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Insidery campaign stuff

Thursday, Sep 4, 2014

* Greg Hinz takes a look at Gov. Quinn’s field operation

Meet Nellie Sires, a “proud resident of Rogers Park since 2004″ — and the field director of Mr. Quinn’s re-election campaign. Over the next two months, her job is to ignore the daily back and forth of the brawl with GOP nominee Bruce Rauner and, using the latest analytics and tracking methods, identify millions of Quinn fans and potential Quinn fans and get them to the polls. […]

Over coffee, she told me that Mr. Quinn hopes to replicate much of the neighbor-on-neighbor style of organizing that Barack Obama used so successfully in 2008 and 2012.

The model depends on first using the state’s database of roughly 7.3 million registered voters and then figuring out which ones are most open to Mr. Quinn’s message.

To do so, the campaign is employing a variety of high and low tech, everything from working closely with Chicago political leaders, especially in African-American wards, and hiring a Chicago- and Washington-based “big data” company, Civis Analytics, which built the Quinn campaign’s model.

* Meanwhile, WBEZ has been running a series of stories about political types who are rarely profiled. From the station’s opposition research piece

“You don’t win races by just telling people what a wonderful person you are,” said Dennis Gragert, a veteran Democratic opposition researcher based in Chicago.

Gragert and several other opposition researchers say they abide by the rules and ethics of what’s fair game. Most important, they say attacks against a candidate must be verifiably true, and they can’t be too personal or you could face a backlash, like with the hairdresser ad. Every oppo researcher contacted for this story said they had turned down work that required them to dig up information about an opponent they thought was too personal.

All in all, the opposition researchers who spoke with WBEZ say they sleep just fine at night, because all those negative ads actually work, even if voters say they hate them.

Still, even Gragert does betray a moment of empathy.

“Sometimes I think about, if that was me on the other end, would I like that?” he said. “All right, that’s not for me to like, it is - it is reality. It’s not something where you say, well that shouldn’t be the case. That is the case.”

* Voice-over artists

“When you’re doing voice-over work, it’s almost as though you have no life, when you’re doing political campaigns,” said Wanda Christine Hudson, who has been doing voice-over work for more than four decades.

Wanda Christine - as she’s known professionally - says working campaigns is a lot different than her usual commercial or video game voice-over gigs: Political season means abruptly cancelled lunch plans, sleeping by your phone and voicing ads in the dead of night.

* Pollsters

“Good pollsters don’t tell a candidate what to say,” McGrath said. “The political graveyard is scattered with failed candidates who try to be something they weren’t. And it’s not in our interest to use a poll to tell somebody to be something they’re not.”

McGrath says voters can sense when candidates are faking it. And dishonesty doesn’t poll very well.

I know you’re busy, but all of the above pieces are worth a full read.

…Adding… A few more stories from Campaigns & Elections

* Is Twitter ruining young press operatives?: Far too often, operatives are lured into snarky back-and-forth Twitter duels that seem all-important and exciting, but fail the most basic test of campaigns. How does this get me votes? If it doesn’t get you votes, it doesn’t matter.

* Searching through the attack ads: When campaigns deluge television viewers with an inescapable 30-second ad, campaigns usually see a subsequent spike in searches online concerning that message. Research conducted in 2012 found that 64 percent of persuadable voters had used a search engine to fact-check claims made by political candidates.

* 5 essential practices for reaching inboxes

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Sep 4, 14 @ 1:04 pm:

    Re: Hinz, Rauner’s secret field army is still nowhere to be found and apparently they can’t even talk it up to the press like they do in emails. LOL.

  2. - A guy... - Thursday, Sep 4, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    Totally true Captain. Keep thinking that and carry on.

  3. - wordslinger - Thursday, Sep 4, 14 @ 1:33 pm:

    These guys should win the race before they go trolling for the next gig.

    If they’re going to compare themselves to Obama’s GOTV operation, maybe they should borrow a page from it and clam up until the hay’s in the barn.

  4. - A guy... - Thursday, Sep 4, 14 @ 3:20 pm:


  5. - Over It! - Thursday, Sep 4, 14 @ 3:35 pm:

    Quinn needs to step up and let the people who know how to run a campaign step in, he has 20 year old smartass kids treating his volunteers like crap. That will not win him a re-election. If you want anything at all with the Quinn campaign you have to go straight to the top because you can’t get any answers. How about less talking and more doing? Can’t even get a sign without asking 20 people…..Do I sound irritated? You can always find the Quinn campaign leaders huddled in the corner…not doing much work. They should be scared!

  6. - Varnish Ceasar - Thursday, Sep 4, 14 @ 10:41 pm:

    The 20+ on that campaign are arrogant. A lot of us volunteer in spite of them.

  7. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Sep 5, 14 @ 11:11 am:

    LOL, you think yard signs win elections?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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