On the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 6, as the rest of America had eyes glued to their screens at home, patiently awaiting the results from the 2018 Midterm Election, senior Drew Morris sat in a hotel conference room in Springfield, Mo., waiting for his boss, senator-elect Josh Hawley, to arrive.
It wasn’t the first time Morris waited on him, but tonight was special. It was the night Hawley was elected to the U.S. Senate.
Morris applied to work as an intern for Hawley’s campaign this past summer and dedicated his life to it until the last vote came in late on election night.
In the democrat agenda to takeover the U.S. Senate, Missouri’s senate race between Republican Hawley and his opponent, Democrat Claire McCaskill, was a big deal. Major news sites, including the New York Times and CBS, reported on the incoming results in Missouri throughout the night, putting the Hawley-McCaskill race on a national stage.
“Never in a million years did I imagine I would actually be working on a Senate campaign catching eyes across the nation,” Morris said. “I had no political background. My determination guided me, and while my biggest takeaway was to never give up, I hope other students and young Americans can learn they can do this too.”
At the end of the night, Hawley had defeated McCaskill 52 percent to 46 percent, according to KOMU News.
“Election Day, hearing the results and seeing the smiles on everyone’s face I’ve worked with throughout this campaign felt like Christmas Day,” Morris said. “Through this experience I first-hand saw hardships, struggles and setbacks, however, Josh never failed to give up, this team continued to fight and our supporters never lost faith.”
Some of Morris’ responsibilities in working for the campaign involved social media outreach, which complimented his experience with digital media, and event organization, which paralleled his duties as RBHS Student Council president. Working for the Hawley campaign was a big commitment—physically and mentally—but Morris said it was worth it.
Despite his dedication to the campaign, Morris did not grow up invested in politics. When he was younger, it was only studying past presidents themselves that intrigued him. Through high school, as his political spectrum grew, Morris became more aware and, in turn, appreciative of political policies and campaign climates. After the election of President Donald Trump, Morris found in himself a new found love for the political process.
“In 2016 this country experienced an unprecedented election,” Morris said. “The 2016 presidential race was the first time I followed an election cycle, and it was empowering. Here in 2018, two years later, I’ve learned to make an impact on our country myself.”
In addition to contributing to the political process through working on the Hawley campaign, the Midterm Election was Morris’ first opportunity to vote, as he just turned 18 in August. As a first-time voter, Morris felt as if he was finally fulfilling his duty to his country and to the past Presidents he loved studying when he was younger.
“Voting is a right that citizens have paid the ultimate price for,” Morris said. “We’re so fortunate to have the possibility of choosing the future of this country. It’s our duty to preserve everything this country has stood for. When I made it to the polls for the first time, it was riveting. I’ve never been so excited to participate in democracy.”