The crowd of volunteers at Stephanie Murphy‘s headquarters on Orange Avenue was small, but her campaign manager, Brad Howard, offered an explanation — they were out canvassing for one final, manic and energized push before Tuesday’s election results come tumbling in.
Because Murphy’s campaign, as was repeated multiple times at Monday evening’s rally, is important on a national level.
“We are neck and neck,” she said of herself and opponent John Mica. “The nation is watching us.”
Both Howard and Murphy herself drew parallels between her campaign and Mica’s, and they were of a similar stripe to those drawn in the presidential campaign, with the question being: do we move forward or backward? Murphy posited herself as the clear alternative for those who want a change from Mica’s 20-year history of conservative voting for the area.
Howard said he met Murphy at the Democratic National Convention and, as the Pulse nightclub shooting was a fresh wound at the time, he was surprised what a breath of fresh air she would be if elected.
Both, too, stressed the importance of the campaign and how all eyes were on them — the race, they said, was of nationwide importance, and it was tight right down to the end, both candidates neck and neck.
“Nobody thought I could do this,” Murphy said, thanking the small but warm crowd of volunteers from the bottom of her heart. “I’ve been asked, ‘did anyone doubt you?’ Everyone who loved me said ‘don’t do this to yourself.’”
The crowd laughed at that.
She continued, saying her campaign had seen incredible momentum, and the feedback she heard indicated a community that wanted change. The rhetoric was similar to that of the election at large — people wanted change, and the country wasn’t as it should be, with the only variance being in what way the change needed to come.
The change Murphy wants comes in the form of equality for all, she reiterated to her followers, who didn’t need to hear the message but appeared reinvigorated by it anyway.
“The America I know, and the values I know, are at stake here,” she said. “We have people now who are talking in a way that is divisive and dark. It’s not the future I want for my children. This is about principle. I’ll represent everyone in my district, not just those who benefit from big developments, not just those who you see at the country club.”
She said through their canvassing and phone calls, she had discovered people are looking for a candidate who will do his or her best in Washington and also represent the best in the people themselves.
“That’s the piece we’ve been missing, I think,” she said, referring to the latter piece.
Then she let them go, for they still had another frenzied night’s worth of last-minute canvassing and phone-banking to do before those final polls opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday.