The Campaign Manager
The World of Politics in Florida and Tampa Bay.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I’ve been hearing that a lot lately. When you’re working on an election that takes place in November, and you’re busting your hump to make it a victory one of the most frustrating things you can hear is “It’s too early,” which is usually followed by something like “people aren’t even paying attention yet.” If you’re really lucky, you will be given some suspect little anecdote about how campaigning, especially canvassing, before Labor Day directly led to someone losing an election.
To be clear – this is utter c - - p.
We’ve gone over this before, how time is the one resource you can never get back.
By putting off hard core campaigning until some arbitrary date, you are merely throwing away your most valuable resource. But anyone who has done more than a few campaigns has gotten this same, ridiculous lecture. Sometimes, a particularly destructive person will even try to interfere with your efforts – going to campaign meetings and publicly trashing the idea of campaigning before Labor Day or sending out emails to all their friends in the area explaining why no campaigning should be taking place until this arbitrary date has passed.
Let me be perfectly clear – you are not starting too early. Chances are, unless your started in January of the year before your election, you have are actually getting off to a late start. Your campaign “begins” the minute you know you are standing before the electorate. Putting off the actual business of campaigning is quite simply procrastination.
Sunday, August 02, 2009
Notes from a Tampa Bay Expat
The rain is coming down hard and the danger of lightning has basically scuttled my canvass for the day. Nothing to do but sit in the local coffeehouse (no alcohol - I'm still on the clock) and finish some paperwork until I hit the rubber chicken circuit (or chicken bbq circuit to be precise) later this afternoon.
Not that it doesn't rain every day in Tampa Bay, too, but I do miss home right now.
I have been advising on the side with a county candidate running over here about some basic field tactics.
We first went over some basic scheduling - this candidate had been hitting her home community, too often. This was a mistake because she should already have her home community locked up. They know her well and it's a heavily Democratic town. The turnout is low, relative to the rest of the county, so her focus should be on the 50/50 precincts and communities. As the second half of October rolls around, then she should focus on those areas that are her base - whether because she lives there or because they are naturally Democratic leaning. Until then, it's all about the undecided voters.
I also went into tracking results. I keep track of every door a candidate, canvasser or volunteer hits. I have a plan for reaching my goals and it is very important to know how close I am hitting it.
Why? First of all, as my old boss used to say, "that which gets measured, get done."
Secondly, if you're not reaching your goals, your plan may have to be revised. It's important to have a plan for victory premised on what you can actually accomplish. If you're surpassing your goals, you want to expand your universe, but you don't want to just do it randomly - there's a reason it's called a "plan" not "random collection of notes, lists, and excel spreadsheet printouts."