The past week while I've been driving around, I've been on the lookout for signs or anything else that might tip NJ residents off that there is an election tomorrow morning. It seems for the most part it is very quiet, but before I dive in with some examples, allow me to post Lincoln's 4 essential activities of campaigning via my friend Richard Kosinski:
- Make a list of issues
- Ascertain supporters with certainty
- Have undecideds be talked to by supporters
- Make sure every voter is brought to polls
OK, so back to NJ. The county I live in has the second most registered Republicans (a mere 600 or so behind Bergen County) and there is precious little activity (BTW even less Democrat activity but that's expected). The only Republican signs I've seen between here and Bridgewater (think Route 206) was for Joe Pennacchio (Senate), Rodney Frelinghuysen (House my District), Kate Whitman, and for Washington Township Committee Jim Harmon.
That's it. No other signs. Nothing from Dick Zimmer (couldn't find a website) and nothing from Murray Sabrin and both of them are running for Senate. We did receive one robo call from Frelinghuysen but before I could listen to the entire recording my wife deleted it. Nothing from Kate Erber who is running against Rodney and she doesn't even have a website (more on how shameful that is in a second). Google advertising for any of them? Nope. The only ad I saw while Googling for them was from Frank Lautenberg who bought Dick Zimmer's name. Banner ads anywhere? I doubt it. TV or radio? Perhaps somewhere but you won't catch my attention with that.
Back to Kate Erber and a little of Murray Sabrin. Both of these candidates are supposed to be self style Ron Paul Republicans but neither of them learned anything about marketing or using the internet from the Ron Paul campaign. Sabrin's website does have a slight Paul campaign feel to it, but Erber doesn't have a site or at least none that I can find. The Star Ledger confirmed this a few days back in an article that stated her and her Mom were licking stamps for their direct mail campaign. No website, but direct mail? This is someone influenced by Ron Paul? Neither of them has any internet buzz.
Why am I so surprised about the lack of quietness in NJ? Well notice Lincoln's fourth campaign activity. Get your voters to the polls. How is anyone supposed to be motivated to go the polls if the candidates themselves don't ask for a vote? Road signs are cheap. Google ads are dirt cheap. Heck for my own Board of Education campaign I ran banner ads in Yahoo for a $100 plus Google ads. Email? Pennies to send out. How about some branding out there? I know it is June 3rd but come on there is very little. All it will take is for one well organized, internet or grass roots driven campaign to drive enough voters to the polls to steal a primary election and then everyone will say "how did that happen."
In fact the only email I received from any campaign was from the John McCain campaign urging NJ voters to go to the polls to vote for our slate of delegates. An email costs next to NOTHING to send out. The McCain campaign realizes this and understands that the Paul campaign has their own slate of delegates. The Ron Paul campaign is hoping to catch people sleeping tomorrow. Again, all it takes is for a low turnout with a motivated opposing group to shake things up.
I can understand saving money for the fall, but a little branding and GOTV activity can't hurt. That's why I was happy to see our own Washington Township Committee candidate Jim Harmon start a website, push out some emails, and put up some signs in town. Running unopposed he obviously didn't need to do that work, but Jim is smart enough to realize that a little branding and asking people for a vote can be done cheaply and cost effectively. Hopefully setting himself up for a battle in November. Use the internet, people. In a low turnout you can actually drive voters to the polls.