Winning the ground game
After the success Democrats had this past week with Craig Johnson picking up a state senate seat in Long Island a new, yet not so new, model for winning campaigns, especially in moderate to conservative districts has emerged. And that is good old canvassing and a strong ground game.
The Working Families Party deserve a ton of credit for their focus on this race and their ability to mobilize and effectively train campaign volunteers to bring out unprecedented amount of voters for a special election in frigid conditions. With the help of the WFP, 45,000 homes were canvassed in 28 days in this district, aiding Craig Johnson's victory. That is no small feat.
via Daily Politics;
WFP supplied the campaign with 75 field canvassers, a hyperactive communications director, and support from party-linked unions, proving as always that there is no substitute for seasoned ground troops.
This victory in Long Island is the first Democratic state senate pick up in decades with very similar parallels to the history of several seats in the thirteenth district. We recently saw the start of a similar program with Manny Innamorato's campaign;
“Manny’s doing a lot of door-to-door, meeting people, talking one-on-one,” he said. “Those are potential voters. It’s a foundationary tool for getting out the vote. That process begins with petitioning.” [via Tom W's blog]
The WFP GOTV effort has shown us that the old rhetoric that a seat is not winnable or is too conservative no longer rings true. How scalable and influential can this be in a congressional district in a Presidential year, well that remains to be seen. However we have learned one thing, that here in New York City, where incumbents and party machines seem to rule, good old canvassing and volunteer armies can shake things up from time to time.