NHI Editorials

Entries in Campaign Strategy (2)


NHDP – Masters of the Media Circle Jerk Maneuver!

The Media Circle Jerk Maneuver as I like to call it is a system that has been implemented  and managed by Ray Buckley the New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman. Here’s how it works in practice.

The Democratic Party sends out daily press releases announcing all kinds of party and candidate activity. Interspersed in these releases are “attack” releases.  It doesn’t matter if it is Harrell Kirsten, Julie McLain or any number of other authorized personnel all the attack releases appear to be identically formatted.

First a target is selected to be attacked, such as Scott Brown, Republican primary candidate for the US Senate seat currently occupied by Democrat Jeanne Shaheen.

A particular topic or agenda item is selected such as Senator Shaheen’s Energy Efficiency bill that was before the Senate. A political “crime” is described, in this case that Scott Brown spoke with Republican Senators trying to get Senator Shaheens bill killed. This same release is sent out two or three times a day to their media contacts list, until such time as one or more of their faithful journalists writes about the issue in their political columns. It is not all that unusual that a journalist will write the story almost verbatim to the press release with very thin if any personal research.

Finally, to complete the circle, some PAC or other group of political activists are pointed to the article so they can make an agenda commercial calling the candidate out and using the credibility of the media outlet and journalist as proof of their accusations. An example of the ad would be the currently running advertisement from The Senate Majority PAC accusing Scott Brown of killing Senator Shaheen’s Energy Efficiency legislation and bolstering the accusations with quotes from Kevin Landrigan of the Nashua Telegraph and the Huffington Post staff reporter. There is absolutely no proof of this nor any reason for Scott Brown to have done this but it doesn’t matter it was never about reality but about the illusion of reality.

So what really happened?

Of course Scott Brown called some Senators he knew in particular Senator Ayotte who he will be working with when he is elected, to find out what was happening in the Senate. Of course Senator Shaheen’s Energy Efficiency bill was discussed.

What did Scott Brown learn? That all the Republicans were supporting the Shaheen Energy bill because the Republicans had attached an amendment calling for the immediate approval of the XL Pipeline project with the passage of the Energy Efficiency bill.

Senate President Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) killed the bill by removing it from consideration by the Senate. There were two very important reasons Senator Reid killed this bill. First and foremost was to protect President Obama from having to veto the Energy Efficiency bill so as to stop the XL Pipeline. The second was to spare Senator Shaheen the embarrassment of voting against her own legislation to satisfy her California constituents opposed to the XL Pipeline. In particular Billionaire Green Energy Wall Street Hedge Fund Manager and Shaheen campaign supporter Tom Steyer.

A completely baseless accusation has been made, reported on by the media, and exploited in an ad by a political activist organization.

Stay tuned to your televisions for an upcoming Democratic PAC supported ad featuring Walt Havenstein, candidate for NH  Governor, a  Corrupt, Evil, Rich, White Man, who probably even knows the Koch Brothers! 

Work Hard Have Fun!

Bob DeMaura


Hillsborough 03 Special Election - Who's on First?

Hillsborough 03 special election was a major debacle for the Republicans. Where to start in explaining where things went wrong is a tough choice.

Do I start with the fact that we had a somewhat weak candidate. Oh, he was very conservative in his views, Right to Work, Castle Doctrine, Right to Life, etc. but he wanted to run as a moderate to not upset his Peterborough base of voters. I was told at one point to be careful mentioning the “T.. P…. words,” in fact please refrain from using them in connection with David Simpson and his campaign. He also wanted to stay aloof of the fray, not get down into the trenches and fight. No negative Letters to the Editor about the opponent Leishman allowed.

There was an offer from ABLE-NH (a disabled lobbying group) and Leishman to participate in a forum run by ABLE. Of course, this was a rigged game with a stacked deck, but instead of negotiating with them, it was outright rejected. I authored the Letter to the Editor explaining the campaigns position, that it was not appropriate for a Special Interest Lobbying group to run the forum, I really wanted to say the truth, this was a rigged game with a stacked deck by a hyper-partisan group looking to get more stuff for themselves and their children, hoping to trip up Simpson for quotes to put in the paper.

We were fortunate in having the NH GOP and the Hillsborough GOP come out to “Help Us” or were we? Yes, they did some really good works I guess. Advice on how many mailers to send out, how many signs were needed, things to say or do with reporters. They also came in with a “Canned” campaign all laid out on a spread sheet. It was an awful plan for a NH House Seat special election. All the phone calling was being done by volunteers at the GOP Headquarters in Concord. This relieved the candidate from doing any of the actual calling as he was in Peterborough and the phone banks were in Concord!

It seemed to me the schedule was upside down and backward with phone calling early in the campaign leading up to a few weekends of “Literature Dropping” one for each town in the district. That was a major issue with the locals in the campaign namely myself. New Ipswich is large and very rural; Peterborough is large and somewhat rural. There is no way you were going to reach every Republican household in one day in these towns.

But the fact that they wanted to do literature at the end and phone banking at the beginning made no sense to me. I wanted to get literature in the voters hands early on in the cycle including Absentee Ballot Request forms. I was informed that no one uses Absentee Ballots and it is a waste of time perhaps that is true especially if you get the forms to them in the last week of the campaign! Even defining “Literature Dropping” was an issue, they wanted to place it and run, I wanted to knock on every door and hand them the literature, bring back a list with the “Not Homes” flagged so they could be called on a follow-up by the candidate or staff in the district not some anonymous people in Concord.

Frustrated with the “Help” from the GOP,  Jeff Frates-Fox from New Ipswich and I started slogging our way through New Ipswich Republican addresses supplied to us by the GOP. Note, no Undeclareds were on this list as the theory was to “let sleeping dogs alone” Soon after we started this I was removed as campaign chairman, the official excuse was for not keeping the spread sheets updated with things like the meeting place for the “Literature drops” scheduled a month out. Did I mention that the spread sheets were in possession and control of the NH GOP. I presume the real reason was the NH GOP wanted to take full control of the process and I wasn’t following their plan.

I practically begged the candidate and some of his other staff to start working the Peterborough addresses immediately. The response was they didn’t think we should change the campaign strategy and schedule in mid-stream! I asked a number of times who was taking care of Greenville, the answer was we have it under control. I don’t think the candidate did any voter outreach in Greenville, all they got was phone calls from NH GOP office and a literature 'drop and run' at the very end.

So there you have it, a weak candidate not willing to do the dirty work, a proven losing campaign strategy now 0 for 3 over the simple system we used last fall to get 4 Republicans elected in H03.

How did they beat him, a huge turnout in Peterborough made up primarily of women (at least 3 to 1 possibly 4 to 1 over male voters) sympathetic to the ABLE moms trying to just get services for their children, teachers who were frightened by the unions that they would lose their bargaining rights and gays looking to protect gay marriage. Republicans in Greenville and New Ipswich not willing to go out of their way to support another candidate from Peterborough who doesn’t come out to see or call them didn’t help the cause.

Good news is the 2012 election cycle is right around the corner. The NH GOP and the Hillsborough GOP will be so busy with the other races they will leave us alone out here to do our thing the way we know it works!

Work Hard Have Fun!

Bob DeMaura

Update: In Peterborough, 586 Democrats voted, 290 Republicans, and 394 Undeclareds with Simpson getting 358 total votes! These could be off by one or two as this was a quick hand count!