Posted by DemocracyKit on 04/24/2017

Eric McGoey, Campaign Manager | What I wish I'd known

Video TypeInterview
Campaign AreaExplore-Candidate,Explore-Campaign Team,

Eric McGoey, Campaign Manager, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Auto Transcript:

1. What do you wish you’d known before the campaign?

It's a funny question because if I had known some of the things that I didn't know what being in the campaign, I might not have agreed to do the campaign because it was really hard, it took a really long time and we didn't win. I worked harder on that municipal campaign that I've worked on all of the other campaigns I've done in my life added up together because the campaign was so amazingly long and hard. And so it's good that I didn't know how hard it was going to be probably because I would not have put myself through a year of it. You know as a volunteer, for, in terms of the time it takes away from your family and work and everything else. So with that caveat I would say here are some things that are interesting to think about. One is where your lists going to come from? How are you going to decide which doors to knock on and how you're going to capture the information you glean from knocking in those doors? Are you going to build a list from scratch with a blank sheet of paper? Because we registered on January 2nd and didn't get a voter's list until September. So what do you do during those months that you're knocking on doors and collecting data and saying "no we have that nice middle-aged man at you know 48 Irwin said that he would support me but I think his name was either Dave or Dan and you know his wife seemed nice but I'm not sure that I can count on her and how am I going to capture that data and actually put it in a database that will eventually be merged with the official voter's list?" And again this is an issue if you're not an incumbent. You aren't starting with a sign list, donor's list, a list of ID'd supporters so thinking about how you can borrow or obtain lists or build lists and allow for version control and merging, that's something that I think is a lot more important than you might realize on day one of a campaign. Some of the other things important to remember that nobody is as vested in the success of your campaign as your candidate and your core team, and there will be times where nobody else is doing anything for your campaign other than, you know in my case it was myself as campaign manager and the candidate for the first four months or so. Generally speaking if something was happening it was because one of the two of us was doing it. It's hard to ask your friends, it's hard to ask strangers to do things for you when Election Day is six or eight months away and nobody's really thinking about it yet, but you have to you have to do the work if you aren't putting in the time you won't be able to catch up with the incumbent with all the advantages they have. I guess the last thing that I would say is important to think about is what are the different aspects of incumbency advantage and how can you mitigate them to the extent possible because you will get frustrated with the things that are just not fair about the campaign and if you let that frustration bring you to a negative place where you're not doing your best work and you're not motivated to try really hard because you think that you know you just can't win, you know that's really going to hurt you in your campaign because your team is going to get pick up on it and it's just not productive. So think about the different ways that the incumbent has an advantage and how you can negate some of that advantage with your own strategy and tactics.
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