As Election Day draws near and politicians step up their efforts to reach the wavering voter, one candidate for state Senate is trying something different.
Republican candidate Wendy Rogers of District 17 has been riding her bike door-to-door six days a week since June 2009.
“I’m riding a bike so I can reach as many voters as possible,” Rogers said.
She said she’s been to 10,000 homes in the 69 precincts in south Scottsdale and Tempe that make up District 17.
Biking in the extreme heat of the Arizona summer seems to be a metaphor for the hard-working personality that Rogers champions. She is a retired Air Force pilot, owns a Tempe franchise of HouseMaster Home & Termite Inspection with her husband and has raised two children who have earned scholarships to attend ASU.
Rogers said her main goal in visiting every home in her district is to form a connection with voters regardless of their political affiliations or ability to vote.
“People yearn for the personal touch,” Rogers said. “People are frustrated with the shouting and the finger pointing and the strident tone.”
Rogers makes a clear effort to create that connection. She gives each person her business card with her cell phone number so they have a direct line of contact. She also keeps a thorough database composed of each person she’s met and sends them a thank-you postcard the following day.
Lois Fitch, a precinct committeeman in District 17 and an active supporter of Rogers, said the Republican candidate is an “energizer bunny” and that her personal contact with voters has made all the difference in gaining the support of voters.
“I have a thing I used to say,” said Fitch, who used to run political campaigns. “He who walks wins, but in her case, it’s she who bikes wins.”
Roger’s bike is 22 years old, older than her youngest child, Emily Kunnen, a marketing and German junior at Barrett, the Honors College.
Kunnen said she and her older brother George, a first-year electrical engineering graduate student at the Flexible Display center, used to be driven around on the back of the bike that her mother now uses to campaign with.
She said she’s been on the campaign trail with her mom and has seen firsthand how people get excited about Rogers’ efforts.
“Even people that don’t agree with her politically can appreciate the hard day’s work that she’s put in,” Kunnen said.
Reach the reporter at svaltier@asu,edu