Alarming News

July 27, 2006

News that isn’t new

There’s a brouhaha about Republicans leaving their party label off of campaign ads, implying that the (R) party label has become the political third rail. Nonsense. It’s always been the case that party labels are left off in states that generally swing one way or the other. Democrats in Colorado during the ‘04 election did not mention their party anywhere, even Democrats that ultimately won (like the Salazar brothers, one now a Senator and one a Congressman whose pitch letter appears here sans the “D” word). Bush was leading in the polls there, why would anyone draw attention to their party when it might only be a minus for them?

It makes sense to leave off the “R” word in blue states like Maryland or New York, maybe even in ‘purple’ states like Minnesota. But the swipe at Mark Kennedy, running for U.S Senate from Minnesota, doesn’t make a lot of sense. For one thing, his campaign ad is excellent. It’s funny, self-deprecating, and sends the message that he’s just a regular guy, an “independent” who doesn’t do what the party tells him to. And, as he’s running in one of those aformentioned “purple” states, why would he risk alienating voters turned off to labels?

Most annoying about this whole story is that every campaign season reporters treat it as new and unique that some candidates don’t use their party labels in their pitches to voters. Working, briefly, on a State Senate race two years ago, a now-fairly-prominent writer of NY politics hammered my candidate for having the word “Republican” appear only after “Independence” and “Conservative” party labels on his literature. Last year, the City Council candidate I worked for encountered the same problem, though mostly from the anonymous commenters on Politicker.

So go on and leave your party label off, Mr. Kennedy. And if you go on to win the election, govern exactly as you said you would. People are electing you, not your party registration.

Update: I found a pic of a John Salazar sign that I took while I was in CO. No mention of being a Democrat there either:

Send a Farmer to Congress Salazar sign

Posted by Karol at 05:28 PM |
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Comments

Kennedy is not the one that bothers me. Tom Reynolds, chair of the RNCC, apparently did not mention his party in some of his and the idiots at kos are going wild with it. That’s just plain dumb for a party poohbah.
And based on his idiotic comments to Dana Milbak, it looks like Steele is trying other ways to distance himself from the GOP. Looks to me like Mrs. Dole got herself yet another candidate who is not ready for prime time. Races that looked like possible pickups-MD, FL, NE, NM, WV and maybe even MN-are starting to look very unpromising while RI, PA, OH, MO and MT look to be damn close. Dole and Frist are both gone after 2006 and frankly the GOP should celebrate.

Posted by: Von Bek at July 27, 2006 at 6:32 pm

idiotic comments to Dana Milbak, it looks like Steele is trying other ways to distance himself from the GOP
Yea, if you’re going to say something “on background,” it’s generally best not to do it in a crowded yesterday, with seven reporters.

Posted by: Steve at July 28, 2006 at 3:14 am

Remember, you can’t fool the voters. The truth will come out and they might feel deceived.
That said, it is not required that you put party affiliation on every piece of lit, on every sign or in every mail piece. But to completely hide from it is disingenuous. If you feel that strongly about not being associated with a political party, you can always run as an independent.
There’s also the issue of prominence. You don’t need to fly the label like a flag either. But somewhere, maybe on the back at the bottom, you should mention that you are endorsed by the republican party or that voters can vote for you on Nov 7 on the republican line. If they read that far down, they’re already open to voting for you.
And for the people who only judge by party affiliation, and would rather die than vote republican, you’re never going to get those people. No matter how well you fool them on the street, there’s no getting around the fact that your name will be in the republican column on election day.
Better to get people who might be a little squeemish used to the idea over time that they might actually prefer the republican in a race. If they keep hearing about you and your campaign is full of substance (instead of what they are usually full of) you can grow on people. It happens all the time. But rarely when all your indy or cross over voters walk into the booth to find you were playing fast and loose with your party. That creates unneccesary ill will at the worst possible moment.

Posted by: Robert Hornak at July 28, 2006 at 10:00 am

It isn’t about “fooling” the voters, it’s about enhancing the positive. Obviously, voters in Colorado had no problem voting for Democrats like the Salazar boys, but they still left off their party labels and, more significantly, they were never seen with John Kerry. Kerry was in CO preparing for, I believe, debate #2 and yet had no events with the US Senate candidate. It’s just smart politics, it doesn’t mean anything.

Posted by: Karol at July 28, 2006 at 11:51 am

Oh, I should also mention on the flip side of this: when I worked in Georgia for Herman Cain, we’d answer the phone “Herman Cain, Republican for U.S. Senate”. Why? Obvious: Georgia loves Republicans. It’s a red, red state. And, we were in a primary AND a black guy is always immediately perceived as a Democrat. Again, it’s about accentuating positive attributes. Sometimes it’s being very blunt with your party label, sometimes it isn’t.

Posted by: Karol at July 28, 2006 at 12:35 pm

I’d vote for you Karol. When are you running? :)
I’d also like to get Herman Cain to NY and speak at the YRs.
I’d also like to add that I cross-posted your entry at UE.
http://urbanelephants.com/nyc/node/4727 :) O

Posted by: danielnyc at July 28, 2006 at 2:38 pm

Would that have changed Karol had Mr. Cain gotten out of the primary (and Georgia is red but it’s not red, red like say Utah)? Probably not but of course a primary campaign is going to bash you over the head to let you know what party it is. You’re never going to tick off Republicans by saying “Republican for Senate.”
As long as I’m on the topic let me just vent about how pissed I am that Ralph Reed made the run for Lt. Gov as opposed to Mr. Cain; it would have been an excellent stepping stone towards wherever he wants to go next.

Posted by: Von Bek at July 28, 2006 at 3:16 pm

Karol, you are misunderstanding me. I’m not saying that someone running in Manhattan should answer the phone, “Karol Sheinin, Republican for Goddess.”
And I agreed with you that you don’t have to fly the flag if it’s dicey, and that you don’t have to have party label on every piece of campaign material. All I;’m saying is that if people want to find out what party you belong to, and they have trouble figuring it out, that is bad.
Accentuate all the positives you like. Make the campaign message about whatever you want. Just don’t completely hide from your party. If that’s your attitude, then run as an independent. Then you can give the wink, wink to the republicans and say, “I may be an independent, but I represent you.”

Posted by: Robert Hornak at July 28, 2006 at 6:48 pm
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