Mayor Carolyn Kirk, running for her fourth term, shuffled a stack of thank-you notes in a back room of her East Gloucester home Monday, swiveling to answer her phone as its shrill ring called for her.
“Hi, yes, I saw you were texting,” Kirk spoke into her phone as her knee-high black and white beloved mutt Brady nudged at her leg. “I’ll get right back to you; it’ll be just about 10 minutes. OK, thanks.”
That morning, long before lunchtime, Kirk had already vacuumed up pumpkin seeds from her two kids’ carvings of the prior night, inked out some of those thank-you notes to campaign donors and spoken to people within her administration.
The incumbent campaign has really tested her multitasking skills, she commented.
“Throughout the campaign, it’s been being the mayor, it’s been being hands-on to the campaign itself, and it’s been being present to the family,” Kirk said. “Between the campaign and being mayor, it’s 24/7.”
While Kirk has saved her door-to-door voter outreach for the weekend before the election, a big part of her connecting with voters has happened through her campaign’s fundraiser dinners, her small talks around the city called “Conversations with Kirk,” through several campaign forums and four head-to-head debates with challenger Mac Bell.
Kirk has spent about $21,158 on her campaign, pulling in much of her $44,733 war chest through campaign fundraiser events and dinners, though she started the calendar year with a balance of about $5,753 in her campaign account.
Of all the work she has put into campaigning so far, Kirk said the largest chunk of time was spent sitting with advisers around the dining room table in her bright-red family home, studying “boiling down responses,” and practicing for debates.
“There’s no way I’m ever going to go to the podium unprepared,” Kirk said.