Why Political Candidates Should Use Humor When Going Negative

As a candidate, if you find yourself in a tight race you’re probably going to need to attack. And there’s a way to do it without coming off as nasty or sleazy.  That’s by using humor. Before we get to deep into this, you might be wondering if you must go negative and on the […]

5 Winning Lessons from Political Campaign Mastermind Arthur Finkelstein

One of the most successful political strategists of contemporary American politics passed away Friday — Arthur Finkelstein. If you’ve never heard of Arthur, don’t worry about it. That’s the way Arthur liked it. The spotlight belonged to his candidates. He worked entirely behind the scenes. And the work he did there won a lot of […]

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2 Winning Candidates Discuss Candidate Debates and Forums

An interview with a Texas school board member & a California city council member

Earlier this week I wrote an article about candidate debates and forums, saying that winning candidates always participate in most of the ones they are invited to. In this piece I’m going to share some insights on debates and forums from two different candidates who each won their election this year in two very different […]

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When Live Political Campaign Telephone Calls Go Bad

I’m a huge proponent of candidates making live phone calls. Live telephone calls are a great way to reach the voters, especially those who are not home when you knock on their doors or who live in remote places. But sometimes live calls don’t go well and they can backfire on a candidate. The Benefits […]

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Why Pictures are Worth 1000 Words on Political Campaigns

Part 5 of our case study of the Andy Wilson-Phil Hosp City Council race in Pasadena, CA

We’ve all heard the old cliche, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” There’s a reason it’s a cliche.  It’s because it’s true — especially when you’re running for office. Winning candidates use eye-catching pictures and imagery in their campaign materials. It’s one of the reasons they win. The third rule of the 7 Rules […]

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The Wrong Way to do Negative Political Attack Mail

Part 3 of our case study of the Andy Wilson-Phil Hosp race in Pasadena, CA

The late U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen once said, “politics is a full contact sport.” That means if you’re going to run for office you’re likely to get hit with an attack. It also means you’re probably going to have to hit back at the opponent who attacked you. As with all things, there’s a right […]

Candidates who Confuse Voters Lose Elections

More Lessons from the Clinton and Trump Campaigns

In education, if a teacher confuses their students, they lose the student. In marketing, if a company confuses their customers, they lose the customer. The same is true in political campaigns. A candidate who confuses the voters is likely to lose the election. If you confuse, you lose. One of the very first articles I wrote […]

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7 Winning Lessons from Losing Campaigns

Not all candidates win their first election. In fact, most first time candidates don’t win. My uncle lost three times before he won his first election. Often it’s the lessons learned from other campaign mistakes that help candidates win elections. “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” – Henry Ford I’ve […]

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Why Winning Candidates Keep the Message Simple

In a tough election, the candidate with the clearest and most concise message typically follows the old adage of marketing and campaigning known as KISS:  Keep It Simple, Stupid. These candidates know that keeping their campaign message as clear and as simple as possible is a key component to connecting with voters. And when you […]

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Fundraising Advice from a Winning Candidate

Fundraising is without a doubt one of the essential elements of running a successful political campaign. Even in the digital age of inexpensive Facebook ads and practically free mass email sends, winning an election takes a fair amount of money. Your campaign needs money to send mail,  buy yard signs, and to pay for any […]