About the Campaign Trail

Candidates for public office either love or hate campaigning for office. They do, however, agree that directly engaging with constituents in their district is key to getting elected. They explain that continuing the relationships with constituents is also key to being a good representative.

The Campaign Trail video uses oral history excerpts from interviews of candidates who ran for office from 1957 to 2020. The compilation provides a wideranging history of campaigning in Oregon. This history includes a variety of campaign formats, strategies, and the importance of participating in our representative democracy.

Some candidates walked doortodoor in an urban district to campaign. Others reminisce on driving a pickup truck to distant farms and ranches in a rural district. No matter the travel method, every former candidate found the experience important. By traveling to voters, they got to meet their candidate in person. Candidates got to hear firsthand what issues were important to their constituents.

In the video, changing technology used in campaigns is explored. Interviewees describe the way of conducting campaigns by handing out business cards and pamphlets directly to people. They then explain the transition of campaigns using computers to analyze what issues were priorities for a district’s constituents. Many of the video’s narrators observe that constituents respect and vote for candidates who are honest and straightforward over knowing every detail about every issue. Each speaker in the video believes strongly in the role of representative democracy in our state and they encourage everyone to consider becoming involved in the process.