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Sunday, April 09, 2006

The DEC and Campaigns: Drawing the Line

Many, though not all of Florida's DECs at this point just don't have the resources to wage a full comprehensive campaign on all fronts at the local and state level. They can't exactly put money and volunteers into all of the campaign's running for county commission, school board, and the legislature. Though I would also say, when has this ever not been the case?

DECs must do the hard work of drawing the line of what it will do to help campaigns and what campaigns will need to do on their own. After all, campaigns are somewhat of a measure of how well a candidate can organize themselves and be a good public servant.

The DECs role at the end of the day is to build the party (and thus help elect candidates.) After all, campaigns and politicians come and go, but there needs to be an institutional constant which helps guide ideas over the long term.

Here's what DECs should do to help campaigns:
  • Recruit precinct captains in as many precincts as possible. These precinct captains should be given proper training on their job and how to do it. One of their main jobs should be to recruit as many volunteers as possible, and if leaders emerge, designate them to be representatives for certain campaigns, thus building the grassroots network for candidates and campaigns.
  • Raise money to help out initially those campaigns which are the most competitive and whose campaigns are the most competent. If more monetary resources become available, DECs should give to campaigns which are considered "long shots" (this helps tie down Republican resources which would normally go toward competitive races), however they should be wary of giving to campaigns which don't seem competent. Campaigns which don't have their act together (campaigns which don't seem to be going out into the public that often, or don't have their priorities straight) will waste resources given to them and it won't be worth the investment.
Campaigns should realize that they need to do the following, and not wait for the DEC:
  • Plan a Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) campaign.
  • Plan an absentee ballot and early vote campaign.
  • Raise money for campaign functions
  • Organize phone banks, canvassing efforts, direct-mail, and media efforts
Despite each entity's role, it doesn't mean they can't ever collaborate or work together to get certain tasks done. DECs have volunteer and donor lists (or should have them or are developing them) which will be valuable to campaigns and should be shared. Anything the DEC plans to do in terms of advertising or getting their overall message out should be coordinated with campaigns. In turn, individual campaigns should share their GOTV, absentee and early vote campaigns, and planned days of canvassing, phone banks, direct mail, and media efforts, with the DEC so the DEC can play the middle man and avoid overlap or voter irritation in the form of over contacting by all of the campaigns.

Working together and knowing each other's roles, the DEC and individual campaigns will enhance each other's efforts, present a united front capable of real leadership to the public, and greatly increase the chances of victory.

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