Campaign Lessons From 2014

1. Get their attention: Unique ads help you stand out from the crowd. Whether you’re Neel Kashkari and running for Governor of California or Joni Ernest running for senate in Iowa, it is vital that your ads separate you from the crowd. Joni Ernest was castrating hogs while Neel Kashkari was chopping wood. And of course there was this one: The same principle works with signs. Lee Bright, a libertarian state senator and Lindsey Graham challenger had bright yellow signs that got your attention on the road. He came in at 15% in that election, the highest of any challenger (sadly even higher than Det Bowers).
2. Never take anything for granted. The only reason that Eric Cantor lost was because he took his re-election for granted, and Dave Bratt wanted it worse than he did. Cantor figured that if he put $3 million into his campaign, he would win. But Bratt recognized that money does not replace relationships and a strong ground game. Why did Lindsey Graham and Thad Cochran win their primaries? Because they did not take it for granted. Lindsey Graham made sure to have representatives at any political event in the state, even those hostile to him. To his credit, he ran a better, smarter and more organized campaign than any of the challengers. Thad Cochran made open appeals to moderate democrats and centrist voters, not unlike what Weston Wamp is doing in Tennessee.
3. It’s all electronic. I’m going to go back to Lee Bright for a moment. His campaign was brilliant online, and he was able to mobilize his supporters through Facebook, Twitter, and text updates. Obama and the liberals have done a brilliant job of this. This cartoon illustrates the problem:

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