@edmarkey and @danwinslow have critical upper hand in GOTV effort #masen #mapoli

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While high profile debates and low flying bi-planes grab our attention, the fate of each US Senate campaign now rests in a little known and rarely covered realm of politics, get out the vote or GOTV.

Getting out your vote, starts first with identifying your vote, a process that can easily take several weeks for a special election and in a regularly scheduled election it takes months of preparation and grunt work leading up to the big day.

So it was ominous sign for the Gomez camp Wednesday when a staffer sent out an email declaring that they had “just got in our first batch of phones and are looking to fill some call shifts…As you can imagine, in this shortened primary season, it is even more important to get calls done and ID voters to come out and vote for Gabriel.”

Campaigns often ignore GOTV tasks for more glorious pursuits that staffers [and reporters] no doubt find more intellectually stimulating, glamorous or just plain easier. Hard to see the fun in door knocking on a cold damp March day.

But ground game failure can often result in complete disaster, as Mitt Romney learned in 2012:

If they’ve been working the phones and doors, as Scott Brown did in 2010, camps should have identified by now a core base of voters highly committed to their candidate on April 30th.

Markey Press Secretary, Andrew Zucker, says the camp has “built the strongest grassroots operation in this state, recruiting more than 5,000 volunteers who have held more than 2,000 voter contact events.”

The Markey camp has staked everything on a boots on the ground GOTV model, highlighted by the camapign’s novel GOTV summit this Sunday to bring “together hundreds of Markey leaders from across the state to prepare for Get Out the Vote.

The Lynch camp is planning an olde fashioned “word of mouth” effort and declined to detail their GOTV strategy for this story.

Markey has also been significantly helped by the League of Conservation Voters which plans to spend $650,000 to knock 219,000 doors for Ed Markey.

It is a blueprint “local enforcer John Walsh” has used to get everyone from Deval Patrick (talented candidate) to Suzanne Bump (out classed candidate) elected.

Way back in February, WBUR explained the Lynch and Markey approaches:

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In a low turnout special election every volunteer hour wasted holding signs is an hour not spent on direct voter contact. Stand outs have a low rate of return, when the special election audience is so small.

On the GOP side, with even a smaller voter pool the race is tougher to read than a Nantucket fog, but one thing is clear the Winslow camp, like Markey, has invested significant resources on GOTV having knocked 6,000 doors and connected 50,000 calls to likely GOP voters.

According to Winslow Communications Director Charlie Pearce, Winslow is the only candidate “in the GOP primary to make a significant investment in a solid ground game. In a campaign that is likely to have only around 200,000 voters this is going to matter. By Election Day we will have personally contacted every likely voter in this state. That will be the difference in our margin of victory.”

Since GOP voters tend to live in suburban neighborhoods phone banking is a more practical direct voter contact tool.

And while the Gomez camp is just now installing phones to conduct voter identification, Alicia Preston of the Sullivan camp said they’ve “knocked on thousands of doors, made thousands of calls, and are very excited with the response we have received.”

Eighteen days to go.

Man up? Dial up!

@mikesullivanma hires new comm team #mapoli #masen

Sullivan has hired Brown 2010 vet Alicia Preston as Comm Dir and Kaitlyn Smith as Press Secretary. 

Sullivan quote:

“I am very excited to have Alicia and Kaitlyn join our team. I know their experience and energy will help to spread our message of shared conviction and common concerns,” Sullivan said.  “Too many people in the Commonwealth and across this country are struggling.  Regardless of  party politics, we all know Washington needs to be more fiscally responsible and we need to get people back to work.  To have the chance to do that, we need to make sure the people of Massachusetts hear our ideas and engage in a discussion with me and our campaign.  Alicia and Kaitlyn know that we need to use every form of modern and traditional communications available to us and I am excited to work with them on this great endeavor.” 

Tea Party activist @LloydMarcus in #Boston to make TV spot in support of @mikesullivanma #masen #mapoli

Update: This is not an April Fools Joke (as far as I know).

Ed Markey has got Tom Steyer and his bi-planes, Mike Sullivan has got Lloyd Marcus and the Tea Party.

Its a US Senate special election, everyone come on down!

According to his latest blog post Marcus is seeking Mike Sullivan supporters to be in a TV spot Tuesday afternoon funded by the Conservative Campaign Committee.

Here is a slice of Mr. Marcus from his Saturday blog post:

Dear Patriots From Lloyd Marcus

I am in a hotel room in Boston. My team, Conservative Campaign Committee, is here filming a TV ad to help conservative candidate Michael Sullivan in Massachusetts.

I just returned from dinner. Checking my email and listening to a recap of the Rush Limbaugh radio show, I find myself fighting a deep sadness for my country. At every turn, it appears the Left is winning the battle for our culture, moving toward the end of America as we know it.

Consideration of God in cultural matters is deemed ignorant – laughable. Morality is now called intolerance. Remarkably, our kids are taught in elementary school that no sex is wrong and only sex which leads to pregnancy is unsafe. Sex Ed includes teaching kids to masturbate with mirrors to introduce them to sexuality. Government funded sexual indoctrination that no sex is wrong begins in kindergarten.

And a sample video from the Conservative Campaign Committee PAC which also owns the campaigntodefeatobama.com

@lynchforsenate and @mikesullivanma plan office openings Saturday #mapoli #masen

Lynch will open his Dorchester field office with a cookout Saturday at 12:30PM. The Lynch “Day of Action” starts with canvassing at 10AM. The office is at 618 Blue Hill Ave, Dorchester.

Sullivan hosts his HQ opening from Noon till 2PM Saturday at 50 Finnell Drive, Weymouth, MA. The candidate will knock doors after the event.

Update:

Markey and Winslow have already opened offices, Gomez plans an office opening in the future.

#GOP #masen candidates dodge, equivocate on #Iraq #War #mapoli

Reading from the statements of all five Massachusetts candidates yesterday regarding the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War you’d be hard pressed to find an outward declaration of support for the war.

Both Markey and Lynch voted in favor of the Iraq War Resolution, even though the Democratic caucus voted against the resolution 81-126 and given the past ten years it would be hard to believe they (especially Markey) would make the same choice again. How progressives square their support for Markey on this count, I’ll never understand.

What about the Republicans?

Each issued statements on the war today and each purposely avoided a direct question posed by email: would you have voted for or against the Authorization of Military Force in Iraq.

Gomez, the former Navy Seal, offered a simple brief statement “honoring the sacrifice of the 62 who gave their lives from Massachusetts”. His campaign declined further comment. Less is more, as all candidates attempted to avoid politicization of the issue on the anniversary.

Winslow issued a decidedly hawkish comment: “There is no doubt that the world is a better and safer place with the end of this dangerous dictator who was an exporter of terrorism.” Not hard to conclude where he stands or would have stood, even though he still dodged the question. The Republican caucus went 215-6 in favor of the resolution.

But it was the Sullivan statement that strikes me as an equivocation: “Sullivan supported the goal of helping to build a free Iraq”.

He supported? As in in the past tense? What is his position now? Does he believe the the Iraq War a mistake?”

So I asked Sullivan spokesperson Lisa Barstow to clarify: “The statement speaks for itself. Not saying he would have voted for it, not saying he would have voted against it”. So why issue a statement that touches at all on your prior position? Why not go all Gomez and say very little?

I can’t true that up with the official comment, “Sullivan supported the goal”, that statement carries the very implication that Sullivan would have voted yes in 2002, but now thinks differently.

At least three times now, Sullivan has shifted when pressed on big issues.

The first instance came as a result of the Walsh ambush on same sex marriage, the second came last week on abortion (covered well by Adam Reilly) and now the Iraq War.

That is a disturbing trend to see in any candidate.

————————————————-

The full candidate statements.

Gomez:
“The country owes the deepest debt of gratitude to the courageous servicemen and women who fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom to protect our liberty. What we should be doing today is honoring the sacrifice of the 62 who gave their lives from Massachusetts in this conflict. It is now our responsibility to ensure that our returning veterans have the job opportunities, training and treatment they deserve.”

Sullivan:
Mike Sullivan supported the goal of helping to build a free Iraq that would respect the human rights of its people and create a more peaceful and secure Middle East — benefiting not only that region but the world.

The cost to America has been significant and personal — 4,600 American lives and many more wounded warriors who deserve our ongoing support. And an American taxpayer investment approaching $1 trillion to build a new, more stable region, which serves to honor the sacrifice of our men and women for generations to come.

Mike takes war and the sacrifice of our servicemen and women very seriously. Mike has traveled to Baghdad and witnessed first-hand the faces of our nation’s patriots. His daughter Kelly presently serves in the Army National Guard and his father and father-in-law both have served. Mike and his wife understand the gravity of the sacrifice of not only the men and women in uniform but also their families.

Even during challenging economic times, Mike is committed to ensuring our military men and women have the right training, equipment and support to execute their dangerous missions successfully, and as safely and quickly as possible so they can return home to their loved ones.

Today’s explosion killing seven Marines in a training operation further underscores the dangers and heroism our men and women in uniform undertake to keep America secure. Our hearts and prayers go out to their families on this sad and consequential day.

Winslow:
“Every man and woman who served our Nation in Iraq, especially those who lost their lives or who were injured, deserves our eternal admiration and appreciation. They ended the reign of Saddam Hussein who was a destabilizing presence in the Middle East. There is no doubt that the world is a better and safer place with the end of this dangerous dictator who was an exporter of terrorism and who no longer controls one of the most important countries in that region.”

@mikesullivanma doubles down on digital gaffe story #masen #mapoli

Mike Sullivan doubled-down yesterday on what would have otherwise been a two bit blog post in an attempt to paint the Boston Globe as a liberal media outlet bent on attacking “a Republican in Massachusetts”.

From the Sullivan campaign blog:

Yesterday, the Globe knowingly got it wrong, choosing to publish an erroneous and misleading story about a required disclaimer in a fundraising email. We suppose that this should be considered good news, because a Republican in Massachusetts under attack means that you are making someone nervous.

and added:

Despite knowing these facts, both the Globe and even a few of our competitive “friends” have used the occasion opportunistically, and gone so far as accusing the campaign of a “digital gaffe.” Frankly, we wish we could say we expected more from the Globe, but we are under no illusion that we will win the Globe’s endorsement, and this incident appears to be an example in which the Globe’s objectivity and accuracy in political reporting must be called into question.

The Sullivan email flap was first reported on gatelywire after being noticed on twitter by masslive.com reporter @shiraschoenberg.

Which posed the question, was Sullivan’s the use of Scott Brown’s name an additional act of plagiarism or some type of back door endorsement from Brown? Either of which would be BIG news.

Turned out to be neither, but the Sullivan camp should have anticipated such questions.

Hence, it was Sullivan camp’s mistake not to include a more descriptive disclaimer in their portion of the email and yes, that is a “digital gaffe”.

The political gaffe here is commenting further on the topic. As I wrote recently Sullivan has a problem staying on message, and while playing the Globe’s victim might make sense in the small world of Republican party politics, it is in fact, an additional off message distraction.

Lastly, digital gaffes can also be acts of omission too, so while we are at it, not responding on twitter in real time to address the situation would be another and not having a YouTube link on your website in 2013 would make three.

@mikesullivanma email appears to be from Brown list #mapoli #masen

Update:

The Globe’s Political Intelligence blog chimed in last night on the topic: Sullivan campaign email carries confusing Scott Brown postscript.

A Sullivan campaign spokeswoman said the campaign rented a list of e-mail addresses from the now defunct Brown 2012 reelection campaign, and that the fine print was included automatically as a disclaimer through the third-party marketing firm that manages the list.

and added:

David Martin, a Boston campaign finance specialist who works with Democratic candidates, said the postscript was clumsily worded, but that doesn’t mean the Sullivan campaign wrote it. When a campaign rents a list of addresses – instead of buying them to keep – the campaign typically writes the content of the main message but does not send it itself. So the postscript could have been written by Brown’s campaign or by the list-management company.

“At the same time, someone should have been technically sophisticated enough to change it so it didn’t look like it was coming from Scott Brown,” Martin said.

Tweeps had opposing views:

Following news that Mike Sullivan’s camp copied a large section of policy statements from the website of Richard Tisei, Sullivan sent out an email to supporters today which at the very end included the language: “This email was sent by: Scott Brown for Senate, PO BOX 566, Wrentham, MA 02093″

Sully email 3

Other sections of the email state in larger print: Paid for by Mike Sullivan for U.S. Senate Committee.

H/T to

@mikesullivanma touts straw poll win #masen #mapoli

Mike Sullivan won a straw poll of Republican activists in North Andover last night with 58% of the nearly 100 votes cast. Gomez and Winslow finished at 23% and 18%.

Sullivan statement:

“I’m grateful that voters are learning more about my record and placing their trust in me,” said Mr. Sullivan, “but it’s still early, and I’m out working hard every day to meet new voters and earn their trust and their vote on April 30 when it matters most.”

“I take my role upholding justice very seriously,” said Mr. Sullivan, who as a Plymouth DA prosecuted criminals who preyed on women and children and in his federal role as U.S. Attorney and directing ATF where he prosecuted terrorists associated with the 9/11 attacks.

“My skills as a prosecutor are what Washington needs now—someone who can cut through red tape, find the truth, and protect the interests of the taxpayers who deserve a government that is efficient and responsive to the people,” Sullivan concluded.

The problem with @mikesullivanma #masen #mapoli

Mike Sullivan, like most of us, loves the sound of his own voice. But being a good candidate, not even a great candidate, requires the skill to know when to answer a question and when to pivot.

Take his WGBH radio hit today.

Should Judge Stearns be dismissed from the Whitey Bulger case?

Did US Attorney Ortiz persecute Aaron Swartz?

And then this one, oye!

Does Sullivan lack the discipline or is he just plain out of practice? Not every media inquiry need be an academic exploration.

He’s not running for state Attorney General or is he?

Note to Mike: Stop talking already, pivot the questions back to your core issues. What are they again? I’m not even sure, because you NEVER pivot back.

Sullivan should try this technique:

REPORTER: Should Judge Stearns be on the Whitey Bulger case?

SULLIVAN: Well there was a time when I’d be very interested in that, but I’m running for US Senate, not US Attorney, I want to focus on creating jobs in our Commonwealth.

So easy. Adam Reilly disagreed with me today that Sullivan should respond to these questions. Reilly is correct from a governing perspective, but from a political angle Sullivan is digging his own grave.