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Dr. Politics: Stepping out of Your GOP Comfort Zone & Your August To Do List

Posted: August 11, 2017 at 6:59 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Dwight Patel

It is August, most of us are on vacation and for those of you running for office, this will be your last vacation until November, 2018. Why no vacations next year? Well, since most of you will be challenger candidates, you will need to maximize your time in front of the electorate. That means you hit all the fairs and parades, and if you are in Maryland, our state fair runs from late August through early September. You need to be there. In fact, if you are running statewide, for the U.S. Congress or hail from Baltimore County, there is no excuse for you not to go.

The best times to go are weekends and evenings. The State Party always has a booth, so bring your palm cards, interact with the visitors, and don’t hide inside the booth and just talk to the Republican volunteers there. If they are in your district, you most likely have their votes. You need to get the Republicans you don’t know if you have a primary or start talking to the Democrats.

As Republicans, we have a tendency to stay in our comfort zones. We go to every MFRW event and all the state and county party events where we see the same people. Republicans, for the most part, enjoy being around other Republicans, which is understandable, since we are great people and the life of the party. But all kidding aside, we need to become a lot more proactive and bold. You and I need to go where the Democrats don’t expect to see us, i.e. your local PTSA/PTA meetings and your Neighborhood Association meetings. Go to a block party, go around your district on National Night Out or visit a school. Go to your local farmers’ markets and just talk to the people, go to the free local concerts and your local high school homecoming games.

Back in the day when I was a consultant on Claudette Hayle’s 1996 campaign in NYC, she was doing what most Republicans would consider unorthodox by going into the NYC public housing projects. She was venturing into parts of the city where voters had never met a Republican. Did she get jeers? Absolutely, but the positives outweighed the negatives. Voters told her that she was the first politician who came into their neighborhoods to listen to them and hear about their concerns.

Although Claudette didn’t win her race for Congress against her uber liberal opponent, the ethically challenged Rep. Major Owens, she did do better than any other Republican running against him. IMHO, I believe it had a lot to do with her stepping out of the GOP Comfort Zone and going into the projects that helped her a great deal.

To Do List:

Compile the following lists

      • High Schools in your district (Breakdown: largest to smallest)
      • Rotary Clubs in your district
      • Kiwanis Clubs in your districts
      • Lions Clubs in your district
      • Chamber of Commerce groups in your district
      • List of events in your district or near your district
      • List of Neighborhood Associations and HOAs
      • Dates for Back-To-School nights
      • List of Parades and Fall Festivals

Reading List

  • The Conscience of a Conservative – by Barry Goldwater
  • Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear – by Frank Luntz
  • The Road More Traveled: Why the Congestion Crisis Matters More Than You Think, and What We Can Do About It – by Sam Staley
  • How to Raise Money for Political Office – by Brandon Lewis

Miscellaneous List

  • Take the Americans for Tax Reform – Taxpayer Protection Pledge (this is a no brainer – take the pledge and read about the pledge take the pledge –
  • Leadership Institute training sessions to help your candidacy
    • 9/7 Direct Mail School, Arlington, VA
    • 9/12 to 9/15 Campaign Management School, Arlington, VA *
    • 9/12 Television Workshop, On-Camera, Arlington, VA
    • 9/18 to 9/21 Online Training: Introduction to Blogging, Arlington
    • 9/26 Public Speaking Workshop, Arlington, VA *
    • 10/18 Debate Workshop, Advanced, Arlington, VA
    • 12/5 to 12/8 Future Candidate School, Arlington, VA *
    • More at
  • Go to MDGOP Candidate Training School
  • Attend MCGOP Candidate Palooza 9-9-2017 at MCGOP HQ for anyone who is running for office in 2018 or just thinking about running for office

Final Thoughts

Next week will cover putting together your campaign schedule and prioritizing events. We will touch on the last aspects of the Digital Campaign series, SnapChat and LinkedIN.

As always, you can find me online at several locations, you can follow me on Twitter @DwightNation or email me about questions or topics you’d like me to cover in the future at [email protected] online at or and as always