Saturday, August 30, 2014

Campaigns with a technical twist

Some local offices attract people with an expertise in the field, water board, sewer board, fire board, for instances. And conversely, voters are attracted to those candidates who sound like they have the needed expertise to do the job.

Perception is everything when it comes to the down ticket race for a position that involves managing a recourse or public safety. Especially for the low-information voter. I've seen many races won and lost because the person with "water engineer," "environmental scientist," or "former firefighter" as their ballot designation. even though they had never held public office, had no managerial experience nor a history of interacting with the District they are running for.

This is true even against a better funded candidate with more voter contacts and a professionally run campaign who has studied the issues facing the District for years. Even former elected officials have a hard time moving from Town Council or School Board to Water District or Sanitary District.

So if you seek a technical sounding position, think of the voter who will do no more than read the ballot designation, and see if you can come up with one that sounds impressive and conveys actual expertise in the field.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

To slate or not to slate?

At this time each election season, a plethora of slate cards appear in all our in-boxes. Buy me! they shout. The candidates all get the pitches directly too. Shouldn't I be on this one? they ask, anxiously.

The answer of course is it all depends. Here is a list of just a few slate mailers I've been pitched in the past and recently.

COPS  just what it sounds like, law enforcement leaning slate mailer, but caveat, NOT sanctioned by the police unions.

California Voter Guide     Target – Republicans 

Budget Watchdogs        No pure Dem HH's. Translation: these are the anti-pension people

Election Digest             Target – Democrat and Decline To State

Senior                          Seniors

there are also cards aimed at ethnic voting blocks, Latino, Chinese and sometimes environmental cards.

The Local Democratic Party and clubs often do their own mailers. These are paid for by the Party or the Club and will put on their endorsed candidates. If you have to buy it, it's NOT an official Party mailing.

The problem with all of these is you don't necessarily know the company you will be keeping. That is, what other candidates and which ballot measures will also appear on the mailer? 

Some mix up Dems and Republicans as the example below. Some say they are a Democratic mailer, but put ballot measures on that the Democratic Party opposes. So it's a crap shoot.

Campaign Slut rule of thumb - Save your money for your own mailing and media. Only buy space on a slate mailer if there is plenty in the bank and you trust the vendor of the slate. And do work those endorsements from legitimate groups who do their own slates.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Marin Women's PAC Training video

Here is a video of the training we did the last week, with some other consultants, union and newspaper folks and Young Democrats.

Watch the video here in which I attempt to give out some fundraising advice. And more of course.