Monday, September 21, 2009

Your most important investment

What is the single most important investment you can make if you are a local candidate running for office?

Your website? Nope.

Your yard signs? Heck no!

Your palm card? You’re getting closer.

It’s your voter file.

Without a voter file, you’re just driving in the dark without your headlights.

In its cheapest, a voter file is just an excel spreadsheet of voters in your district that you got from the county.

In its best form, you actually go to a voter file vendor, including the VAN (Voter Activation Network), Catalist, or Political Data Systems and get a real database of voters that you can manipulate into a useful form and that has additional, value added data, like precinct level NCEC data or data modeling functions.

With a good voter file, you can make the best of your time going door to door, asking for your support.

Without a good voter file, not only are you not making the best use of your time, you are not able to craft a realistic campaign plan that leads you from point A to 50% + 1 votes.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

National Blog Props for Local Political Scribe

No, not me – I’m talking about Adam Smith.

For whatever it is worth, the Washington Post's the Fix has picked the St. Pete Times' Adam Smith as the best political reporter in Florida.

Make of that what you will, but it is, at least, reassuring that our hometown paper retains some national cachet, especially since the Tampa Bay area remains the center of our little universe.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Lessons from the St. Petersburg City Elections

Old fashioned politics matter. Not just facebook and twitter and websites, but boots on the ground.

People who win by huge margins usually do so because they run like they are 20 points behind in the polls.

Name recognition matters. Ford and Foster came first and second because people knew who they were. Gibbons and Wagman came into this election with a lot of internet buzz and chatter, but without wide name recognition among the voters.

Unions matter. Would Foster have come in second if he couldn’t have hitched his anti-crime platform to his endorsement by the PBA? Would Ford have been able to start her campaign so late in the game if she couldn’t have counted on the active support of the Firefighters? In case you’re wondering, those were both rhetorical questions and the short answer is no.

These thoughts come from afar, since I am not on the ground in St Pete, so feel free to take them with a grain of salt.