Johnson outlines “New Hampshire Path” for campaignSeptember 6, 2011Posted in Blog, New Hampshire
In a memo to supporters Tuesday, the campaign of presidential candidate Gary Johnson has outlined a “New Hampshire Path” for focusing the campaign’s resources on making a strong showing in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation Republican presidential primary early next year.
The memo, from senior campaign advisor Ron Nielson, not only outlines the campaign’s strategy for the next phase of the campaign, but also lays out a budget for raising Johnson’s recognition and profile in New Hampshire, where the candidate announced his campaign and just completed a nine-day tour of the state.
The text of an email to supporters from Johnson, as well as the memo itself, follow:
During the course of my campaign for President, I have emphasized that I am putting “all of my chips” on New Hampshire.
As I travel there, I see our message resonating more than anywhere else. That’s great news, because it’s no secret that New Hampshire is absolutely key to the nominating process.
Just ask Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton.
Candidates who were previously obscure nationally can go to prominence overnight as a result of a good showing, and for that reason, it is the linchpin in our strategy.
Right now, campaigning in New Hampshire reminds me a lot of when I first ran for governor in New Mexico. Slowly, but surely, retail politics pays off. I can’t tell you how much I see my name recognition climbing there.
The national press may not know it yet, but our momentum in the state is on a near-vertical ascent.
Because it is such an important part of our plan, I have asked my campaign strategist, Ron Nielson, to outline our plans for the state in more detail. It is important to me that you know exactly where we are headed, and how you can get more involved.
Please take a moment to read the memo from Ron below. Or, if it’s easier, you can also read it on my website at: http://www.GaryJohnson2012.com/new-hampshire-path.
I think you’ll find that the memo clearly explains our campaign strategy for these next few months. But if it doesn’t, simply reply to this email with your suggestions. As always, I want to hear what you think.
TO: Team Johnson
FROM: Ron Nielson, Senior Advisor
Gary Johnson for President 2012
RE: The New Hampshire Path
DATE: September 6, 2011
THE GOAL: WIN NEW HAMPSHIRE
Taking on the Establishment
As you know, one of Gary Johnson’s trademarks is transparency: transparency in governing, and transparency in his campaign for president. Thus, as we enter the crucial post-Labor Day push toward the primaries and caucuses that will commence very early in 2012, Governor Johnson has asked that we share, with great clarity, our strategy for achieving “top tier” status among the candidates for the Republican nomination – and ultimately, the nomination itself.
Governor Johnson is not an establishment candidate and does not enjoy the same level of national recognition and financing as other candidates. He has never run for national office and, despite his unparalleled record as governor of New Mexico, he has not been previously placed in the national spotlight. This simple lack of recognition poses obvious challenges, including the reality that the national polls reported in the media at this stage of the campaign are largely the product of name recognition and the national exposure Gary yet to gain.
Likewise, unlike most of the other candidates, Gary Johnson did not enter this race with an established fundraising network. We didn’t have a database; we had a Rolodex. That reality clearly presents challenges, and demands a strategy based upon targeting resources and building a truly grassroots campaign.
Does Polling Matter?
Even with these realities, we have made tremendous progress – progress that is only now beginning to register in the polls. As a professional pollster, I can tell you that current polls are based more on name recognition than on preference or understanding of the candidates. National polls are also a ‘lagging indicator’ in terms of measuring the progress of the kind of personal, on-the-ground campaign we have conducted to date. When you consider the money that has been spent by other candidates, as well as the exposure they have been granted by the national media, it is remarkable that Governor Johnson is registering equal or even better levels of support than several other, better-known and better-funded candidates. (See the latest national CNN poll.)
…and as a matter of fact, if polling data at this point in the cycle were predictive of the eventual nominee, Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton and John McCain would never have been on the ticket, and several other names we have since forgotten would have been nominees instead. The volatility we are seeing in the race today indicates only one certainty: that the majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents are still looking for a candidate they can enthusiastically support…and the vast majority of those voters do not yet know Gary Johnson.
“The New Hampshire Path”
All of these factors present challenges – and more importantly, an opportunity to execute a strategy we call the “New Hampshire Path.” In 1994, when I first started working with Gary Johnson, he came out of the entrepreneurial arena to announce he was seeking the Republican nomination for Governor of New Mexico, his name recognition was essentially zero, he had no established base of support, and frankly, the traditional Republican wisdom gave him no chance of success. Four months before the Republican primary Gary was only at 2% in the polls — we were actually thrilled that he registered at all. Within three weeks of that time we had conducted a strong marketing campaign and Gary’s support was in the low 20s. He took his case to the voters in a very methodical, personal, and in some ways, unconventional manner – and he won the nomination. He then took that case to general election voters, and defeated an incumbent in a 2-1 Democrat state. And, of course, he was reelected in that same overwhelmingly Democrat environment.
As the “first in the nation” primary state, New Hampshire presents an opportunity to deploy a very similar strategy. It is a relatively small state where voters demand their candidates be “real.” It is a state where resources can be used very efficiently and very productively to convey Gary’s message, and it is a state which historically is not subject to domination or manipulation by special interests, the ‘establishment’, or those who place disproportionate emphasis on social issues as opposed to core Republican principles of small government, individual freedom and careful stewardship of managing the public’s pocket book. In short, New Hampshire is a level playing field on which Gary Johnson will compete very effectively if given the opportunity. New Hampshire is the place where we can create momentum.
Being the site of the first primary of 2012, New Hampshire is the center of attention for much of the nation’s media coverage of the campaign, and as Gary gains measurable support there, it will translate into broader support throughout the country. New Hampshire’s role in the process is well documented, and our strategy is to take full advantage of that reality.
We have developed a plan and a budget that will allow us to focus our resources like a laser on New Hampshire and, we are confident, that with the resources needed we can rapidly increase Gary’s profile, recognition and support among New Hampshire primary voters. The plan is simple, it is straightforward, and given the strength of our message and Gary’s record, it will rapidly garner enough support in New Hampshire to demand the attention of the national media – which will in turn translate into substantial support in other key states as well.
Specifically, given the financial support to accomplish key tasks in New Hampshire, we project that support for Gary will, within a short time, be at 5-10% in that state’s polls among a very crowded field. Upon reaching that benchmark, we will be in a position to raise enough funds and organizational support to clearly demonstrate that Gary Johnson is a serious contender for the nomination. Based upon what we have seen in the more than 36 states Gary has visited so far, it is obvious that the potential for a national groundswell of support exists, with New Hampshire providing the spark with which to ignite it.
The budget above details our New Hampshire Path. In a nutshell, by conducting what is essentially a statewide campaign for a “state” election, we can achieve the 5-10% level of support through the prudent expenditure of roughly $200,000. That will not only include literature, signs and other grassroots tools, but also strategic media buys targeted to potential primary voters.
The foundation for this strategy has been laid. As you know, Gary has visited New Hampshire 15 times in the past several months, he announced his candidacy there, and only last week, he completed a 9-day tour of the state during which he was well-received and widely covered by the local and regional media. We have a headquarters established in Manchester with five excellent campaign staff members and a growing network of volunteers.
We are ready to take the campaign to another level in New Hampshire, and we are confident that the results will be dramatic as the broader electorate of the state gets the opportunity to know Gary Johnson, learn of his record in New Mexico, and understand his vision for leading America to freedom, prosperity and genuine strength.
While Gary will be spending much of his time and the campaign will be focusing its media and organizational efforts in New Hampshire, we will obviously continue to participate in major national Republican and conservative events across the country. Likewise, we will continue to grow our fundraising efforts and grass roots strength nation-wide, including events and enlisting finance and strategic leadership in every state.
When Gary Johnson made the commitment in 1994 to run for governor and provide the leadership New Mexico needed, few believed he could actually do it, very few. Those naysayers were wrong and even his political adversaries today recognize that it was a serious mistake to underestimate him. He has made the same commitment to serve America, and just as he did when he climbed Mt. Everest, Gary Johnson knows the path to the Republican nomination, and he won’t stop climbing until he reaches the summit.
The next few months will be an exciting journey, beginning in New Hampshire, and we are anxious to get going.
|The New Hampshire Path|
|- To achieve 5-10% support -|
TV buy – cable
|$1,050 per statewide, 30-second ad during prime time||$42,000||Buy a TV ad! ($1,050)|
Radio buy – mixed-station
|$98.75 per 60-second ad||$25,675||Buy 5 radio ads! ($296.25)|
|$3,500 per sign, 3 signs for 2 months||$21,000||Buy 1/2 a billboard! ($1,750)|
|5,000 @ $5.50 each||$27,500||Buy 100 yard signs! ($550)|
|1,500 @ $4.75 each||$7,125||Buy 50 t-shirts! ($237.50)|
|2 mailings of approx. 30,000 pieces each||$60,000||Buy 75 mailings! ($150)|
|25,000 additional pieces (49¢ each)||$12,250||Buy 200 push cards! ($98)|
|15,000 additional pieces (21¢ each)||$3,150||Buy 100 bumper stickers! ($21)|