For all the money and fame of US Senate races, most American elections are very small local affairs with budgets less than the cost of a car. Powerful targeting tools like TV are often a no brainer for big operations, but for campaigns operating on a lower budget, TV is not always an attainable option. So what other tactics do local level campaigns use to win? Attendees walked away with invaluable tips on everything from grassroots organizing, volunteers and coalitions and innovative approaches to sorting through other spending decisions during this August 9th virtual webinar. Check out some of the speakers’ tips below!
Moderator: Sam Rodriguez
About Sam: Sam Rodriguez, Founder of Rodriguez Strategic Partners LLC, has built a strong track record over the past 25 years as a consensus builder and collaborative strategist at the federal, state and local level on many policy issues including education, economic development, cannabis regulation, science, technology, telecommunications and workforce development. Sam has always taken pride in his ability to understand the nexus between policy and politics when solving complex issues affecting a dynamic matrix of vested interests.
Danielle Cendejas’ Lessons:
1. Remember that more states are moving to a system of voting by mail making direct mail extremely relevant. Voter behavior is changing, so update your processes accordingly.
2. In 2020, the majority of counties will be vote by mail in California. Every voter has a mailbox—utilize it.
3. Connecting mail and digital is incredible important. Do both in your campaign to see real changes in your numbers.
4. Voters are ultimately looking for people that they can relate to. They want the candidate to be a face of the community.
About Danielle: Danielle Cendejas is a campaign strategist with 15 years of experience working with candidates and helping advance progressive causes. She joined The Strategy Group in 2009 after working on President Barack Obama’s campaign. She helped guide the strategy behind Congressman Salud Carbajal’s 2016 victory and has created direct mail, most notably for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Assembly member Chris Holden, Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo, and California’s No on Proposition 32 – Stop the Special Exemptions Act. She was recently awarded the AAPC’s 40 under 40 award.
Joe Camicia’s Lessons:
1. Voter engagement starts earlier these days than ever before because of the internet. You should be engaging with folks 6 weeks before election day to touch all mail-in voters.
2. The largest benefit of digital/online efforts is that you can not only target, but you can track your audiences. This is vital to a campaign and something we cannot do with TV.
3. In the past, the “likes” on social media were the most important aspect of a social media campaign, but now we look for “conversions.” We target the folks that are taking action.
About Joe: Joe Camicia is a partner in Advocacy.Marketing a Sacramento digital marketing firm focused on politics and public affairs. Camicia previously served as Chief of Staff to the State CIO, was Governor Schwarzenegger’s broadband/telecom policy advisor at the PUC and Director of the Senate Majority Caucus under Don Perata. Camicia has spent almost 40 years in government and government relations. Camicia has been a huge booster of using the Internet in political speech and public policy.
Moises Merino’s Lessons:
1. Good old fashioned face to face conversations are still the most important campaign tool in Latino communities.
2. Emotion is crucial for the Latino population. Compassion and understanding need to be shown and proven by a candidate or cause.
3. Often times we see a voter as a number rather than a person. We need to have a good balance of quality and quantity when developing our campaign plan.
About Moises: Moises Merino is a Partner at Merino, Barajas & Allen, a public affairs and political consulting firm. He has over 15 years of political and public policy experience at the local, state and national levels. In 2015, he was named one of the “40 Under 40” best and brightest in the industry by the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC).
Pat Reilly’s Lessons:
1. Keep a pioneering mind—use all the resources around you to help get your candidate elected. There are so many ways to get the word out nowadays—TV is not essential.
2. Video is one of the most important aspects of a campaign. Nowadays video ads don’t have to be on TV, rather they can be on social media and a website.
3. Target people that you know are voting by mail and returning their ballots, first. Next target folks that have a behavior of voting in the last 10 days of the election. Finally, focus your energy and targeting on the people that vote in person.
About Pat: Pat Reilly’s political career includes the National Women’s Caucus during the first “Year of the Woman” in politics, National Governors’ Association, serving as San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr’s campaign press secretary and founding and leading PR & Company, a strategic communications firm that for 20 years led communications efforts for foundations, advocacy campaigns and national progressive issues that made headlines every day. Reilly sold PR & Company to Fenton Communications in 2017 and co-founded Change Research to offer fast, accurate and affordable public opinion research at 80 to 90% less than traditional methodologies to help forward-thinking candidates and causes.
A huge thank you to our speakers for sharing their expertise with the AAPC membership!