Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Field matters

The special election to fill Senator Gilibrand's former House seat is too close to call. The margin is about 65 votes out of 150,000 total votes. Do you think the Republican Jim Tedisco (who should have crused to victory) and his campaign manager are kicking themselves tonight? First from Politico,

Jim Tedisco’s campaign is employing an unconventional way of getting out the vote on the final day of the election.

Dozens of the volunteers working to canvass and make phone calls for the Republican Assemblyman this afternoon in his Clifton Park headquarters didn’t know anything about him or his campaign – and only one volunteer (out of the dozen or so I interviewed) could name his Democratic opponent, Scott Murphy.

The volunteers were predominantly Hispanic and African-Americans in their 20s from the Bronx and Queens. Tedisco campaign spokesman Josh Fitzpatrick said he believed they were bused into the district by the New York Republican state party committee to help get out the vote.

He said that none of the volunteers were paid to work for the campaign – they were just helping out with much-needed tasks.

Relying on people who have no investment (be it time or money) in the candidate and the campaign to handle your GOTV is a pretty bad idea. It's one thing if you're talking about having people go out and flyer a neighborhood. It's quite another when you are chasing mail ballots and getting those last minute voters out the door. It's not exactly glamorous work but its absolutely critical. You don't need an educated staff or a well paid staff - you need a hard working staff. If you get outworked during GOTV you lose.

Also this is very bad,

Democratic candidate Scott Murphy got an unexpected volunteer today, in the form of woman fuming about a text message she received this morning from Republican challenger Jim Tedisco’s camp.

Niskayuna resident Clara Mehserle says she received a text message on her cell phone this morning that said: “Jim Tedisco needs your vote! Polls open until 9 p.m. YOUR VOTE MATTERS. Paid for by Tedisco for Congress.”

One large problem: Mehserle doesn’t live in the 20th Congressional district. She’s a registered Democrat. And she thinks she’ll have to pay for the message because it came from a phone system outside her Verizon network.

Wow. Just wow. That's a disaster. Wrong district. Wrong party. How was this not fixed months ago?

Tedisco's field campaign was a total disaster at the most critical time... and he lost by 65 votes. Causation doesn't really get more clear cut than that.

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