Sunday, March 19, 2006

All Politics is Local

I took a week off of blogging not intentionally but just because it was such a hectic week I didn't get near my keyboard. This week we had a large political function at the Fraternal Order Of Police on Airport Road. It was a St. Patrick's Day Dinner and it went off really well. Around 300 people joined us for Corned Beef and Cabbage cooked to perfection by my good friends Victor and Lydia Lioce. These types of events have two main purposes. One is to gather supporters and whip up momentum in the election. It's a chance to handout signs and bumper stickers, collect names of volunteers and just remind everyone that the election is heating up. The other purpose is to raise funds. This has always been the most controversial and difficult part of running for office.

These type of local affordable functions give the common voter a chance to be part of the process. The $10 raffles and $5.00 dinners don't raise the kind of money that lunches with big donors and $100 a plate dinners at the local galleries raise, but they allow everyone to get involved and contribute to the candidate of their cause. Real advertising and votes in local elections are not gathered by media advertising or who has the largest and prettiest signs. They are garnered by word or mouth. So many people who have not made up their minds or who don't know or have not met one of the candidates personally decide who to vote for by taking into account what a friend or relative recommends. Word of mouth is the most cost effective and reliable way to garner votes.

So how do you get people to talk about you? You ask them, you must never forget to ask people to vote for you. Many times people will vote for someone just because they met someone once and they were asked for the vote. Those same people will talk about you to their friends and relatives if you impress them when you spoke to them. Former Governor Bruce King was the master at this type of campaigning. Where ever he went he made it a point to shake everyone's hand in the room. The most amazing part of Governor King was his ability to remember everyone's name. He only had to meet you once and he would remember your name a year or two later. Because of this even today he has loyal supporters who would vote for him and work for him in any race. As he shook your hand he always asked for your support, more often than not he received it.

New Mexico and Santa Fe County is growing but still has not grown to the point where personal campaigning has become ineffective and I loathe the day when that happens. When New Mexico elections are won or lost based entirely on who has the most effective media campaign, this will mark the end of grass roots elections based on individuals and their hearts and personality's and the beginning of who has the best marketing persons and is the most photogenic. It has been said all politics is local, We must work hard to keep it that way.

Until next post Be Safe and have a great day!

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