Sitting side-by-side at the Saphire Cafe in Bethesda, Robin Ficker and his son Flynn Ficker seem anything but exhausted.
Yet since May, the father-son duo has spent nearly every spare moment trekking District 15, in heat and rain, knocking on doors as they campaign to represent the district in Annapolis.
District 15 covers the western portions of Montgomery County, from Potomac to Poolesville, including parts of Clarksburg.
Together, the Fickers say they have knocked on 20,000 doors and expect to knock on that many more before the Nov. 4, 2014, general election.
Robin, 70, and his son Flynn, 31, have formed a slate, Fickers for 15. Robin seeks to be a state senator; Flynn, a delegate.
The Fickers are running as Republicans, but campaigning with everyone in District 15 regardless of party, Robin said.
What drew the duo into the race was a feeling that the views of their diverse district were not being represented in Annapolis or among the Montgomery delegation, which has only Democrats.
State election figures from October 2012 show District 15 having about 44,000 Democrats and 23,000 Republicans, with 24,000 registered voters who are unaffiliated.
“Once people are in Annapolis, some even before that, the special interests grab hold, and their self-interests grab hold, and the viewpoint of the citizens isn’t represented,” Robin said. “When we knock on a door, we ask, ‘What can we do for you in the legislature?’”
As they talk with voters, Flynn said, he and his father make an honest effort to listen to voter interests. And they take notes.
“It’s the best grass-roots way to find out what voters really want, to get them involved and to create a healthy democracy,” Flynn said.
Voters in the district are opposed to the transfer of teacher pensions from the state to the county, Robin said.
He said voters also oppose the partisan politics that led to the federal government shutdown; favor getting more of their tax dollars returned to the county; and favor strong education and job growth along the Interstate 270 corridor.
The Fickers also favor a vibrant education program and tax fairness.
“I think we want to show some defense against the onslaught of tax increases, to promote economic growth to increase jobs,” Flynn added.
Politically, Robin said, the Fickers are more centrist, but “thrifty.” Both favor raising the minimum wage. Neither is aligned with the tea party politics that shut down the federal government.
“Shutdown was a very bad idea; it should never have come to that. I’ve put 20 questions on the ballot that have gotten over 2 million votes,” Robin said, referring to referendums he has initiated. “There’s various ways to peacefully change government.”
Both Robin, an attorney, and Flynn, an engineer, live on their 27-acre family farm in Boyds, where they have horses, dogs, sunflowers and fruit trees. Between the two, the Fickers hold six college and graduate degrees.
Robin is no stranger to politics. He represented District 15 in the House from 1978 to 1982. He has run for several state and federal positions.
He also has campaigned and put 20 questions on the ballot for voters to decide — most notably the 2008 question to cap Montgomery County property tax increases at the rate of inflation, which passed and many now know as the Ficker Amendment.
Unlike the Democratic candidates for the district, the Fickers are focused on November, not June, when party primaries will be held.
“We are running for the general election,” Robin said.