Start By Making A List

This is why 50-State – and 21-County – strategy is crucial. Even in uphill-climb CD5, there are focused, well-educated activists like War Horse who are gold mines of advocacy and dedication who should be supported and well-resourced by the Democratic party infrastructure. – promoted by Rosi

Cross posted from Retire Garrett.

The primary is a month away and June 5th will be here before you know it.  It’s time to stop worrying if our candidates can beat Scott Garrett and start doing the necessary things to make it happen.

Traditional turnout and voter enthusiasm are key to victories in November.  But having a great ground game is more important than the other two components combined.  That ground game needs to start immediately.  Waiting until September to do your part isn’t going to cut it.  So let’s all make a practice run by turning out the vote for the primary.

Start by making a list of everyone you know who lives in the 5th Congressional District.  For now don’t worry about their political affiliation.    Hopefully you’ve a got a strong list with plenty of names.  Don’t be afraid to include people on your list just because the two of you are not close friends.  Think about adding work colleagues, parents of your children’s friends, the dry cleaner, etc.  You get the point.

Don’t be shy about approaching the people you interact with on a regular basis.  Ask them if they’re planning on voting in the upcoming primary.  For those not paying attention to politics it’s a great reminder.  If you’re unsure about which party they support make an open-ended statement.  For example, “Even though the Presidential nominees are already decided, there are still a lot of races up for consideration.  There are Congressional and Freeholder seats are up as well.  The response you get from that statement will tell you how to proceed.

“Scott Garrett’s a lock, he doesn’t need my vote” is quite different from “I wish someone could give Garrett a legitimate race.”  The answer I like best is “Who’s our Congressman?”  I relish the opportunity to enlighten a friend as how they are being represented in Washington.  If they’re hard-core Garrett supporters you may wish to change the subject right there.  Personally I enjoy a little debate and always seek to understand the reasons why someone supports Scott Garrett.

Next step is to contact people you don’t see on a regular basis via phone or via e-mail.  While a phone call is more personal, some people are not comfortable talking politics on the phone so e-mail will have to suffice.  Again, remind people the primary is coming up.  Offer to assist them in any way they need.  Help them find out if they’re registered to vote.  If they’re not registered offer to help them get registered.  If they’re not going to be able to get to the polls on June 5th offer to help them vote by mail.   For all sorts of useful voter information click here.  Finish your e-mail with a personal question that evokes a response.  Asking about a relative or a family pet will usually get a response.  Obviously you know your friends and acquaintances enough to know what topics are likely to get them to reply.  By doing this you are certain they’ve read your e-mail and you now have opened a dialogue in which you have the opportunity to gather information about both their political leanings and the likelihood of them voting in the primary.

It’s fine to let the people on your list know which candidate you support in the primary.  This may be a good opportunity for you to clearly lay out the reasons why you support your candidate and the numerous reasons why voting for Scott Garrett is simply not an option.

If the topic turns to Freeholder races, we’re fortunate to have great Democrats running in all four counties.  In my travels through the fifth I’ve had the pleasure of meeting most of these men and women and can state without reservation that every one of them is worthy of our vote.  I still need to meet our Passaic candidates – Theodore “T.J” Best and incumbent Bruce James, but I’m hearing good things.  In Bergen, we are fortunate to have Tracy Zur and Steve Tanelli on the ballot.  Show them some love people.   In Warren County I’m excited that Tom Palmieri has stepped forward to run as a write-in candidate.  He needs at least 100 write-in votes to make the ballot in November so let’s do our part to make it happen.  In Sussex, Jim Tighe and Susan Williams are on the ballot.  I got the chance to meet them and hear them speak at the Sussex County Democratic nominating dinner in March and I was definitely impressed.  Thanks for following me on that Freeholder plug.  Back to our efforts to defeat Scott Garrett.

If only one hundred people reading this article follow through and convince 10 people to vote who would otherwise not go to the polls, we can turn out 1,000 additional Democratic votes.  In the last primary with a Presidential race on the line, roughly 15000 people in our district cast votes in the Democratic Primary.  We can make our voices heard.  Traditionally Scott Garrett gets more votes running unopposed than the combined totals of his Democratic challengers.  If more votes are cast for our candidates than Scott Garrett we will be putting everyone on notice that Scott Garrett has a fight on his hands.  I’m not endorsing a Democrat in the race.  If you’re looking for more information on the candidates, send me an e-mail and I’ll try to point you in the right direction.

It’s my unproven theory that people who come out to vote in the primary are more likely to come back in November to vote in the general.  They become invested in the contest.  Practicing these skills now will make you more comfortable to repeat the process in the Fall.  Start making your list.  It’s never to early to think about defeating Scott Garrett.

Comments (2)

  1. JCL

    I think that learning to talk to people that we KNOW already in non-confrontational ways about politics and impact on our lives is so important.   Thanks for the valuable suggestions !   Having spent countless hours knocking on doors and calling strangers, who aren’t home or screen their calls – I think that this focus on friends, family, acquaintances who we see on a casual basis can be very productive.

  2. tabbycat31

    People will listen to someone they know as opposed to a complete stranger at their door.

    And it is very important to build up the parties at the county and local level.


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