Written by LaVarr Webb & Associates
Four Phases of a Utah Campaign
Utah has a unique election system that is more complicated, and probably more difficult, than most state election processes. Candidates in intra-party contested races have to run four very intense and different campaigns, each with distinctive strategies and requirements. By election day, candidates who make it to the end feel they’ve run an exhausting, harrowing, political gauntlet – and they have. But the process forces a candidate to focus on both grassroots and mass media, and prepares a candidate for service.
Here are the four phases of an intra-party contested campaign:
1. From starting date (right now!) to Neighborhood Caucuses (March 23, in 2010). Objective: Get supporters to the party caucuses to win state delegate slots. Mount statewide grassroots organizational and communications effort to win support of likely caucus attendees, focused on opinion leaders, previous delegates, political insiders/activists, and new potential supporters. Requires hundreds of individual and small-group meetings, phone calls, numerous direct mail pieces to keep the buzz going, build coalitions, win support of opinion leaders and interest groups; run mini-campaigns in each voting precinct in the state. Maintain sophisticated database of all contacts, who’s for, against, and neutral. Build “dashboard” to track progress and “see-at-a-glance” progress. Use e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
2. Caucus Night to State Convention. Objective: Now that delegates have been selected, pursue their support with all manner of direct and indirect contact. Lots of small-group meetings, lunches, breakfasts, etc., with direct mail, e-mail, and phone calls. Develop county convention strategies, and prepare for state convention presentation and strategy. Update database/dashboard with all relevant info so proper data and intelligence is available at all times.
3. Convention to Primary Election. Objective: Extend reach to all Republican or De mocratic voters with broader communications/paid media. Still strong focus on grassroots. Figure out winning number (50% plus 1); target, target, target to reach them.
4. Primary to General Election. Objective: Finally, fight the candidate of the opposing party. Again figure out winning number and how to reach it. Target to make it happen.