The primary election of former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams proved lots of things. Political nerds will confirm Abrams had a far better winning strategy powered by a dynamic field plan. Reports that Abrams had teams in cities and towns from north to south Georgia are verified by the outcome of the vote. Abrams took lead in the vast majority of Georgia counties. My own community in the metro area had fast moving GOTV canvassers that did not identify with either candidate directly, but were formerly connected with Leader Abrams, rushing from door to door to remind voters to get out and vote just before election day.
Although exquisitely executed, Abrams’ strategy is not a secret. Outside of the “leaked” campaign plan earlier this year, the Abrams team exhibited perfect calculation of long standing campaign formulas. Contacting voters directly has shown time and again to be the winning strategy. Direct voter contact coupled with Abrams’ earned media campaign, which had her listed as the front runner, propelled her into a lead bigger than imagined by her opponent. In Georgia, we call the large margin between Abrams and her opponent a “molly whopping.” Evans has since accepting her loss with grace and has fully supported Abrams in her continued campaign.
What does the Abrams winning strategy mean for the November 2018 election against the Republican nominee? It means Abrams needs “mo money, mo money, mo money!” Voters can understand the cost of putting up a television ad or littering the highways with yard signs. However, the cost associated with going door to door to encourage progressive registered voters to go to the polls is much higher. Canvassing is the absolute slowest and most expensive way to campaign per vote. However, canvassing – that is knocking door to door – is also the most reliable way to get a vote. Abrams proved there is no way to get around it.
Democratic voters wanting to get a head start on helping Abrams get to the Governor’s mansion need to pony up dollars and/or time. Talking on social media or hash tagging your way into #AmericanHistory is not going to do the trick if the Abrams strategy will work again November.
Some Democrats begrudged the primary battle between the Stacey’s. If practice makes perfect, then Abrams is just getting warmed up. During the primary, Leader Abrams got to put her organized field strategy into motion, test out weak points, and gather copious amounts of data to help identify her base which is the key to her November election. A outwardly weak opponent may not have primed Abrams enough to give it all in November. Now where will she go with it? Will the Abrams team …
(A) Register new voters excited about Georgia making American history
(B) Turn out the base of existing registered voters
(C) Swing to the middle to pick up independent leaning voters
(D) Find voters tired of Trump, pointing guns at teens, or threatening Georgia based airlines in exchange for 13 people…
Whatever the strategies employed, my guess is Abrams’ historic win has encouraged progressives and Democrats to talk to their neighbors and family members to ensure they are registered TODAY! Democrats around the country are receiving requests to donate in the Georgia campaign, will Georgia Democrats invest as much into their own state as other democrats from around the country?
While Georgia Democrats work to stuff Abrams’ coffers with campaign donations, we are simultaneously popping our popcorn to watch the remainder of the Republican run off a.k.a. the game show entitled “Who Can Act Trumpier?”