Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Pre-Decision 2006 Postmortem, Pt. 2

A few more random observations from last night.

More than one observer called Ohio 13 a last-chance test for organized labor. In the end I’m not sure, given the ephemeral Sawyer campaign. But it certainly was a victory for the more reasonable wing of the labor movement. Among the reasons I was happy about the result is that the UAW’s extremist “trade be damned” stance got the beatdown it so richly deserved. God knows if UAW can internalize that lesson, but we can hope.

While people seem to love talking down Betty Sutton’s intangibles, I don’t see it. One measure of a candidate’s force of personality is the level of enthusiasm and loyalty she inspires in her campaign staff and volunteers – call it the I’d Take a Bullet factor. People at the party last night went absolutely nuts for her. High ITB numbers.

The school levy went down because of a lack of a concerted ground game on Election Day. In particular, the levy committee needs to put real effort into GOTV in Wards 3, 4 and 5. The reliance on each cluster to do its own work is a fatally flawed strategy, and must be seriously amended in November.

BTW, thanks to all who have stopped by to offer their condolences on the levy. Generally I encourage people to post comments taking issue with me. Not on this one, not at this time. To paraphrase Ron White, if you have a thought against the levy, just let it pass. I can’t engage in civilized debate on this right now. If you post, I’ll likely cut loose with a torrent of vulgarity so foul it will blister your screen. Nobody needs to see that.

One of the big lessons generally in this election is the danger of the blogosphere bubble. I’d have swore the Chandra campaign was competitive, that Joe Sulzer would win in the 18th and that Sutton was in trouble. This last was because of the distaste for the EM-List campaign among my friends as well as the ‘sphere. In each case, facts on the ground proved different.

The hit numbers were pretty amazing Monday and Tuesday as people found me by Googling "Capri Cafaro" or "Betty Sutton." Even more amazing are the numbers today as people are doing the same thing. It's been a long time since the NEO saw a Congressional race that so captured imaginations.


TKE House said...

GOTV and turnout in Wards 3, 4 and 5 has always been a huge problem. The ones that have the most to gain (or lose) are always the ones that seem to care the least. The only thing that has ever worked there is "street money", which is one of those things that gets talked about in hushed tones in the back of some smoke-filled room.

By the way, where was Vernon Sykes and why wasn't he out helping in the GOTV effort for the schools? I guess when you get 78% of the vote in HD 44, you don't really need to worry about getting more people to the polls.

54cermak said...

Are there plans to put the levy back on the ballot soon? Are they allowed to go back in August? Maybe not having to compete with a high attention GOP primary might help it to do well?

I don't have kids, and though I'm in Akron, I live in Woodridge. But I know people who may lose their jobs because of this. And as someone who is considering buying a house in Akron in another year or 2, this is very troubling.

PS--Maybe they should print your op-ed as a flyer and put it in every door. That was some great writing.

Anonymous said...

I take issue with the blaming of GOTV efforts for this levy failing. This campaign had unprecidented grassroots organizing, some of which was lead by the writer of this blog.

Phone banks were calling voters all day who had not voted yet in 3,4, and 5, three trucks with mega phones traveled through Wards 3,4,5 from yesterday morning to yesterday evening, and there were drivers designated to take voters from those areas to the polls who did not have a car or mode of transportation.

I fail to see what more could have been done in those Wards.

And it doesn't take a genius to look at the canvass and see that the levy was crushed in Ellet and Kenmore. Wards 6 and 9. Crushed...crushed, crushed, crushed. That's why the levy failed.

If anything, more attention should be given to those areas next time.

Pho said...

I didn't see evidence of the work being done in 3,4,5 and saw evidence of it not being done. Rather than air all the dirty laundry here, I'm happy to talk to you about it backchannel.

Yes I was involved in GOTV -- in Firestone cluster, because that's where I was told to go. We turned our people out, but it wasn't enough.

Nobody has found a way to keep Ellet and Kenmore from crushing levies. I know professionals who insist the best tactic is to stay under the radar there to keep the no votes from mobilizing. People have found ways to turn out wards in the Buchtel cluster -- ways more savory than Swanny's "street money."

TKE House said...

The only way I know of to "stay under the radar there to keep the no votes from mobilizing" is to try to sneak a levy through during a special election. While this worked in the past, it now creates more of a backlash, as the opposition uses it to their advantage by railing about how the schools are trying to raise taxes behind your back. The other problem with special elections is that they are prohibitively expensive, as the schools would have to pay to open each polling location in the district.

BTW, I used to work as a political consultant and have worked on school levy campaigns across the state. GOTV almost always is what is to blame in a vote as close as the one in Akron. Obviously, the levy's message resonated with almost 49% of the voters, so as Pho correctly concluded, it was a failure in execution.

Having run both candidate and issue campaigns in Akron for years, I can tell you that it takes more than sound trucks and phone calls out in Wards 3, 4 and 5. It takes money to hire workers to "knock and drag" voters to the polls. No street money, no workers; No workers, no voters.

If you look at Ellet and Kenmore, that problem has existed for years. Until the 1920's both were separate cities and as a result, they both maintain an identity separate from the rest of the city. They honestly don't think they are part of the Akron City Schools. If you don't believe that, try to tell someone from Ellet that they are really from Akron.