We were brought to both the Democrat and Republican Campaign Headquarters of Denver, Colorado.
At the Democrat HQ, we were briefed by Pat Waak, Chair of the Colorado Democratic Party. Experienced in advising on campaigns, during her tenure Colorado maintained its Democratic majorities in the State House and Senate, and added a US House of Reps seat, plus electing a Democratic Governor and state treasurer. The state has increasingly become more pro-Democrat over recent years.
This was the strategy adopted by the Democrat party in the state of Colorado:
- Just as Obama’s national campaign of “every State counts”, ensuring 50 (+1) different campaigns for all its states, it adopted an “every County counts” approach, targeting all 64 counties in Colorado.
- Targeted the population all along the north-south highway.
- Get the young people involved!
- Take advantage of the fact that the Republicans themselves have been unhappy about their own party over Iraq, the Federal Deficit, and the extreme position of Republicans “taking their party away from them”.
- Focus on the 4 key issues of the state: healthcare, education, economy and the environment.
- Use unique “GOTV” (Get Out The Vote) techniques.
- Technology: Tracking responses to opponent messaging, tracking reports, have a team to do opposition research.
- Get lawyers out on Election Day to monitor any possible voter fraud. They have 3000 lawyers to do the job.
- Use coalitions: labour union, disabled groups, ethnic specific (African American, Latin American), gay-lesbian.
Political Director Ryan Call of the Colorado Republican Party met with us. He is also campaign manager for Bob Schaffer, running for Senator seat. The discussion centred mainly around Schaffer’s messaging strategy, which in all likelihood will be influenced by national-level McCain messaging. During the Mid-Term elections (this is in between Presidential elections where Americans vote for Congressmen or State level reps), local issues usually drive how people vote. However, national issues become more of a priority during Presidential elections and particularly so this time.
Some quick reactions to the differences between the two campaign headquarters of Denver:
- Party workers/volunteers at the Democrat HQ were of mixed ages and ethnicities (black, Asians) whereas those at the Republican HQ were all white.
- All volunteers at the Democrat HQ had a laptop each, working furiously on them. I spotted perhaps only two laptops in the Republican HQ.
- The volunteers at the Democrat HQ practically swamped us with enthusiastic greetings and chucked dozens of stickers and badges to us; the Republican HQ had these on the tables which we picked up ourselves and were warm and friendly but only when spoken to.