Campaign Activity Plan Overview
- Plan ahead and building a lasting Democratic infrastructure
- Increase Democratic vote share in traditionally Republican precincts
- Work hard in 2018; Build on that work for 2019
- Continue to develop sophisticated precinct operations teams
- Drive recruitment through technology and engagement of Democratic/Progressive groups
- More effectively manage membership with a Vice Chair for Membership or a part time employee responsible for membership growth
Two-part, multi-year plan to increase Democratic vote share in traditionally difficult precincts (CD 10) through canvassing, data improvement, and direct mail.
Objective: (Part 1)To increase Democratic vote share in the 49 precincts of the 10th CD through canvassing of unknown, no-data, independents. Those IDs will be used by the Democratic nominee in CD 10 during the fall. (Part 2) Those same IDs become fresh “targets” for Democratic campaigns during the 2019 fall elections and can be re-engaged through voter contact and paid communication by FCDC.
Execution: Canvass unknown, no-data, and independent voters to determine party ID. ID’d Democrats are targeted with direct mail as part of the FCDC voter guide, or similar mail program, and modified absentee program. The entire program must be well funded (nice literature, for example) and organized. It is derived from a plan that was tested and executed this past winter and spring in HDs 42 and 40. It will require a field plan (See Ken Wheeler plan), funding, and a committed focus by FCDC leadership.
Note on organizing the effort: Additionally, The districts possess our most active indivisible groups in the county: Sully Indivisible, Herndon/Reston Indivisible, and Great Falls (Not really an indivisible group), and VADF. The efforts helps provide an avenue for involvement following the 2017 statewide race. In harnessing this plan we can become the central organizing force for 2018 midterms These activists can remain engaged, put to meaningful work, and become w
Background: The 49 precincts in the 10th CD are some of the most challenging precincts in Fairfax County, and become even more perilous during local election years. These 49 precincts reside in our most competitive magisterial districts: Dranesville, Sully, and Springfield. They are affluent and well-educated voters tend to be more stationary, and therefore will be more likely to vote more regularly once engaged.
Increase the Democratic vote share in traditionally difficult precincts: In 2017, Indivisible 42, led by Ken Wheeler, began canvassing unknown, no-data, and independent households, the canvassers asked a generic democratic ID. Approximately 4 out of 10 households canvassed returned as positive IDs. A similar approach was applied in HD 40, also with similar results.
- 2018: Competitive congressional primary will absorb the lionshare of attention on the committee next year. It presents opportunities in following areas: Fundraising, membership growth, visibility, and data cultivation.
- Apply canvassing strategy learned in HD 40/42 to 10th CD and have data for 2018 midterms and use that as a starting point in 2019
- 2019: Complicated year, we have to juggle many possible primaries (Hunter Mill, Lee, Mason, Springfield) and then competitive general election (Chairman, Springfield, Braddock, Lee, Mason).
Main objective: to build precinct- or precinct-cluster-based teams throughout the county that will take ownership of all Democratic activities within their boundaries. These activities could include, but not be limited to:
- Registering all eligible persons to vote;
- Identifying all voters as to likely party;
- Outreach to all identified Democrats to participation in activities;
- Holding social events;
- Supporting magisterial district Committee and county Committee functions;
- Collaborating with campaign staffs to get out the vote;
- Staffing the polls on primary and election days;
- Supporting precincts in targeted areas.
This objective is based on the neighborhood team model developed and implemented by President Obama’s campaigns. The neighborhood team model is in turn based on sound political science research that has shown the most effective form of political communication is neighbor-to-neighbor.
These teams would be ongoing, permanent structures. They would be active year-round, not just for campaigns, and certainly not just for Election Day. The ultimate goal of each team is to make sure each and every Democrat gets to the polls every year.
Considerations: Since each magisterial district is unique, each district’s path to this main objective may be very different. Our precinct operations team has adopted the Obama campaign’s motto of “Respect, empower, include”, and will use this motto as a guide when working with each district toward the objective.
Some steps to take along the way:
- Form precinct clusters so that the clusters share the same congressional/state senate/house of delegates district when possible, so that everyone will be working to elect the same people.
- Recruit precinct captains (or similar title) for each precinct/precinct cluster who are committed to the main objective;
- Support the precinct captains with training to meet their needs and networking opportunities. At this writing, we are looking at monthly meetings centered on a timely topic, rotating location around the county. This would be supplemented with other trainings as needed, on a district or county level.
- Establish data teams in each magisterial district to handle data tasks for the precinct captains and others within the district. Good data, especially in VAN, is essential for voter outreach and volunteer management.
Specific plans for the campaigns of 2018 and 2019:
- Use the intense interest in the 10th congressional district race to engage people and get them to join their precinct teams to take action!
- Precinct teams in the 8th and 11th CDs will be paired with precinct teams in the 10th CD to gather petition signatures, identify voters as to likely party, persuasion, and getting out the vote.
- Hold our third annual county-wide training just after the primary in June, with a focus on persuasion training – so we can hit the doors in the 10th CD ready to persuade those voters for our candidate!
- In 2019, our precinct pairings could pair high-turnout out precincts with low-turnout precincts, and our training focus on boosting turnout in those traditionally low-turnout areas.
A couple of other items:
FCDC is totally dependent on volunteers for its very existence; therefore, we must treat our volunteers with respect, or they may not feel like giving us the gift of their time. Currently, the way we welcome and onboard new volunteers, members or not, is awkward and inconsistent. The precinct operations team has been working with some very interested members to formulate a new plan to handle volunteers. It will involve having a group of people whose sole job is contacting new signups in a very timely way, and matching them with the activities that most interest them. This is a big job, and it may eventually become part of Outreach, or even have its own Vice-Chair. But at least it’s getting started!
FCDC is very fortunate to have a number of very experienced practitioners of the political arts among its ranks: expert phonebankers, canvassers, social media people, etc. We hold in-house trainings every so often, which is a great beginning. The precinct ops team would like to develop a catalog of trainings that could be offered upon request, and make it available to neighboring committees, as well as to precinct teams. Let’s export our talent!
We want to make FCDC precinct operations synonymous with Fairfax County Democratic volunteerism. If someone is doing things for Democrats in Fairfax County, then they are doing it as a member of their precinct team. The precinct team will be the Democrat’s home base.
Current precinct teams should be engaged in more frequent volunteer recruitment, such as using VAN and Virtual Phone Banks to build precinct teams. As an organizer, MYC calls yielded most of volunteers, they are easy and effective. Additionally, we should encourage precinct and area focused events for membership growth.
The sustainability and duration of many of the organic “resistance” themed groups varies. Some are well poised to continue their growth, while others will likely cease to function. We should continue our outreach, engagement, and participation with these organizations (And include them in our district committees and on the steering committees)
Most non-profits and trade associations have staff or positions dedicated to managing and growing their membership. FCDC should have one as well. This persona will be responsible for understanding membership sentiment, encouraging retention every re-organization, work with the Vice Chair for Finance to grow our sustainers program, and work with the Vice Chairs for Outreach and Diversity to grow membership.