Political campaigns

The hardest part of working on RI political campaigns

Here’s what they had to say.

⚓ “Working with Candidates. Look, even the most seasoned politician gets nervous before debates, worries about voter reaction, and overthinks messages on campaign materials. Everyone expects candidates to powerful political leaders may be overbearing and authoritarian, but in reality they are just people like us and they have the same human frailties.I think if more people knew about this it would change the way they view politicians.

⚓ “Understand how things that aren’t stories in 49 other states are multi-day sagas in the Twitter-WPRO echo chamber of reporters. Because it’s such a small place, you have to have a mentality of fishbowl that everything you do or don’t do will be noticed and scrutinized.

⚓ “Clients hire people like me who have been doing this for 20 years – usually they pay us, sometimes they don’t – but almost universally they don’t follow the advice.”

⚓ “Paid canvassers versus volunteer canvassers. If you don’t strike the right balance, volunteers will get jealous of not getting paid and they’ll stop coming. Volunteers matter more! Use paid direct sellers strategically and sparingly. »

⚓ “The whole thing is a big test in organization – you can’t pay too much attention to the same people for too long or you lose.”

⚓ “The most difficult part of working on a campaign is managing the candidate’s family.”

⚓ “The hardest part of campaigns is convincing candidates and those working on campaigns to ignore the noise coming from a very small bubble of people on social media. Twitter isn’t even close to the real thing life. This noise is almost always completely unrelated to the running of the candidates and is not representative of what ordinary people think. It is very difficult to stay focused on the 30,000 foot level if you are upset by a dozen of horseflies on Twitter that don’t even live in your neighborhood.The average voter isn’t in that social media bubble — they’re more concerned with their own work, kids, and other pursuits.

⚓ “Convince a candidate that a bad idea of ​​him is a bad idea, and get him to agree not to, while continuing to want to listen to you.”

⚓ “It’s hard to find candidates, but it’s even harder to find experienced help. There are so few campaign managers ready, partly because of our size. Campaigns are too small to be able to hire them, and then there’s no industry for them, so we help candidates run their own campaigns, train a whole new volunteer, or take a step back ourselves.”

⚓ “Money: This money matters so much against the quality of the candidate. Pace: You rarely have enough time or resources to do your best. Consuming: This is very consuming and difficult to balance with any other side of life Relentless: It’s 24/7, so the older you get the harder it gets Paranoia: If you do it right, you never feel safe, there’s always something thing to worry about, you’re always wondering what the opposition is up to that you can’t see. And obviously losing sucks.

⚓ “Every day you have more to do than you can handle, so a good manager can constantly reprioritize and not lose sight of the big picture and what really matters to voters.”

⚓ “The truncated Rhode Island election schedule adds to the appearance of a frenetic season. The deadline for filing and collecting signatures is so late that you really don’t have much time to get out and speak to voters as an official candidate. It’s also difficult for organizations to make recommendations in a way that helps candidates.”

This story first appeared in Rhode Map, our free Rhode Island newsletter that also features information on local events, coronavirus data in the state, and more. If you wish to receive it by e-mail from Monday to Friday, You can register here.


Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.