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Congressional Elections: Looking at Some Basics

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Congressional Elections: Looking at Some Basics

  1. 1. Congressional Elections: Looking at Some Basics Dennis W. Johnson
  2. 2. Congressional Campaigns <ul><li>In House races, far fewer resources than senate, gubernatorial, and certainly presidential campaigns </li></ul>
  3. 3. Congressional Campaigns <ul><li>In House races, far fewer resources than senate, gubernatorial, and certainly presidential campaigns </li></ul><ul><li>House incumbents may have a $1 million to spend; challengers often far less </li></ul>
  4. 4. Congressional Campaigns <ul><li>In House races, far fewer resources than senate, gubernatorial, and certainly presidential campaigns </li></ul><ul><li>House incumbents may have a $1 million to spend; challengers often far less </li></ul><ul><li>House incumbents return to office about 90-95 percent of time. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Senate Races <ul><li>Average Senate campaign will spend about $5 million; but varies widely ($30 million in California). </li></ul>
  6. 6. Senate Races <ul><li>Average Senate campaign will spend about $5 million; but varies widely ($30 million in California). </li></ul><ul><li>With those resources, Senate campaign can afford full range of communication resources. Unlike House candidate. </li></ul>
  7. 7. In a Presidential Cycle . . . <ul><li>Not same voters as in 2006 (or 2002 voters for a Senator running for re-election) </li></ul>
  8. 8. In a Presidential Cycle . . . <ul><li>Not same voters as in 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>Airwaves will be saturated </li></ul>
  9. 9. Ways Congressional Campaigns Communicate <ul><li>In major media markets, House candidates can’t afford TV </li></ul>
  10. 10. Ways Congressional Campaigns Communicate <ul><li>In major media markets, House candidates can’t afford TV </li></ul><ul><li>For House: Direct mail; radio; telemarketing; newspaper; billboards; even show leather. </li></ul><ul><li>Old-school communications. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Ways Congressional Campaigns Communicate <ul><li>In major media markets, can’t afford TV </li></ul><ul><li>Direct mail; radio; telemarketing; newspaper; billboards; even shoe leather. Old-school communications. </li></ul><ul><li>Little help from free media </li></ul>
  12. 12. Campaigning Online <ul><li>A Congressional campaign – House or Senate -- would be foolish not to have online resources -- </li></ul>
  13. 13. Campaigning Online <ul><li>A Congressional campaign – House or Senate -- would be foolish not to have online resources – </li></ul><ul><li>And a campaign would be foolish to rely solely on online resources. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Campaigning Online <ul><li>In House races, don’t expect sophisticated online presence, like seen at presidential level. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Campaigning Online <ul><li>In House races, don’t expect sophisticated online presence, like seen at presidential level. </li></ul><ul><li>In Senate race, campaigns should be able to mount sophisticated online presence – not presidential level, but certainly sufficient </li></ul>
  16. 16. Cardinal Principle of Campaigning <ul><li>The candidate is responsible for the conduct and execution of every aspect of the campaign. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Cardinal Principle of Campaigning <ul><li>The candidate is responsible for the conduct and execution of every aspect of the campaign. </li></ul><ul><li>E-mails, contents of blogs, links to external sources, social networking sites, etc. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Nationalization of the Contest <ul><li>Anticipate national 527s, rogue blogging sites, YouTube postings, text-messaging. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Nationalization of the Contest <ul><li>Anticipate national 527s, rogue blogging sites, YouTube postings, text-messaging </li></ul><ul><li>Your job: put all this in context for readers—who’s responsible for this attack, what is this innocuous-sounding organization, who are these people? </li></ul>
  20. 20. What You Should Do <ul><li>Hold online campaigning to the same critical standard as pre-online campaigning. </li></ul>
  21. 21. What You Should Do <ul><li>Hold online campaigning to the same critical standard as pre-online campaigning. </li></ul><ul><li>Sign up for every possible e-mail and RSS feed. </li></ul>
  22. 22. What You Should Do <ul><li>Hold online campaigning to the same critical standard as pre-online campaigning. </li></ul><ul><li>Sign up for every possible e-mail and RSS feed. </li></ul><ul><li>Understand that the competing candidates are but two voices in the cacophony of this campaign. </li></ul>
  23. 23. What You Should Do <ul><li>Finally – unless you tell the story, congressional elections will be lost to your readership, drowned out in the noise of presidential campaigning. </li></ul>

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