Author Archive: Brian McGinnis

Signs Don’t Vote

Listen up, folks, because I’m only going to say this once.

Signs. Don’t. Vote.

They don’t. Really. I promise. And if you’re in possession of a sign that can vote, there are probably a few people at the United States Department of Justice who would like to have a conversation with you.

Signs Don't Vote

I’m posting this because I’m getting reports from disgruntled activist friends who went into the XYZ County Democratic headquarters looking for signs and there weren’t any to give out. These friends, and God I love them, have then let me know that this surely signals the certain doom of Obama’s electoral prospects.

This election, as any election, is about limited resources.

I can’t sum it up any better than Sean Quinn, of 538, who posted this great satirical piece that concluded with an equally great reality check:

Organizers – the people out there killing themselves to win this election – hate yard signs with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns.

Barack Obama’s organizers hate them. John McCain’s organizers hate them. It’s because yard signs don’t vote – but they do generate a ridiculous amount of complaining that must be patiently listened to. Until yard signs sprout little legs and go to the polls on Election Day, in a presidential election with universal name recognition they are just a nice little decoration.

They’re little feel good things, making you feel like you’re on the team. There is nothing wrong with that – that’s not the objection. The objection is that there is limited time for organizers to accomplish a wide array of prioritized tasks, and in this election they’ve chosen to prioritize identifying, registering, persuading and getting their voters to the polls. Yard signs cut into the organizer’s sleep time – literally.

A lot of people aren’t going to like hearing this truth, but organizers recognize that the majority of people who walk into offices for yard signs are, for volunteering purposes – and this is a technical term – useless. In the majority, these people are not going to knock, they’re not going to make phone calls. Instead, they are going to throw the organizer’s incredibly precious, sleep-deprived time down a bottomless abyss of irretrievability.

People who plant yard signs are maybe going to make their neighbors aware that they support a particular candidate, and in theory, if they live near voters who cede their opinions to peer pressure, they could theoretically be shading the influence of a vote here or there…

Yes, of course it would be nice to have more yard signs. If organizers had an infinite amount of time, they would be happy to pester their bosses up the ladder to see when they’re coming in. Then they’d love to chat with you about how someone stole or defaced them, and run a bunch of replacements right out.

But in the very purple, exurban Northern Virginia neighborhoods there is a problem. There’s a walk list sitting in a campaign office not being walked and knocked, and a newly-registered voter who projects as .45 of a vote for Obama is not being registered.

We all need to take a deep breath for a second here and focus on what really matters. And what really matters here is shoe leather, not signs. Because shoe leather translates directly, measurably, into votes. Signs do not.

Now let’s get out there and win this thing.

DCCC Names Zeitz, NJ-04, among “Races to Watch”

An email announcement from the Zeitz campaign:

On Friday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) announced that Josh Zeitz, the Democratic nominee for Congress in New Jersey’s 4th Congressional District, was added to their targeted Races to Watch list.

The targeting demonstrates that the DCCC believes this race is competitive and worth investment. Demographic shifts have created the unique conditions for beating 28 year incumbent Chris Smith. Democrats now enjoy a voter registration edge in the 4th District and consistently win the district at the Presidential, Gubernatorial and Senate levels. With boosted turnout and registration expected from urban areas like Trenton, Zeitz is poised for one of the biggest upsets of the cycle.

“We’re excited to have the DCCC engaged in the race,” said Zeitz campaign manager Steve D’Amico. “With our economy struggling and a representative like Chris Smith, who is more interested in introducing legislation to abolishing common, everyday birth control than he is in helping middle-class families, voters in the 4th District are realizing it’s time for change.”

This comes shortly after The New Republic’s recent expose on some issues in his past.



Cryan, Corzine, Menendez, Lautenberg, Pascrell, Rothman, Stender, Shulman, Kurkowski, Wyka

Field session

Comm session

mark alexander

Allison McHose’s Crocodile Tears

Assemblywoman Allison McHose is at it again, with a column entitled “Internet Political Junkies Sell Hate”:

But what shocked me were the amateurs. It seems that there is a large body of political Internet junkies who have no idea how we have to work together to get anything done. They embrace their party as if it were a kind of sports team. They are spectators, but spectators with the ethos of European football hooligans — more like that of a gang.

These people hate you if you are not a supporter of their team. They started in on Palin’s family, posting photographs of her teenaged daughter with some really disgusting comments. And it’s all anonymous. Like most bullies, they like to get lost in a crowd. It gives them the kind of courage to strike out with a boot to someone’s face, anonymously, and then slip back among the rest of the gang.

Just making them post their real names and cities would quickly elevate the whole tone of the Web sites that cater to these self-styled “political junkies.” Of course, a lot of these sites would go out of business because the people who use them go there to hurt someone anonymously.

I must have missed the McHose column on where she complains about the “Internet junkies” spreading smears on the internet against Obama. Can someone send me the link to that one?

McCain’s (Non-)Vetting Process Strikes Again!

Last night, CBS news showed us what happens when a major presidential candidate makes a whimsical, last minute choice on a running mate:

Such a story makes you wonder if the McCain campaign even bothered to Google Sarah Palin, much less actually vet her.

Well, that stringent vetting process struck again last night at the RNCC:

The national anthem was performed at the Republican gathering last night by Philip Alongi, a professional opera singer who was introduced as hailing from Fort Lauderdale. But in reality, Alongi says he’s a Jersey boy through and through, born and raised in Manalapan and boasting of his 2006 bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University.

“It’s great,” Alongi, 29, said after coming down off the stage and spending a few minutes with the New Jersey delegation. “Now that the hurricane has passed, we can all breathe a sigh of relief.”

It’s a good thing Alongi’s role during the program was singing and not speaking because his politics would not be music to the delegates’ ears. Alongi said he is a registered independent and he’s having serious problems supporting John McCain because of the stands of his vice presidential selection, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

C’mon, they can’t even vet the singer? And these guys want you to give them the nuclear launch codes? You can’t make this stuff up.

How Many Houses Do YOU Own?

About an hour ago, my plane landed in Denver, and I just grabbed a quick lunch at the NJ Delegation hotel, the Inverness, which is absolutely spectacular.

I can’t lie to you, the excitement level in this city is off the charts– from the moment I got off the plane, the air was almost crackling with energy. It’s a great feeling. People are definitely fired up and ready to go, and the huge buzz among everyone here is McCain’s massive gaffe on housing, which showed him to be about as out of touch with America’s middle class (and about as in touch with Bush’s failed economic policies) as one could be.

I’ve taken a short canvass of about two dozen or so people from native Coloradans to folks from Nebraska to West Virginia and Alaska and yes, even a few fellow New Jerseyans. All of them were able to tell me how many houses they owned when I asked, without pausing or needing to check with their staff.

Of these roughly two dozen only one (a server at the Denver airport) hadn’t heard of McCain’s gaffe (at which point I proceeded to explain the situation to her for about ten minutes, to which she replied “Whoa…John McCain should be on Cribs! He could do a whole season by himself!”). MTV might want to look into that. I’m sure it would be well-staged and immaculate, as the McCains spend over a quarter million dollars annually on servants at their various houses.

In case you’re like my server friend and haven’t heard much about McCain’s huge misstep, check these devastating ads the Obama campaign has released to highlight how out of touch John McCain is. Here’s their second ad:

This of course follows a great first ad:

But the point of this post, Blue Jersey, is to ask a simple question: How many houses do YOU own?

This is an open thread. Take the poll, tell us in the comments about any of the houses you’re either sure or unsure you own, and most importantly, get ready to watch a great convention starting Monday. Change is in the air.

Rasmussen NJ Poll: Obama 48%, McCain 40%

Rasmussen has just polled New Jersey again on the presidential race:

Barack Obama is ahead of John McCain 48% to 40% in New Jersey, up slightly from last month but identical to his lead in June, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of voters in the state. When “leaners” are included, Obama’s lead expands to 10 percentage points, 52% to 42%.

At the same time, New Jersey’s Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg is opening a commanding lead in his bid for re-election.

Still, I’m sure this is still somehow good news for McCain. And Dick Zimmer, while we’re at it.

Menendez, Lautenberg Slam Homeland Security Cuts to NJ

Senators Bob Menendez and Frank Lautenberg just issued a statement responding to a recent Bush administration decision to cut homeland security funds to New Jersey.

Menendez, who also notes the critical oversight of the Bush administration in neglecting South Jersey towns in the greater Philadelphia area:

“The good news for New Jersey’s security is that the positive reforms the Democratic Congress made to the state security grants have resulted in increased security funding that goes directly to our state government out of that program,” Menendez said.  

“Unfortunately, the Bush administration’s decision to cut the funding that goes directly to New Jersey’s highest-threat cities shows that they still don’t fully grasp that security resources need to go to areas where the risk is most real. That is fundamental to security here it home, and seven years after 9/11, the administration should have gotten it right by now. The next administration has to better understand our security needs here in the nation’s most densely-populated state, which includes two of the nation’s five biggest metropolitan areas.

I also continue to be concerned that areas of South Jersey within shouting distance of Center City Philadelphia are not even included in the program for high-threat cities – that’s a glaring and dangerous omission.”


“The Bush Administration just doesn’t get it.  New Jersey is home to the most at-risk two miles for terrorism in the country.  While some of our programs received an increase this year, this is no time to cut homeland security funding for our urban areas,” Lautenberg said.  “This is another example of the Bush Administration ignoring critical needs here at home while spending $3 billion a week in Iraq.”

It’s going to be great in 2009, when we have an Obama administration that understands “homeland security” is more than just a buzzword or a campaign slogan.

DCCC Drops $1.7M in NJ-03

If you’re John Adler or Linda Stender, it’s been a good few weeks.

First came the news of the 2nd quarter fundraising reports, with Adler and Stender dominating the fundraising races. Adler now has nearly ten times his opponent, Chris Myers’s cash on hand, while Stender has nearly fourteen times the cash of her opponent, Leonard Lance.

Then, the DCCC announced it was spending $1.8 million dollars on cable ads in NJ-07, to leverage its early fundraising advantage over the NRCC to try and bury Lance early.

And just yesterday, the D trip announced a $1.7 million ad buy in NJ-03. This definitely doesn’t come as good news to Chris Myers, especially with the fact that Ocean County Republicans don’t seem to like him very much.