Election Day victories are won by candidates who stay disciplined and focused
I once had a client running to serve a second term as mayor of his city.
He was being challenged by a member of his own city council.
His own political party was not endorsing him.
Only one member of the city council would support him. Many community “insiders” wanted him out of office.
His colleagues on the city council wanted the city to have its own fire department. At the time, the city was contracting with a neighboring city for fire protection services.
But the city could not afford its own fire department, and the mayor voted against this move.
Having their own fire department would require shutting down one station.
It would also reduce the number of fire fighters to pay the bill.
If the city were to build their own fire department, residents would have less protection when needed.
As Mayor my candidate was fiscally prudent and highly concerned about public safety.
He was not willing to reduce the staffing of emergency services.
He was not willing to endanger the lives of residents by lengthening the response time of his city’s fire fighters.
Nor was he willing to drive the city into debt to cater to a parochial desire to create a local fire department.
We suspected the voters were with him on these issues. If that were the case, he still had a chance for an Election Day victory.
How were we going to find a way to Election Day Victory?
We started early and conducted a poll that determined he was right about public opinion.
The fire department issue was huge with the voters. It was a game changer and residents were very concerned about reducing fire protection.
We knew if we stuck with the fire department message we would win an Election Day victory.
The poll showed if you were on the wrong side of this leading issue you were going to lose.
He was also good on senior issues. And had a record of standing up for retirees and older residents in his community.
How being Disciplined and Focused saved the Day.
After completing our poll we developed a campaign Road Map we knew would lead to victory.
Then we wrote our first mail piece, started knocking on doors, and making phone calls.
The campaign was disciplined and focused. We kept talking about the fire department and the other two issues.
Polling showed that the many attacks being hurled against us were not going to matter to likely voters.
Frankly, the oppositions attacks were not disciplined and focused. They were all over the map.
Though it was tempting to respond to their attacks we did not.
The attacks made were irrelevant and we just ignored them.
We knew that our Election Day victory would not be found in a political brawl but in sticking to our winning message.
We knew we were in a tough race and our biggest asset was our penchant to be disciplined and focused.
Though he fully expected to win on Election Day, he knew this race would be tough.
But he knew that if he was disciplined and focused and did what he would need to do he could pull it off.
He also knew how much money he would need to win.
We developed a budget for the campaign that we knew we could reach.
After we agreed on the budget he focused on raising money and did not stop until he reached his financial goals.
The right endorsements were key to winning in his city. And he went about securing them.
His challenger was well financed. The opposition went on the attack early and attempted to beat him up and discredit him on a number of issues.
When he needed to raise money he got on the phone. He attended fundraising meetings and worked to make certain his fundraising events were successful.
The walk program was simple and focused.
It was well understood that he would need to work hard knocking on the doors of every likely voter before Election Day.
The candidate had limited time. He had a full time job and was a father.
But when he got home from work he put his walking shoes on and started walking precincts.
He walked to every household of our targeted likely voters.
The walk program started early so he would have time to complete it by Election Day. We knew how many voters he would need talk to before then.
To reach these voters we had to allow for time to visit many houses one even two times.
He stayed on message and never got involved in responding to irrelevant attacks.
He knew what he knew and what he he knew was how to win on Election Day.
His discipline and focus paid off with a Big Win on Election Day.
My candidate won because he was disciplined and focused.
He stayed on message, did not get distracted, and worked hard to meet the fundraising goals we set.
He made sure he knocked on every door in our targeted universe.
He did not get distracted by petty squabbles created by his opposition and at city council meetings.
He did not let himself get baited into fights.
The campaign did not get distracted. We did not get frustrated. We kept our focus on Election Day.
This is how you can win your campaign too.
Stay disciplined and focused. Keep doing what is necessary.
Know your message and voter sentiments early.
Stay on message no matter what.
Don’t allow yourself to get distracted.
Make your fundraising calls every day and reach your fundraising goals.
Walk door to door and talk to voters like your life depends on it.
Because your political life does.
It is impossible to do all this in the last few weeks of a campaign.
Start Early. This takes determination – it takes discipline and focus.
Too many good candidates, people that have a lot to offer their communities, miss their opportunity to serve.
It is sad for the candidate and sad for the community that misses out on their leadership.
But if you stay disciplined and focused, your likelihood of Winning Big on Election Day will dramatically increase.