All posts by Kris Amundson

A Bridge Too Far

I have been, all things considered, remarkably circumspect since Sarah Palin burst on the scene. But now she’s gone too far.

In Going Rogue, she misattributes a quotation to legendary (heck, best of all time) basketball coach John Wooden. Instead, she uses a quote from someone called John Wooden Legs.

The irony, of course, is that John Wooden actually writes the stuff that appears under his name. He was an English professor as well as a basketball coach during the time he was at UCLA.


How to Hire a Field Director

I heard an interview with David Plouffe, who managed the Obama 2008 Presidential campaign. He was talking about his early years. And, almost as a throwaway, he added that in one of his early jobs, he sold knives door to door.

Over the years, one of the tidbits I learned when I was hiring field people was to ask, casually, “You ever sell knives?”

Apparently it’s great training for field organizing. Over and over, those former knife salespeople knocked on more doors, got more and better IDs, and worked harder than anyone else.

So to my friends who are still in the arena, a word to the wise. People who sell knives make GREAT field directors. Or Presidential campaign managers.

Lessons Learned

Well, any Democrat who doesn’t start studying the lessons from yesterday is going to be in big trouble. Bob McDonnell ran a nearly perfect campaign, and he deserves tremendous credit for his victory. Lesson learned: you simply have to talk about what you are going to do for voters.

There was one bright spot for me: Scott Surovell’s decisive victory in the 44th. He learned an important lesson early: that this was going to be a base turnout election. So he worked with his campaign staff, with Ben Tribett (aka Not Larry Sabato), numbers guru extraordinaire, and, well, with me. He plotted a strategy and then he worked impossibly hard at executing it. He really reached out to our “surge” voters, especially minority voters. He knocked on their doors. He called them. He listened. And yesterday, they turned out–not at 2008 levels, but at 2005 levels (and that, you may recall, was an election we won).

Lessons learned: Don’t ignore your base.Work hard. Respect your voters.

I’ll have more to say about the losses of two close friends, Shannon Valentine and Margi Vanderhye, later. But I do want to give a big shout out to Scott on a campaign very well run.