Discussion of news topics with a point of view, including narratives by individuals regarding their own experiences

Earlier this month, we published the 30-day diary of Tabitha Johnson-Greene, a Democratic candidate in Georgia’s 10th Congressional District who is one of the record number of Black women running for Congress this year. As Election Day nears, we wanted more female congressional candidates to let us into what their lives are like in the days leading up to the election.

Two weeks ago, three women signed on to write diaries: Alexis Martinez Johnson, a Republican candidate running in New Mexico’s 3rd District; Adia Winfrey, a Democrat running in Alabama’s 3rd District; and Lavern Spicer, a Republican running in Florida’s 24th District. Read them below.

Alexis Martinez Johnson is an engineer and mother who was born and raised in New Mexico. The Republican is running in the state’s 3rd District.

Day 1

Oct. 16

Today, I traveled to Las Vegas, N.M., and met with local members of the community to ask for their vote. I also went to the campaign office to make donor calls. Then, I returned to home to make dinner for my children and husband.

Day 2

Oct. 17

I traveled from Las Vegas to Rio Rancho, N.M., which was 2.5 hours away. I called the children and my husband to see how they were doing. There, I met with supporters and passed out yard signs. We met with Al Hurricane Jr., known in the area as a music icon. I was able to see my father, a Vietnam veteran, and then went door-knocking in Albuquerque. I traveled 2.5 hours home to be with my family.

Posing with a campaign sign. (Courtesy of Alexis Martinez Johnson)
Posing with a campaign sign. (Courtesy of Alexis Martinez Johnson)

Day 3

Oct. 18

I met with the local KFUN radio stations. My two children, Casandra, 8, and Conrad, 5, were with me listening and taking notes about their field trip at the radio station while a journalist took notes as well. Then, we went on an excursion as the journalist shadowed us and interviewed me. I took the children to play at Storrie Lake. My daughter brought me a handful of clams, and we headed back to our house to feed our cattle. Today, the Albuquerque Journal also published, “Johnson embraces role of underdog.”

Day 4

Oct. 19

I had a morning interview in Española, N.M., with radio station KDCE.

Day 5

Oct. 20

I worked on lesson plans for the children and played soccer outside. After putting the younger children down for a nap, I headed to the campaign office to make donor calls.

Day 6

Oct. 21

I visited the Santa Fe office and met with supporters. I also called the family to check in and see if there was anything I needed to bring to the ranch.

Day 7

Oct. 22

I met with local Spanish cultural and heritage members, who discussed the recent controversial takedown of a religious monument.

Day 8

Oct. 23

It was an office day in Las Vegas, N.M.

Day 9

Oct. 24

It was another office day in Gallup, N.M., in Navajo Nation. I met with members of Navajo Nation and the surrounding community. I didn’t get home until late at night, when the children were getting ready for bed.

Day 10

Oct. 25

I cleaned today and prepared meals for the children, then headed to the office in Las Vegas. I had a Zoom meeting with the former governor of the Laguna Pueblo Tribe.

Day 11

Oct. 26

I cleaned the home and prepared meals for the children as well as made sure the weekly campaign schedule was set. I made donor calls and called voters of all parties to make sure they know when and how to vote.

Day 12

Oct. 27

An early rise this morning to prepare breakfast for the family. I home-schooled the children: Spanish story time, music time, art. I also taught the older children their math. And then I prepared meals for the day.

A photo on my ranch. (Courtesy of Alexis Martinez Johnson)
A photo on my ranch. (Courtesy of Alexis Martinez Johnson)

Day 13

Oct. 28

I woke up just before sunrise in northern New Mexico, where there was snowfall in the area.

Day 14

Oct. 29

The campaign team started work at 8 a.m. in Farmington, N.M., which neighbors the Navajo Nation. We stopped in at KENN radio station, where I discussed concerns in the community regarding education in Navajo Nation and oil and gas operations in this area of the state, where there is a lot of natural gas. Extreme environmental regulations have recently shut down neighboring coal plants, putting many residents out of jobs.

Adia Winfrey, also known as Dr. Dia, is running in Alabama’s 3rd District. The Democrat is a doctor of psychology, author and mother of four.

Day 1

Oct. 14

So much is happening in politics right now, and as a Democratic nominee for Congress, I am just as fed up as everyday Americans. Money and power seem to be at the heart of everything our nation was built on. Today was one of those days when I wanted to really let it fly on Twitter and scream, “Politics sucks.” But then, hopeful me took back over and grabbed the reins. Hopeful me reminded myself of the power of the people and the importance of every vote. It’s time for sweeping change and that change can only come through bold people moving with faith and in unison, and my pity party will not serve this bigger purpose.

My robocalls went out today, and I’ve heard from several excited people who got the call. And when I was at the bank drive-through, a customer in another lane saw my car magnets and excitedly introduced themselves. I invited him to our meet and greet tomorrow and thanked him for his support. I also picked up my next batch of campaign chips which included a new custom design. It’s time to turn up, not throw my hands up!

Day 2

Oct. 15

Today was full of activity and love on Team Winfrey! It was my campaign manager’s 32nd birthday and our final push, Winfrey For the Win Meet and Greet in my hometown of Talladega.

My mother talked about watching and participating in the civil rights movement happening here in Talladega as a girl and young woman, and how it ties into the 2020 election. One of my guests drove all the way from Atlanta to come out and support! It was a beautiful night, and I truly needed it.

A selfie with my daughter, Ameerah. (Courtesy of Adia Winfrey)
A selfie with my daughter, Ameerah. (Courtesy of Adia Winfrey)

Day 3

Oct. 16

Today, the Alabama Democratic Party selected me as the spotlight candidate. They shared our info on all their social media platforms, which was cool.

Day 4

Oct. 17

Today was a day! My team started out the day in Talladega at a community drive-through event that offered free covid-19 testing, free flu shots and voter registration. We registered a few new voters and saw several supporters come through the lines!

The Winfrey 4 (my children: Donovan, Daym, Ameerah and Aidan) and I spent some family time together before we had to head to Birmingham for my podcast appearance on Smash Bros Radio. But we had to pull over in Moody so I could jump on a pre-broadcast Streamyard with the HBCU United crew, which highlighted alums currently running for office. This off-the-record pre-broadcast video chat was so encouraging and inspiring for me! I was able to connect with another Black woman who is a congressional Democratic nominee, Cynthia Wallace of North Carolina. Hearing her story was awesome. After the pre-broadcast meeting wrapped, we jumped back on the road en route to the radio station. Prior to getting on air, I logged back in to the HBCU United Streamyard, where I was able to go live and share my story with the thousands of alumni from around the country. Sharing my #AEIOU platform and touting the great Wilberforce University never gets old! Then it was time to go live with Smash Bros Radio, which offered even further confirmation for everything I am pushing for. It was an interview that highlighted all aspects of myself, from motherhood to Congressional candidacy to #HYPE. It was an awesome day to say the least.

Day 5

Oct. 18

The whole gang was together again! My campaign manager, Josh, official driver Ro, the Winfrey 4 and my videographer, James, rode out to deliver 4x8-foot signs to various counties in the district and attend a softball game in Valley. Our first stop was to Montgomery, where we met up with our deputy campaign manager, Let. She is always so sweet and encouraging. Tuskegee was our next stop. We then rode to Tuskegee University, where everyone’s temperature was checked before we could pass through the gates. The few students on campus were preparing for a modified homecoming, and we handed out a few shirts. Then off to Lee County! We did some canvassing at a local restaurant during a quick lunch break, and then it was off to the Lee County Ball Park. Our last stop was Lafayette, where we were meeting Mayor-elect Kenneth Vines. Mayor Vines and I had a long conversation about voter engagement and some of the key issues on the minds of people in Lafayette, which includes housing. We had a long day, but it was everything the campaign needed!

Team Winfrey putting up campaign signs. (Courtesy of Adia Winfrey)
Team Winfrey putting up campaign signs. (Courtesy of Adia Winfrey)

Day 6

Oct. 19

Today was the last day to register to vote in Alabama. I hand-delivered voter registration cards to our county courthouse and had a conversation with the officer taking temperatures at the door about the polling places in the areas where new voters live. I feel a change coming!

Day 7

Oct. 20

This morning, my aunt Barbara passed away. She was an activist and trailblazer who made history in 1969 by becoming the first Black graduate of Jacksonville State University, located in Jacksonville, Ala. JSU is in my congressional district, and I know so many Black alumni, as well as students currently attending. I am part of her legacy and am comforted in knowing she was proud of the strides I am making in politics. She was a brave, tough-as-nails, beautiful woman who achieved so much in the face of injustice. I know I have another angel watching over me. I am so thankful my children got to know her.

Day 8

Oct. 21

Tomorrow is Donovan, Ameerah and Aidan’s first day of in-person school since March. It will be Ameerah and Aidan’s first day of junior high, and a totally new school experience. We spent much of the afternoon picking up school clothes and supplies. We had to travel to areas more than an hour from our home to pick up clothes I found online. The first-day-of-school excitement was definitely in the air, and I am excited for my children. At the same time, I am praying for their health and safety, and the health and safety of the school staff. I told them to meditate and pray for a safe and healthy school year, and to practice healthy behavior. We are entering new territory, and I am praying for the best.

Day 9

Oct. 22

This was a day like no other. It started with me taking Donovan, Ameerah and Aidan to school for their first day of in-person school since March. Once I dropped them off, I took time to enjoy the silence in my home. I made a large breakfast, and jumped on a three-hour planning meeting for work at 8:30. Once the meeting wrapped, I got on a call with my staff. It was during this time that I received the call no parent ever wants to get from my son Daymion’s school. Daym is 14 and a freshman at Alabama School for the Blind. They told me my son had been exposed to someone with covid-19, and I needed to pick him up to quarantine for 14 days. In that moment my heart sank, my anger rose, I was confused, and felt hopeless. I did my best to finalize the conversation with my staff and then went into planning mode. Where would I get Daym tested? What is our plan while we wait for the results? The school did not give me any details, nor even where to pick up my child. I called my mother, and she helped me calm down enough so I could sign my son up for coronavirus testing at the local urgent care. But when I learned there was a four- to six-hour wait, I knew I needed another plan. I contacted my employer, because we offer testing in Birmingham. Although it is an hour drive, he would be tested well before the wait time in Talladega.

I called my son’s school back, this time contacting his dorm, and I was finally able to speak to someone. They told me I could pick him up at the student center, and I was on my way. One of the hardest things was seeing my son and not being able to hug him. All the teachers and staff were telling me how worried Daym had been when he learned he had been exposed to someone with the coronavirus. He expressed concern about what this meant for the campaign, his siblings, me, my mother and her sister. I could have broken down in tears right there.

My mother picked up my other three children from school, and Aidan had to remove some of his clothes from his room because he would not be able to return until Daym got a negative test result. Everyone did their part, and I was thankful.

After pulling up, Daym went straight to his room and closed his door. That was another hard moment. Talking to my son through his door or over FaceTime was so hard. I served him his food, drinks and snacks on a tray outside his door, constantly praying for my baby. Today was so hard, but it reminded of the total lack of leadership our government has exercised as it relates to covid-19. I am praying the results come quick and are negative.

Day 10

Oct. 23

Today was my last day of work before my campaign leave. (I’m the community wellness coordinator for one of Alabama’s largest substance-abuse treatment organizations.) But all I could think about was my son. I did not want to leave him alone. I left to take my other children to school and quickly take care of paperwork at one of my offices, but I spent most of my time at home. Daym was repeatedly asking about his test results, and I was doing my best to encourage him. I have really been pissed all day about the ineptitude of our so-called leadership. Yes, schools need to be open, but we also need some sort of rapid testing because situations like this are going to occur, and this waiting requires so much.

I decided to call off the campaign trip that was planned for Selma and Montgomery tomorrow because I can’t leave my son here in his room all day by himself. I also can’t have my mother come and potentially be putting herself in harm’s way as a two-time cancer survivor. I am in constant prayer and meditation for my son, and doing everything I can to make him comfortable.

Day 11

Oct. 24

The day started with my son Daym feeling the most down he has been since having to be in quarantine. It ended with the wonderful news of a negative covid-19 test result! We are all so thankful right now.

Day 12

Oct. 25

Today I woke up in such gratitude! Thankful that my children were all together with me and well.

The campaign crew met up at my house before heading to our meeting spot for the first of two caravans and canvassing appearances. Throughout the day, I thought about my late Aunt Barbara and Uncle Henry. They came up in several conversations during our time in Calhoun County, with campaign volunteers sharing stories about each of them. When my children and I returned home, I cooked chicken stir-fry, and we enjoyed a family meal together at the dinner table. I went to sleep feeling extremely blessed.

Day 13

Oct. 26

I took some time to rest my mind. I started the day out meditating on my patio just enjoying outside. I brought out an old journal and read entries I had written seven years ago. I also had my Bible and read Romans 8. It was nice to take some time to just breathe. My campaign manager and I met to lay out the plan for each day leading up to Election Day. He also put together some social media content that will be released throughout the week.

Day 14

Oct. 27

Today I joined in a sign-waving event in Talladega, and it was everything I needed! The highlight of the day was meeting a woman who was waving signs with her son and grandson, who were both 13. When I walked up to thank them for getting the word out about me, her son said, “Hey you’re on my sign! You’re famous! I met a famous person!” His mom kept saying, we have to get her elected first, but he kept insisting, “No, she’s already famous.” I talked to the boys about how important the work they were doing was, and how I did the same thing for a candidate when I was their age. I told them that even though they were too young to vote, they were making their voices heard and are leaders now.

Lavern Spicer, a community activist who started a food bank in Miami Dade County, is a Republican running in Florida’s 23rd District.

Day 1

Oct. 12

Today was an exciting day. My team and I took on the challenges of going door-to-door with masks and gloves. We were able to put out my campaign flyers and materials. I found that in order to combat this deadly virus, you must mask up and be creatively smart while on the campaign trail.

Day 2

Oct. 13

I worked in my office today with the team. We made every attempt to minimize risks of becoming exposed to the coronavirus.

Day 3

Oct. 14

I am interviewing today with the talk show “California Blacks for Trump.” The questions were simple and centered around why I was running for the position. Later that day, I attended a Trump Victory Leadership Initiative staff team meeting on Zoom. I am glad I had attended the meeting because it was very informative and enlightening.

(Courtesy of Lavern Spicer)
(Courtesy of Lavern Spicer)

Day 4

Oct. 15

Today, I attended a MAGA event held at Tamiami Park and was later joined by Vice President Pence. Vice President Pence was boosting Republican support for President Trump and all other Republican congressional candidates. The VP told the Hispanic community why Trump needs another four years. I am glad it did not rain.

Day 5

Oct. 16

Businesses are now opening back up, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has lifted a number of restrictions that were placed on local restaurants. But people are still living in fear of the coronavirus.

Day 6

Oct. 17

Today, I’ve been out in the streets with my organization feeding people and giving them supplies. Despite the pandemic, life as we know it within the Black community appears to be okay.

Day 7

Oct. 18

I received a call today from my sister and her husband telling me that everyone in their family is seriously ill from the coronavirus, except for my elderly mom.

Day 8

Oct. 19

I found that people are still in fear of covid-19. In our district, numbers have greatly increased. We were able to give out 2,000 masks and gloves to people living in our surrounding communities.

Day 9

Oct. 20

Today, I prayed for my campaign workers and for all those who are helping me win the District 24 seat.

Day 10

Oct. 21

It is so heartbreaking to watch the news and see how people are dying from covid-19. It is such a sad, sad situation that we’re living in these troubling global pandemic times. I will continue praying for these families by praying the Lord’s Prayer over them.

Day 11

Oct. 22

Today, I am sending up special prayers for those first responders and medical professionals who are working directly with covid-19 patients. Hopefully, soon there will be a vaccine or cure which will rid our country of this deadly covid-19 and “Make America Great Again.”

Day 12

Oct. 23

It’s heartbreaking to read that the coronavirus has skyrocketed the amount of deaths within the Black community.

Day 13

Oct. 24

I hate wearing masks. It is really hard to breathe and or talk through a mask. Sometimes when I have to go inside of a store, restaurant and or inside of a building. I often forget to put on my mask, and I thereby end up going back to my car and getting one. Lord help me Jesus!

Day 14

Oct. 25

As I sit here thinking about everything that has happened in America, I can’t wait for covid-19 to end and leave our country.

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