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June 20, 2008 11:13 AM   Subscribe

I was hired as a campaign grunt for my NY Assemblyman's reelection. We were hoping to hire a deputy campaign manager, but most qualified candidates are being sucked up by the Obama campaign. My name is being forwarded as possible DCM. Yikes. Can any of you recommend good books, resources, etc on how to run a successful run such a campaign.

I know nothing about topics like Universe but am looking to learn. Please, help me cram.
posted by munchingzombie to Law & Government (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Check out Don Green and Alan Gerber's book Get Out the Vote: How to Increase Voter Turnout. They've run a number of experiments assessing the effectiveness of various voter mobilization strategies. There's a website, too. Also, ask for help from people who've worked on campaigns that district before--they'll be flattered that you're asking their advice, and they'll likely give you some useful pointers. SEIU folks are often especially helpful.
posted by ethorson at 11:26 AM on June 20, 2008

I can't recall the title but there was a great movie about the clinton campaign which is highly educational.
posted by Ponderance at 11:26 AM on June 20, 2008

You are likely thinking of The War Room, Ponderance.
posted by mumkin at 11:30 AM on June 20, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks all. Get out the Vote is in my Amazon shopping cart and the War Room will be added to my netflix queue.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:57 AM on June 20, 2008

Congratulations! You'll learn a ton while sitting in the DCM chair. My strongest advice is to ask a lot of clarifying questions and communicate regularly with the CM and the rest of the upper-level staff. Make time to learn what they know about campaigning and the communities you're working in.

Make sure you're heading in the same direction as the CM at all times. Be prepared to be able to justify decisions about dedication of resources.

You can't create more time, so be careful with how you dedicate it. Remember to sleep, eat, and do laundry from time to time.

Get a copy of "Politics the Wellstone Way", read and memorize. It's a great basic primer on process, targeting, and message development. I doubt you'll have time, but if you can get to a Camp Wellstone, you'll get a lot of information in a weekend, and meet other people who are working in that world.

Finally, when meeting with other staff, remember that your insights and opinions are valuable. Not only because you're (in all likelihood) a fantastically intelligent and insightful person, but also because you have a bit of an outsider's perspective.

I was in your position not too long ago. It's a great position to be in.
posted by elmer benson at 12:02 PM on June 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Elmer's advice is sound. Careers in politics are made by being thrust into positions of frightening responsibility and learning as you go. Some thoughts:

- Def. read the Wellstone book and try to go to one of their trainings. Ask the CM if you can do this before you take the position.
- I wouldn't bother with the Green and Gerber at this point, though the research is fascinating. Read The Campaign Manager and the Wellstone book instead, it'll be much more useful to you right now.
- be willing to do whatever is asked of you (um, within legal limits) btwn now and November. Your main jobs as deputy will be to help the campaign manager put into action whatever strategy is decided on in a few departments (probably field and political) AND to make your CM's job easier.

This is a great opportunity. Observe carefully and you'll learn a lot. You'll work your ass off, too.

Oh, and feel free to metamail me if you have any questions about the Wellstone trainings or anything else.
posted by lunasol at 5:37 PM on June 20, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks. I will also check out the Wellstone book. I just hope I have enough time to read it before the primary is over.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:47 AM on June 21, 2008

Response by poster: I was promoted last night to DCM! Now I will have to run through the Wellstone book and try sleep when I can.

Thank you all so much for the recommendations.
posted by munchingzombie at 7:55 PM on June 26, 2008

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