Crow Wing County Board candidate Mary Koep spent the Saturday before the 2000 election on domestic issues. She cleaned her house, did laundry and baked a spice cake with raisins.
"The truth is, I'm pretty well done," the county commissioner District 3 candidate said of her campaign today. "I'd pretty well wrapped it up. I have to take care of the other parts of my life."
On Sunday she went door-knocking at a few selected areas in Brainerd and Baxter that she had missed in an extensive door-knocking campaign. She started at about 1:30 p.m. and spent about three hours on the last segment of her campaign trail.
"I've made the effort to go to every door in the district," she said. "If there is any place I didn't get to then it's a place I couldn't find."
She said it's impossible for a candidate to make contact with every voter since people are working or taking their children to one activity or another, but she said she made a diligent effort.
"No matter how hard you try you can't," she said.
When district residents were inclined to talk Koep said she discussed issues and asked them questions. She told them she didn't have all the answers.
"Frankly, it's been a very uplifting experience," she said of the door-knocking effort.
While in office, the former board member often remembered a person who called with a problem once they reminded her of where they lived.
Koep has no formal campaign committee or campaign manager.
"I had, I guess, a small group of people who I talked with from time to time to get their advice and their feelings. I've done all the leg work on my own."
She also financed her campaign by herself, accepting no contributions.
"I feel that I owe everyone equally," she said. "I have never taken one penny in a contribution."
This morning she proofed an ad at The Brainerd Dispatch. She's not planning any big party or rally on election night.
"Election time has always been, for me, a really private time," Koep said. "The hoopla and the fanfare are not something that I need."
Sluss busily campaigns
By MIKE O'ROURKE
Last-minute details of a long campaign for the Crow Wing County Board kept Terry Sluss busy last weekend.
Saturday morning started bright and early with a stop at The Brainerd Dispatch to tend to his advertisements, followed by the depositing of campaign contributions, checking campaign signs and placing a few new ones that people had requested.
While working with campaign signs Sluss ran into Baxter Mayor Gary Muehlhausen, another 2000 candidate, and spent a few minutes shooting the breeze with him.
Then Sluss, a candidate to keep his District 3 commissioner seat, started selective door-knocking on new housing developments in Baxter. After lunch, the commissioner returned to door-knock in Brainerd neighborhoods. By 3 p.m. Saturday he wrapped up his door-knocking, went home and contacted his campaign committee members by phone. Sluss continued to work the phones that afternoon, telephoning potential voters. He worked off of a list that he had converted into a computer database that he can call up by age, gender or residential area.
At 6 p.m. Saturday he debriefed campaign manager Larry Kellerman and other committee members by phone. From 7 to 8 p.m. Sluss worked on preparations for a gathering he'll attend at the Black Bear Lodge and Saloon on election night.
After 8 p.m. Saturday Sluss corrected homework assignments and assigned grades for his other job as a teacher. At 9 p.m. he started to finish up lesson preparation for the coming week and completed his campaign finance reports sometime after 10 p.m.
He did no campaigning Sunday morning, reserving that period for spiritual time for himself and realizing that many people were at church during the morning hours.
At noon he distributed the last of his brochures to people who had requested them and spent time in the afternoon calling potential voters. By 3 p.m. Sunday he had finished up some last-minute paperwork regarding an advertisement in The Dispatch, touched base with his campaign workers and wrote thank-you notes.
"My campaign is now over," he said.
He was at work today and was scheduled to attend a county board related meeting tonight with Oak Lawn Township officials.
The demands of campaigning are taxing, he said, especially with his full-time job with the school district and part-time job as a commissioner. He went home sick Friday and slept for almost 12 hours.
"I'm sure it was just plain exhaustion," he said. "It's physically exhausting but it's also quite rewarding.
There is nothing he would have done differently as looked back on the 2000 campaign. He said campaigning was a busy time, but a necessary time.
"Now it's up to the voters," he said.
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