Many thanks are owed to the Alabama Bloggerhood
BlueGal and Dr. IQ were absolutely indispensable in getting the bloggerhood buzzing with the boob story. At one time there were 109,000 posts about me in one day on blogs across the globe. I would also like to thank the following bloggers for their coverage, endorsements and support....in no particular order
Bitter Old Punk
Politics in Alabama
Between the Links
The Alabama Libertarian Party
Without the help and encouragement of the LPA over the course of the last four years I might never have made the plunge. A special thanks to Mike Rster and his beautiful wife Mia, Sarah Wires, Mark Bodenhausen, Dick Clark, John Sophecleus, Mark Thornton, Jim Greenleaf, Paul Frankel and Steve and Deborah Gordon. I love you all.
And finally thanks again to all of my supporters, fans and friends. I hope that my candidacy made you proud and inspired you to run for office yourself or, at the very least, to become more involved in politics. Remember, politics is the art of controlling your environment and if you want to have some say in the laws by which you will be governed then you have to participate in their creation and passage.