The leason learned from the special election for the 12th Congressional District of Pennsylvania was crystal clear: Do not take this election for granted.
I'm sure you don't, but let's look at all the speaical elections up to this point and see how they got elected:
Massachusetts Senate Race
Scott Brown won on a very anti-ObamaCare message. He kept hammering Martha Coakley's love of anything Obama. But did other stuff:
He built a grassroots effort to get out the vote.
Brown talked to anyone, about everything.
He wasn't just the Tea Party candidate, Brown was the people's candidate.
New York's 23rd Congressional District
Doug Hoffman came close, real close, to edging out Bill Owens. The only reason he didn't, was because of two factors:
Bill Owens ran on a Pro-Life and Anti-ObamaCare campaign*.
Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District
All Tim Burns did was attack Mark Critz for being a Democrat. That didn't wash as Mark Critz ran on an Anti-ObamaCare, Pro-Life, and Pro-Gun campaign. What Burns should have done was attack Critz for going to be another Bill Owens. There is no such thing as a Moderate Democrat!! Mark Critz had two things going for him:
A huge Democrat primary that turned out the vote.
Republicans split the vote with multiple candidates.
Two things happen in each race that shaped the results:
1) Grassroot efforts.
2) Message, MESSAGE, MESSAGE!!
Your run for this, the people's seat, will be uphill... All. The. Way.
Ginny Brown-Waite has indeed retired, but she has also endorsed yet another Progressive Republican** Richard Nugent:
1) Nugent has expanded his role as sheriff instead of shrink it.
2) He has already taken in thousands of DC lobbyist dollars.
3) Dick*** thinks he can run his campaign part-time.
Some ideas on flanking Nugent:
1) Paint him as a Big Government Progressive, which he is one. He has expanded his role as sheriff. Ask him if he is going to expand government while in his role as our representative. Make him justify his actions in taking over the jail.
2) With his entry into the primary race and new lobbyist money, Nugent is now a Washington Insider. Make sure you keep telling people that you, NOT NUGENT, are the citizen representative. Remind people that this is the People's Seat, not Brown-Waite's to fill as she sees fit. Richard Nugent is the new Martha Coakley.
3) Nugent is going to be a part-time candidate. Hell, this guy doesn't even have a campaign site up yet. Nugent thinks just because he has an "R" next to his name and Brown-Waite's endorsement, he thinks he'll slide into this, the people's seat. Ask him point blank if he is going to be the part-time representative as well.
4) Keep doing what you are doing. Talk with the people and above all, listen to them. And please, do not forget Lake County (and north Polk). We are not in the Tampa Bay media market. We get the Orlando Sentinel and Orlando TV. I know it's easy to just stop at The Villages, but I suggest spend the few extra dollars and try to make a stop in Clermont if you haven't already.
5) Be the Conservative's Conservative, and don't be scared of that even in the general election. Both Bill Owens and Mark Critz sometimes ran right of their Republican challengers. Do not forget that fact.
6) Don't believe the media hype. Even though he is the front runner, Jim Piccillo does a have a primary challenge in Tom Doolan and David Werder. Focus on Nugent until he is soundly put away.
7) Stick to the issues. Sure you should question Nugent, but follow it up with a real issue debate. Hammer him over the Hernando County Jail, then follow it up that you do not believe in expanding government.
This applies to everyone currently running for office. You are not guaranteed a win. A day resting from here to November 2nd, is a day wasted. Now is not the time to relax. Don't wait until someone invites you to a speaking engagement, go out there and introduce yourself to the public at large. If it takes one person at a time, then meet one person at a time. You are not too good as to stand out on a street corner and shake the hands of everyone who walks by. If you think the heat is bad, the idea of two more years of Speaker Pelosi is even worse.
*Of couse, we all know what happen then. Owens voted for ObamaCare with the federal funding for abortions.
**Or RINO, take your pick. He recently took over the county jail from Corrections Corporation of America, which has run the jail for 22 years.
***Dick is short for Richard. I will never get tired of calling him Dick really.