A man of many trades, Asbridge continues to campaign for 25th District seat

Supporters forged ahead after Navy reservist deployed in middle of campaign
Monday, October 20, 2008 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 11:04 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Two months before Election Day, most candidates are preparing for the final push of campaigning. But when Ryan Asbridge, 31, spoke to his campaign staff last month to discuss the direction of the campaign for the next several weeks, it was to formulate a very different kind of strategy.

Asbridge, a reserve intelligence officer for the U.S. Navy, had been activated for duty. He told his campaign staff that he would be out of the country on Election Day. He could not tell them where he was going or how long he would be gone. That information was classified. His main concern was how to continue his campaign for the 25th District seat in the Missouri House from abroad.

Campaign manager Jeremy Cover said because Asbridge ran unopposed in the primary, the candidate had made plenty of plans for the general election campaign and regretted being unable to implement them himself.

"He gave us all the information he had, as far as phone numbers, dates, ideas and e-mails," Cover said. "Mostly, he wanted us to do what we could to get his name and message out there."

But despite the logistical difficulties of running an absentee campaign, Asbridge never considered dropping his bid for the House seat. Leaving the country, he argued, didn't change anything about the message of his campaign or his commitment to the people of the 25th District.

"Even with him not being here, he thought staying in the race was the right thing to do. He felt it was better that we tried without him than not trying at all," Cover said.

Campaign manager Yancy Williams agreed. "He invested a lot of time and energy into the campaign," he said. "We discussed what we thought would be best, and he gave us an overall picture of where he wanted the campaign to go."

Friends say Asbridge is quiet but very focused on his work and intent on serving the people of his hometown.