The 34-foot motorhome that carried Indiana Gov.-elect Mitch Daniels on a carefully crafted cross-state campaign this fall offered more than just comfortable transportation.
The coach actually evolved into a centerpiece for his “My Man Mitch” campaign as thousands of voters registered their support by signing the side of the RV.
“There is no doubt that the RV has become quite an icon,” Daniels’ press secretary, Marc Lotter, told RV Business. “Getting voters to sign the RV began from day 1 in the campaign. Once we started, it really took off. As soon as it left the parking lot, people would be honking and waving. The motorhome really became a symbol for the campaign.”
On Monday (Nov. 8), Daniels fired up the 2003 Damon Daybreak for another run, embarking on a three-day victory lap to reconnect and deliver a personalized thank you to the voters who helped him win the election.
“Mitch decided to go out on a reunion tour,” Lotter said. “It was important to let the voters know that he appreciated their support.”
In addition to developing a keen sense for the Indiana voting populace while traveling the state, sources said Daniels, former budget director under President George W. Bush, also acquired a pretty good throwing arm.
“When Mitch was on the road in the RV, he started throwing T-shirts into the windows of cars when he pulled up to stoplights,” Lotter said. “He started keeping track and said that he only had one miss during the course of the campaign.”
Daniels’ passing arm wasn’t the only thing that was on target. His decision to take his message to the people via RV was a key factor in turning the tide against popular Democratic incumbent Joe Kernan.
“From the beginning, Mitch said that if he was going to be a first-time candidate, he was going out and meeting the people first-hand,” Lotter said. “That included visiting all 92 Indiana counties at least three times. He called it his 16-month job interview, and he really struck a chord with Hoosiers in every part of the state.”
Now, the fate of the motorhome remains up in the air. Lotter said there were a lot of ideas on the table regarding a proper retirement for the coach, given the obvious question: What can you do with a motorhome embellished with tens of thousands of signatures?
“Everybody has been asking us what we’re going to do with the motorhome,” Lotter said. “Mitch is still using the RV, but we’ve talked about putting it on E-Bay or donating it to the state museum. There has also been discussion about donating it to the RV/MH Hall of Fame Museum in Elkhart.”