Closing the gap

I’ve joined the team at Close the Gap California. Less than a third of California legislators are women, and we’re working to “close the gap” to get to 50%. Close the Gap is focused entirely on recruiting and preparing talented women to run. Research shows that women are elected at the same rate as men – we just don’t have enough women running. I’ve had great conversations with dozens of potential candidates to help them get ready. 

Close the Gap has been interviewing key team members for a series on Medium. Here’s a link to my interview.

Not your cookie-cutter ad

The best campaign ad-makers follow the research, connect with voter concerns, and tell voters about the values and character of the candidate. Understanding the context of the race, including the unique flavor of the area, is crucial to getting it right. This ad is a great example of someone who got it right. With Trump at the top of the ticket and a strong challenger campaign, this US Senate race in Alaska could be competitive.

Campaigns in a pandemic

Always enlightening to chat with Shane D’Aprile of Campaigns & Elections. We talk about campaigning in a pandemic and the AAPC’s lawsuit against the federal government over the Paycheck Protection Program. Check it out.

We must always take sides.

This is one of my favorite Elie Wiesel quotes, excerpted from his speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to remember the Holocaust and fight indifference to suffering. The entire speech is here:

Capitol Weekly

Capitol Weekly is full of insight and analysis on everything related to Sacramento. John Howard is a veteran journalist – I first met him on Barbara Boxer’s first Senate campaign in 1992, when John was with AP and I was Boxer’s campaign manager. It was fun to “sit down” virtually with John and Tim Foster for their weekly podcast on May 15.

The Trailer

Shared a few thoughts with Dave Weigel about how hard it is to become known in California – a state with 58 counties, 13 media markets and 19 million voters. The Trailer is one of my favorite 2020 newsletters because of its on-the-ground reporting.

An election with no research, mail or ads

I’ve been elected President of the American Association of Political Consultants, my first election that required no research, mail or ads. AAPC is a bipartisan organization committed to helping our members “learn, connect, and change the world.”

One of my favorite things about being on the AAPC board is the opportunity to encourage and mentor young consultants, particularly women. In my first campaign, there were very few women in positions of power. That’s gradually changing, but women are still a small percentage of political consultants today.

And I’m a deep blue Democrat so I wouldn’t normally hang out with Republican consultants. I’ve learned that the best on the GOP side think about politics just like the best of the Democrats – that the way to victory is research-based, strategic and disciplined.

The Central Valley

One of the smartest things Barbara Boxer did was establishing a Senate office in Fresno with savvy local staff (like Tom Bohigian, Ana Melendez, Ameen Khan, William Oliver.) It deepened our understanding of the Valley and helped find a surprising amount of common ground with business and elected leaders there. Now the Valley is attracting Democratic presidential candidates as the LA Times reports.