Saturday, August 20, 2016

DemoFest helps future candidates—"meet the voters"—"contrast with Brownback supporters"—"but not negative name calling"

By SJ Otto
I learned a lot while attending a round table discussion at DemoFest 2016, at the Drury Plaza Hotel (the old Broadview) here in Wichita last night.
This discussion was given by some of Kansas' successfully elected Democrats, including Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau, Representative Brandon Whipple and Representative Jim Ward. Each speaker gave their own tips on how to win elections. This event was designed to help new Democratic candidates for Kansas offices with the techniques of good campaigning.
Some of the messages that the team suggested included the need to have direct contact with voters, knock on doors, the need to contrast between the candidates and those supporting our Governor Sam Brownback and the use of mailers.
"Build a relationship with the voters," Whipple said. "They may not remember all the issues you brought up but they will remember you."
This was probably the most important strategy the group talked about. Whipple said it was important not to try to come off looking smarter than the potential voters. He added that it was important to know what issues will act as triggers to the voters. 
"You should be asking them 'What do you want to talk about?" Whipple said.
Whipple added that it is important to follow up with mailers. He said that items mailed to potential voters play a crucial role in elections.
"Usually there are ugly mailers sent out in the last two weeks," he added. "The Republicans often send out nasty mailers at that time."
Ward talked about the importance of contrasting the candidate with their opponent.
"There is negative campaigning and contrast campaigning," Ward said. "Negative campaigning would include 'Crooked Hillary' and 'I have big hands."
He made a difference between name calling that looked childish and contrasting between a persons opponent.
Here Representative Brandon Whipple speaks.

"I'm going against Brownback,' is an example of contrast campaigning," Ward added.
All the elected officials there talked of the importance of connecting their opponent's support of Brownback and his policies. They all noted that voter's opinions of him are at a historical low and it is important to take advantage of this.
"People who won in the last election said 'I'm going against Brownback," Ward said.
When it came to advertising, Faust-Goudeau said to take advantage of cheaper publications and institutions. She mention local news papers, such as Active Aging, The Community Voice and advertising on the Wichita city busses.
She also said it was important to always be either well dressed or have good clothes within reach to look presentable at all times.
"Watch out for your opponent taking ugly pictures of you," she said. "Be sure not to be seen just looking around."
Faust-Goudeau added it was important to always look engaged with people.
"Even dress well at picnics or casual events," she said.
Other important points were that campaigning is hard work, but Kansans admire hard workers. Mailers are a good backup after going door to door with potential voters.

Fund raising is important. Candidates were encouraged to ask people for money. Their are PACs and other organizations that have money and want to give it to candidates. Candidates were warned not to make a big deal of negative charges, but it is important to respond to them. If there is no denial of a negative accusation, people tend to believe it.
After all the sessions there was comradery and refreshments.

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