Portland Monthly Magazine’s current (March) feature on the Sean Cruz for Senate campaign, titled “The Underdog” has inspired me to share a page from the Sean Cruz for Senate campaign manual:
“Campaigning for public office is like swimming in the ocean. Paddle hard, keep your head above water, but be aware that the ocean will go its own way.”
Facts to consider:
1. The Oregon legislature has no better than a 30% approval rating among voters, a serious problem for any incumbent or career politician in the presence of a qualified challenger (Ahem!)
2. An incumbent or career politician enjoys large advantages, such as easy access to PAC money and endorsements and the support of lobbying organizations and special interest groups, but Oregon voters have the luxury of weeks to become independently informed and make their decisions final and the opportunity to cast secret ballots in the privacy of their own homes (Hurray for the secret ballot!).
3. Voters everywhere are frustrated at the lack of meaningful campaign finance reform and the sense that the next election will bring more of the same. They are open to new ideas that free campaign financing from special interests. This is the essential dilemma for candidates that rely on PAC money (see point #1 and #2).
4. The Oregon 2008 primary will feature vigorously-fought presidential and U.S Senate races that are attracting many new voters. These voters want to see change happen, and they are aching for new voices in politics at all levels (see point #1).
5. The several publicly-funded races for Portland Mayor and City Commissioner have primary budgets much larger than those in local legislative races, insuring a flood of campaign advertising that will try patience and produce heaps of recycling. The retention rate will be low, and bulk mailing is costly.
6. In my race, Senate District 23, voters will not have to struggle with nuances between candidates. The differences are significant and easy to distinguish.
7. All roads lead to the Voters Pamphlet (I’ll see you there!).