Dr. Politics: Pre-Campaign Schedules & Schedule Priorities
By Dwight Patel
Let’s do a Brief Review
So, it is now September 2017, you have likely gone through the process of do I run or not, possibly got your donor list together ready to go. You have your domain, Facebook, Twitter Handle secured, IF NOT SHAME ON YOU GO DO IT NOW, (STOP READING AND GET THAT DONE FIRST, THIS ARTICLE ISN’T GOING ANYWHERE). You should be working on getting a speaker for your campaign kick-off or first fundraising event. At the end of this column I will have a check list for you to do between now and the filing deadline.
Before you set up your schedule get a list of all all non-political events (Local Football Games, Parades, festivals, fairs). Then create a second list of all political events including times and dates of central committee meetings for your counties, Women’s Republicans Clubs, other Republican Clubs and other candidates events. (This applies if you are running for congress, Attorney General, Comptroller or some state house Legislative Districts)
You want to attend least one of them, but attending a Central Committee meeting isn’t a TOP Priority in my opinion. You will get more bang for your buck by going to a High School Homecoming Football Game than going to a Central Committee Meeting.
You can always contact the Central Committee to obtain lists of volunteers for volunteers in your district. Most Central Committees make or SHOULD make them available to ALL Candidates. If your local Central committee isn’t giving you volunteer names then they aren’t doing their job. Remember the JOB of the central committee is to help you get elected. Remember when you get these lists these volunteers aren’t yours until you cultivate a relationship with the volunteer. Remember they are only Volunteers they aren’t your paid or unpaid campaign staff.
Once you get list of volunteers call them up, have a one-on-one discussion with them, don’t just blast an email off, and expect them to just show up for your event. You need to reach out to them personally, that means not a campaign staffer. When you are running for local office like State House or State senate or County office, you are the closest to the people thereby you need to do the personal touch of calling them, you need them for your campaign they really don’t need you. Sound harsh, well those are the facts when you run for local office. Remember in 2018 in Maryland you will be competing with volunteers who will want to volunteer for the most Popular Governor in America, re-election campaign, as well as congressional and county executive candidates. Remember good volunteers are GOLD for your campaign.
You will want to get a list of major local bloggers in Maryland you need to include Red Maryland (www.redmaryland.com). You also want to have a local press list or print, digital and broadcast media contacts. Once you obtain the list of media completed have your Press Coordinator or press secretary make calls to media contacts to start to develop a relationship have them send over your press kit. At the end of column, I will have a list of what you want to include in a media kit.
You will need to make a priority walk lists for your door knocking campaign, if you don’t want to door knock, honestly don’t bother running for office. Local campaigns are won by door knocking, back in 1994 former Delegate Marty Madden and Del. Larry Haines both told me the same thing, if you don’t go through 4 pair of shoes by election day, you aren’t hitting enough doors. So, invest in comfortable walking shoes.
How do you prioritize walks, you will want to get a list of precints and voter breakdown, you can get this information from the Board of elections. You will want to see which polling locations had the highest turnout in 2016 and 2014, those are your top precints, to hit when you start door knocking. If you have a primary look at the primary turnouts broken down by party as well, same thing highest turnout if Priority 1, and then so on down the list.
Also from the board of elections get a largescale map (24 x 36, 30 x 40 or 36 x 48) of your district, then with a highlighter draw the prescient lines. Also mark any Train Stations or transit hubs as this will be needed for your 72 hour GOTV effort, better to have it down now.
Now you are Ready to Start Establishing your Campaign Schedule
Take your top priority events and put them in Red, these will be events where you will be speaking, candidate forums, or interviews with chamber of commerce or groups that do endorsements. Then put all your fundraisers in Green. Your Red and Green Events shouldn’t be moved unless of a grave event.
Then put local football games, high school events in Blue, these are events you don’t always have to be there yourself you can send volunteers to hand out your lit, however if they require someone to speak on your behalf, send your Press Secretary, spokesman, or campaign director.
Then with Orange drop in GOP events like Lincoln Day, Reagan Day Dinners, MDGOP does a Red, White and Blue Dinner as well as Republican Women’s Federation events. You want to be at these events only miss if you have a Red event conflicting, if you can’t attend very important to send people there to show your flag if possible. The Republican Women’s Federation and their clubs are the back bone of the volunteer base, you do want to attend their big events.
Then in Black, mark every weekend for door knocking teams to hit different part of your district if you start in March you should hit every door least once by the June Primary at the very least, and hit those doors again after the primary. Remember revisit the high priority precincts when the world series roll around.
You want to have a long term calendar 120 day and short term 30 day calendar, my advise is use Google Cal to put down your schedule and don’t make it public.
Ok, Remember your schedule is pretty much liquid and will be changing, you have to be agile and roll with the changes. Campaigning is managing chaos, things happen fast, higher the office faster the changes. Remember if you are running for local office, you need to chase the media, they aren’t going come begging you for an interview, key is make your own opportunities for getting earned media. Also door knock, door knock, door knock and event more door knocks. That is what will get the vote out for you.