Report By Richard Geno
Over 300 people attended our August, 2010 meeting with political consultant and strategist, Steve Kirschbaum. Steve first told the audience what they could do to help a campaign. He indicated that people could make signs; but they need to replace the Tea Party type message signs with signs that have the name of the candidate on them.
With the internet and YouTube, lots of negative information about a person's opponent might show up. Steve suggested that this type of material be held until it was closer to the election. He used as an example the latest Townhall meeting videos of Congressman Pete Stark. A collage of these videos can be made into a good YouTube release 10-14 days before the election.
He pointed out that 30% of the population decide for whom they are going to vote by Memorial Day, 30% more by Labor Day, 30% by Halloween, and the final 10% in the last weekend before the election. Therefore, 3-5% of the vote can be decided by a good get-out-the-vote effort on election day. In a close election, the get-out-the-vote can make the difference in the result.
Steve also indicated that there are actually four elections during a campaign run by the non-incumbent. First, the week-to-ten days after the primary absentee ballots are sent out, followed by the primary election day. The third part is the week-to-ten days after the general election absentee ballots are sent out, followed by general election day. He referred to the period between the June 8th primary and Labor Day as the black hole period.
He told us that the average volunteer is worth about $25 per hour. He listed the various volunteer positions one could work in a campaign as follows:
2. Event Planner
3. Opposition Researcher
4. Volunteer Coordinator
5. Coalition Building
6. Voter Identification
7. Finance Chair
8. Get-out-the-vote Coordinator
Steve pointed out that for the unknown candidate that it takes 7 contacts to assure one vote. Contacts include an appearance at a meeting, an internet contact, a radio contact, a TV contact, a brochure or flier, door knocking, a house sign, or a phone call. If one is inclined to make a financial contribution, now is the time to do it. Radio and television spots often must be lined up weeks and months in advance. Money in hand between now and Labor Day will provide the candidate the wherewithal to schedule media advertising now.
Steve identified the assembly candidates that need to win in the state of California to flip the Assembly this year. The six candidates in the local area that he suggested we assist are Sam Blakeslee running in the State Senate runoff on August 17th, Larry Pegram running for San Jose City Council, Mike Wasserman running for the Board of Supervisors, Bob Chandler running for the Assembly in San Jose, Scott Kirkland running for Congress against Mike Honda, and David Harmer running for Congress against Jerry McNerney.
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