Thursday, November 20, 2014

We have a Winner!

All the votes are (mostly) counted, although they won't become official until Dec. 2. GreenDog Campaigns did a good job on this off year. It was low key, but there was a tight and hard fought race in Los Gatos for Town Council. We are pleased to say our client Rob Rennie, pulled out a narrow victory. He was a first time candidate, with a great record, serving on the Parks Commission and as a past director of the Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club. Also a stalwart in Rotary and other service and community orgainiztions.

We congratulate Rob Rennie on his win for Los Gatos Town Council!

Closer to home, we did some minor advising and calls for an upset candidate in the Marin Municipal Water District, Larry Bragman, currently serving on the Fairfax Town Council. Go Larry!

And also in Fairfax, we helped Measure J, a continuation of Measure F, public safety tax we did several years ago. With two calls by the very competent Police Chief, Measure J was a runaway winner.

Another big winner was Team Richmond, the people's choice in Richmond, across the Bay from us in Contra Costa County. Chevron spent huge with big consultant mailings, billboards and TV ads, but the people were not fooled by all the glitz and negative campaigning and the good guys won.  GreenDog presented a training to several of their candidates and volunteers at the beginning of the campaign. Richmond Rocks!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Close Votes - Sweating it out way past Election Day

In California, the Registrars of Voters don't have to report their final vote tallies until December 2. More and more voters are choosing to vote by mail, becoming permanent absentee voters, and more and more of these are not sent in early, but walked into the County Elections office or a polling place on Election Day.

This means, in some close races, we won't know the outcome for weeks. And it seems every County does it differently. In Santa Clara, for instance, where I had a candidate this year, the late absentee ballots were posted as they were counted each day, including on the weekends. My candidate appears to be winning as the vote totals are holding pretty steady day by day, but it is close.

They have, as of this writing, finished all late absentee ballots or vote-by-mail (those tuned in at the polls and so not counted with the others and not available on election night) and are working on provisional ballots. Those are the ones where there is some question about the voter's eligibility to vote, or whether they are voting in the right precinct. For those who vote in the wrong precinct, the Registrar must go through the ballot carefully, so that the votes cast for some races (like State or Countywide ones, for instance) are counted, and those that may have been erroneously cast for local races in a District in which the voter is not eligible to vote, discarded. See how complex this is?

In Marin, they expect to finish the counting of all late absentee ballots by Wednesday of this week, but not release the numbers until Friday. In a close race hanging in the balance, this can be agonizing. Two such races seem to be affected in Marin. There are two of these biting their nails as we speak.

In Sonoma, there don't seem to be any cliff-hangers, but it has been the practice there, not to release any of the counts until the last day.

Clearly some uniformity is needed. Just like I said about the way ballot statements are published in the voters pamphlets, which also vary county by County.

I wrote about that one in this Blog a while back, when the ballot statements came out. Let's see what happens with our new Secretary of State, Alex Padilla.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Breaking news - Some voters buck tide, vote in their own interests

This just in.  It seems that contrary to the Republican/corporate sweep across America, there were a few pockets of crusty holdouts who voted in their own best interests, not the interests of corporations, as so many of their fellow voters did last Tuesday.

Shocking as it is, some voters questioned the conventional and accepted wisdom of the Supreme Court , and said, "heck no corporations are not people, or if they are, I'm a more important person, and my interests come first."

They showed this contrariness by voting in favor of measures for raising the minimum wage in some surprising places like Arkansas for Pete's sake, home of Walmart, a very unhappy corporate person right now. They also passed measures against fracking, not just on the Left Coast, where measures passed in Mendocino and San Benito Counties, but in Ohio and Denton Texas.

But anyone feeling sorry for the corporations should take heart that they are not accepting this insult to their personhood lying down.  "Who are these peons, who probably committed voter fraud in the first place, to tell us we can't claim our God-given right to drill under their land and set their water on fire," asked an indigent spokesperson for the Texas Oil and Gas Association which is already cranking up a lawsuit  to overturn the fracking ban.   
In another unlikely and humiliating rebuff to the corporate authority, which really has their best interests at heart, voters in  Richmond California, home of  Chevron, who is itself a major employer (and polluter, thus also boosting the economy in terms of hospital admissions and sales of hazmat suits) rebuffed the hand picked City Council candidates Chevron spent millions of their hard earned money promoting with cheery billboards and TV ads.
"How could people be so blind as to vote for candidates belonging to something called the Richmond Progressive Alliance, bad branding if I've ever seen it," grumbled a corporate executive from his vacation home in Aruba, shortly after election results were posted online and blasted out by all the major news outlets in the country.

"Next time, we'll hire some guys to dress in baggy pants and hoodies to go out into the hood and talk sense into these people, except now we have to pay them $15 an hour, so we have to think long and hard on that one."

Maybe a lawsuit would be more effective.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Game over - New game on!

It's never too soon to start campaigning for the next cycle, or to start planning anyway. You lost? Take today off, regrop, figure out what went wrong, what went right, and if you think it might work the next time.

Sadly, today the country lost. But we are resilient and will pick up and move forward. We survived Nixon and Bushes. 2016 - here we come!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Millennials might take a lesson from Boomers

So the Millennials will not be voting or even worse, those who bother to vote may be voting Republican.  So says an oped citing a Harvard poll in today's SF Chronicle.  Many of us Boomers didn't vote either, back in the day,we who were too busy making revolution, or smashing the state.  At least we got out and did something, even if it didn't work. Think of the power of all those votes that weren't cast.

Millennials have the power too, if they choose to use it.  If all the 30 and unders got out to vote, and even if they started running for office themselves, they could make a difference. They could drive the discussion, rule the elections, see the change they are now too cynical to believe will ever happen. (Can cynicism explain why the ones who say they will vote Republican outnumber those who will vote Democratic?)

If Boomers had voted in the numbers they had in the sixties, we may have seen a very different government over the last fifty years.  Think of it, then do something about the next fifty.

The future is in your hands.


Friday, October 31, 2014

What should I do in the last weekend?

Candidates always ask me how to spend the last weekend before the election most productively. These tips assume you have done all the right things up to now, mail, website, media, social media, walk, walk walk. Now, go out and give your campaign a boost this last weekend.

1. Keep walking precincts and calling voters. Update your list so you are only going to those homes and phones where unmarked ballots still reside. Can't afford a new walk list? Just go to poll voters. You know they haven't cast their ballot yet, and maybe seeing your smiling face on their doorstep will get them to cast it for you.

2. Robo call. Just one. Very short. Your name, your office. One point. Your telephone number. Thanks.

3. Make sure your GOTV lists are prepared and you have volunteers to hit the polls on Election Day. This means you have either printed out or highlighted on your walk sheets those voters who said they would vote for you. Now you have to make sure they get to the polls and cast that ballot.

4. Last minute email blasts. Ask for help, volunteers, money (if you don't have debts, you haven't been running hard enough; if you have money left over, your in trouble deep!), and invite everyone to watch the returns with you on Tuesday night.

5. Update the website with some excitement. We're on a roll. Down to the wire. Pics of you and your volunteers (and their dogs) handing out literature.

6. Stop by every single public event you can and get rid of every last piece of literature you have.

7.  OK. When those things are done, get your ten friends together and start waving signs. No, this will not make anyone who hasn't thought about the race yet decide to vote for you, but someone on the fence might appreciate the show of enthusiasm.

8. Get some rest. Monday you will be calling undecided poll voters as well as making reminder calls to those poll voters on your list who you identified as voting for you. Tuesday you will going non-stop, as you make sure all your voters get to the polls, if it means dragging them from their dinners at 7 PM, pleading and moaning that you need their vote. Now.

9. Read your horoscope. Interpret liberally.

10. Never. Stop. Campaigning.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Don't Forget to Vote! Drop that Absentee Ballot off or it won't count

I know you know this, but that absentee ballot will do you no good sitting on the coffee table at 8 PM on election day.  Yes, you missed the deadline to mail it in. But, you may still drop it off at your Registrar of Voters office anytime between now and 8 PM on election Day or at any polling place. Who knows you may be the one vote that makes a difference in a key race, when all those last minute ballots are counted, usually about two weeks out.

As a report in Capital Alert noted: "More than one-half of California’s 17.6 million registered voters have requested vote-by-mail ballots for Tuesday’s election. The question now is: Will they use them?"

The answer, my friends, is up to you. Mark your ballot and then take the time to get it in.

Read more here: