Campaign Insider

Campaign pioneer Harry Walter dies in Canada

by C&E Staff  / Jan 03 2014

Harry Walter, whose ads were credited with helping Willy Brandt remain chancellor of West Germany in a 1972 snap federal election, passed away in his sleep Dec. 31 at his ranch in Canada.

He was considered one of the pioneers of European political consulting and one of the first to bring American campaign techniques across the Atlantic. 

A longtime member of the International Association of Political Consultants, he served as the organization's president from 1983

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Fundraisers eye FEC after Rep. Stockman accepts Bitcoins  

Fundraisers eye FEC after Rep. Stockman accepts Bitcoins  

by Sean J. Miller / Jan 03 2014

Despite a lack of clarity from the FEC, at least one prominent Senate candidate is now accepting donations via Bitcoin.

The move has some fundraising experts wondering how the FEC will react. When the commission heard a proposal to allow candidates to accept Bitcoins last November, commissioners were concerned about campaigns collecting the personal data of the donors.

During transactions involving the currency, only the parties' bitcoin addresses are public. The hearing ended

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New Year's resolutions for every campaign

by Jason McDonald / Jan 01 2014

Over the last year, I had the opportunity to interview operatives from around the country as host of the “Getting Elected” podcast. At the end of each interview I like to ask my guest, “What’s the biggest mistake you see campaigns and candidates making over and over?” Based on their answers, here are the four common mistakes that every campaign should resolve to avoid in 2014.

Neglecting to focus on the big picture
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Success outside the Beltway

Success outside the Beltway

by Anne Hathaway / Dec 27 2013

If you're asking yourself whether it makes sense to base your operations outside of the Beltway or set up a regional satellite office, the answer is definitely yes.

Whereas the media power centers are still based in New York and Washington, D.C., the political power centers are rapidly relocating to state capitals.  

I saw this firsthand in the spring of 2011 when then-Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) weighed a potential campaign for president. Reporters

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The collectible yard sign 

by Ben Donahower  / Dec 26 2013

What was on my Christmas list? Yard signs, of course. And this season didn't disappoint. But for those politicos whose cravings went unfulfilled by this year’s gift haul, don’t fret. There’s always next year when your Ralphie-esque wish for collectible campaign paraphernalia can come true. 

There are two types of yard signs that make for an interesting collection. The first are historically or personally significant yard signs: The candidates that you have worked for and

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A consultant's guide to down-ballot fundraising

A consultant's guide to down-ballot fundraising

by Brandon Lewis / Dec 23 2013

If you’re a consultant who works for candidates seeking state or local offices, you have your own set of unique fundraising challenges to overcome. Unlike larger federal races or statewide efforts where a full-time finance director is at the helm, your candidate is likely running while holding down a full-time job with part-time campaign staffers or a motley crew of volunteers.

From your perspective, fundraising serves two purposes: It increases the probability that your candidate

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Why red state Democrats keep getting left behind

Why red state Democrats keep getting left behind

by David Rosen / Dec 19 2013

Will putting the Christ back in Christmas help embattled Democrats? That’s a question circulating in the wake of Sen. Mark Pryor’s (D-Ark.) latest campaign ad, which begins: “I'm not ashamed to say that I believe in God, and I believe in His word.” The ad is a tender, if blunt, assertion that faith should trump partisanship. It defines Pryor in explicitly religious terms, but why is he doing it, and what does he hope

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Will USPS follow Canada's delivery cut? 

by Sean J. Miller  / Dec 13 2013

It's rare for consultants to look north of the border to read the tea leaves in Washington but when it comes to the future of mail delivery that's exactly what happened this week. 

After Canada Post announced it plans to phase out urban home delivery over the next six years and increase stamp prices, mail consultants wondered if the U.S. Postal Service could make a similar move to stop its $5 billion-annual net

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Purple Strategies hires ex-Bush, Obama advisors for New England office

by C&E Staff  / Dec 12 2013

Purple Strategies is expanding into New England and bringing on two New Hampshire consultants. True to the firm's bi-partisan focus, they've hired a strategist from each party. 

Former Bush family advisor Patrick Griffin, who is the CEO of GY&K Marketing, the largest advertising, strategic communications, and integrated marketing firm in Northern New England, will join the firm together with 2008 Obama campaign advisor Jim Demers, who's a former state lawmaker and president and CEO of

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GOP tech startup finds home in Austin

GOP tech startup finds home in Austin

by Sean J. Miller / Dec 11 2013

The words “Republican consulting firm” and “tech startup” aren't exactly synonymous, particularly in Austin, the liberal bastion of Texas. Justin Gargiulo, a campaign veteran from Connecticut, hopes to change that.

VoterTrove, the firm Gargiulo founded in March 2012, recently joined the Capital Factory, Austin's prestigious business incubator program, which even President Obama has taken note of. Gargiulo's firm is the first political startup accepted into the program. Both sides noticed. 

"Their only concern was,

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Lessons from McAuliffe '13: Go digital early and often 

by C&E Staff / Dec 10 2013

The McAuliffe campaign is being held up as a paragon of digital advocacy.

Since defeating Republican Ken Cuccinelli in November, the Virginia governor-elect's campaign has been widely recognized as one of the best-run efforts of 2013 and part of the reason for that was its use of digital advertising -- at least according to the consultants who helped the Democrat to a narrow victory. 

“A clear pattern has been developing for years now. Campaigns

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Did Rep. Barrow show Sen. Pryor how to advertise? 

by Sean J. Miller  / Dec 05 2013

God and guns are the new stars of Democratic TV advertising in the South. 

The combo are veteran cast members of the GOP's regional spots, but endangered Democrats and their consultants increasingly see touting faith and firearms as the best way to distinguish their candidates from the national party.

"The key to succeeding in an ad is being authentic and meeting the voters where they are, but it has to be true to you as

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