It wouldn’t surprise me if you had not heard of him. That was on purpose. You got to know him, when he wanted you to. He ran a low profile, behind the scenes, but if there was ever a news tip, or a big story coming down the pipes, he knew it was coming before anyone else. And if you did know Chip Gerdes, you know exactly what I mean.
I first met Chip when he reached out to some grassroots activists in Illinois to work on a project during the 2010 election cycle. The meeting was as mysterious as the profile he kept, late at night, in a bar, and I had no clue who I was waiting around to meet. He showed up in flip-flops, with his backpack, and a skull and crossbones on his hat.
He shared ideas about how to fight the left I had never heard from anyone else. He thought out of the box, and he wanted to win. All he talked about was kicking ass, and how much fun we were going to have doing it.
And we did.
Over the months and now years, we became close friends. Chip introduced me to Andrew Breitbart and he gave me my first handheld video camera. If I scored a solid video at a protest or some campaign event, he was the first to know. And nothing was more fun than when we nailed the left together.
Do you remember Ja? It was a classic-lefty freak out caught on camera during a Tea Party in Madison. We picked up Andrew Breitbart last minute at the airport to announce Sarah Palin, and while we were waiting for his speech outside the Capitol, Chip spotted two union loons losing their minds over the mere presence of Palin in their town.
When we cut that video in the “command center,” and I started typing the subtext “gaa gaa gyy” onto the screen, I turned around and Chip was rolling on my floor. Neither of us could stop laughing. I can’t count how many stomachaches we got from the gut-busting laughter that ensued over the next few years at each opportunity we had to humiliate the left.
Chip actually shot that video, although we posted it on Rebelpundit.com, because Chip never wanted credit for anything. He never wanted his name on a story, he didn’t care if he got any recognition. He only wanted to make sure he helped you get it right, and share in the fun behind the scenes.
Chances are, had I never met him that late night in Chicago, I would have never ended up in the scrum with Andrew Breitbart a month later, and I can say, “with certitude,” RebelPundit would not exist today. Although he lurked in the shadows, his network was vast, and he formed a glue in many ways like our friend Andrew, that has helped bind us together.
I know a lot of people feel the same way, and will miss him dearly.
Chip Gerdes suffered a sudden heart attack and passed away early Monday morning. We lost a great patriot far too soon.
So, as we did many times in celebration, turn on The Garry Owen, his favorite battle song, and raise glass to our friend Chip.
May we fight, and win, many more battles in his memory.