July 28th, 2006

Dem Donkey

Campaigning seminar. Also, attn: Mountain View people.

I went to a panel discussion last night put on by the Peninsula Young Dems, "Campaigning 101". The panel included a current Palo Alto Councilman, a political consultant who's worked on a lot of CA statewide and legislative campaigns, another consultant who works mostly on federal elections (and was with the Bradley campaign in '00), and a guy who's currently working for the DCCC, and who mounted a primary challenge against an incumbent congressman in '04 (campaigning against the war and the Patriot Act, he got 20% of the vote; for a primary challenge, at the time, that was considered pretty good).

There were some interesting discussions of what's effective for localized campaigning, versus trying to convey a message in a larger race. (One thing that was mentioned was that, in terms of actually contacting voters, you're better off taking your literature to a busy supermarket than walking door to door; but, obviously, that doesn't get you the connection that can be used to call back your contacts for GotV on election day...) There was some discussion of just how far ahead of an election one needs to start planning, and what sorts of things one plans for (like, doing oppo research on yourself, and handing negative stories over as early as possible in a way that casts things in a better light). There were also some theoretical arguments about whether winning a contested primary strengthens a candidate, or just draws down resources that would've been better spent in the general, and thus whether in some cases you should bow out in favor of party loyalty. (We'll get to see some practical examples this fall. The overall consensus seemed to be that contested primaries might help the party in the long run, because they sharpen ideas and keep people engaged, but for the immediate election cycle, primaries are almost entirely bad. They generally felt that the Dems would have a much better shot at returning the GOP to the shut-out status they had at the state-wide level in '02, if we hadn't had close primaries in four out of five of the state-wide offices that are on the ballot. Sigh.)

I got to chat a bit, afterwards, with Margaret Abe-Koga, a former Peninsula Young Dem (I think she's just over the age at which they boot you from Young Dems *g*) and former aide to Anna Eshoo (defeinitely my favorite of the House Reps whose districts I've lived in). She's an almost-absurdly energetic public servant (in both paid and unpaid capacities), and a strong candidate for the Mountain View City Council.

I got up way too early this morning, to take Xta to the airport. I've been at work since before 6am. :-P
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