Bob Schreiber, the financial professional and environmental activist who just finished a remote second to winner Jim Strickland in the District 5 city council race, says that he nevertheless enjoyed the experience, even the daily grind of going door-to-door to promote his candidacy.
He tells this story: At one house, the occupant who answered his knock, "this lady who was 55 or 60-ish," immediately demanded, "What are you, a Republican or a Democrat?" Schreiber says he told her he tried to be independent, making up his own mind about issues, regardless of party considerations.
The woman was skeptical and responded tersely, according to Schreiber. "She said, 'I am a Republican, and I never in my life voted for a Democrat! What's more, I early-voted, and I didn't vote for you!' Just like that. So I said, 'Well, who did you vote for?'"
Schreiber says the woman immediately answered: "David Kustoff told me who to vote for." and that he responded, "Did you by any chance vote for Jim Strickland?" to which the voter replied with a satisfied nod and the firm answer, "Yes!" He waited a beat and then said, "Do you realize you just voted for the past chairman of the Democratic Party?"
The woman, said Schreiber, responded with open-mouthed shock, as if she'd swallowed poison unknowingly.
As it happens, Strickland, who indeed was chairman of the Shelby County Democrats a decade or so back, is the law partner of Kustoff, a former Republican chairman who, as a Bush appointee, is serving these days as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.
And, for the record, Strickland clearly had ample support across party lines, polling 73 percent of the District 5 vote.