Winning as a first-time candidate
December 8, 2021 11:55 AM   Subscribe

I've worked in politics for a long time and all the candidates that I've worked for in the past were always much older than me. They're in their fifties or sixties and they have much more established careers. And so when they call up a friend who is also a senior-level executive, and they ask, ‘Hey, can you cut me a check for $2,700 bucks?’ They're like, sure, I can do that. For me, I was calling my friends who were all younger and being like, can you chip in a hundred dollars? And can I call your mom? From a Q&A with Delegate-Elect Elect Irene Shin, Virginia House of Delegates in Campaigner, a new weekly newsletter exploring the tactics that drive winning political campaigns.

Everyone has a hot take about the issues that were motivating voters in Virginia this year. ...the hot take I try to remind the folks of is that we had the highest ever turnout this past year, and in my district, I got the most votes of any candidate who's run in this district ever.

What was the thinking behind your campaign tactics, and which tactics do you think had the greatest ROI in terms of reaching voters? ... I didn’t have the money to run really high-quality production. We had to think about what does low production value but high engagement content look like, and where is that intersection and how do we figure it out? I think it's something that I am really interested in pursuing in the future. I think one way that I’m gonna try and test that is, I don't use TikTok right now, but I'd like to be a political TikTok user. Figuring out how we make the government and how we make the general assembly more accessible on these mediums with short-form video.

That would be amazing! What's one piece of advice that you have for folks wanting to run for office, now that you're officially a delegate-elect? Something I hear from women, particularly those who are thinking about running for office is this pragmatic and utilitarian approach to their campaign. They're like, well, I want to run if there's a need. I want to encourage folks to not underestimate the value of your perspective or your experiences being in a room where decisions are being made.

There is more worth reading at the link.
posted by Bella Donna (5 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I actually started reading the linked Q&A before clicking into this post and reading the more inside below the fold, and I was going to quote that "the hot take I try to remind the folks of is that we had the highest ever turnout this past year, and in my district, I got the most votes of any candidate who's run in this district ever."

It's so great to hear her talk about universal pre-kindergarten programs. I think those programs are great, and so important, for all the reasons she mentions.

I found it very interesting that it's still so hard to know which of your campaign activities are most effective.

I loved her idea about figuring out "how we make the government and how we make the General Assembly more accessible" on Tiktok. Now that she's been elected, she wants to keep in touch with her constituents and make her work more visible and understandable for them. That is brilliant, and essential.

This is a great interview, and I am VERY glad to have read it.

Thank you so much for sharing this, Bella Donna!
posted by kristi at 3:13 PM on December 8, 2021 [5 favorites]

Thanks for sharing this. Not just the article, but the site in general looks like something I should peruse more.
posted by AlSweigart at 8:55 AM on December 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Thank you for this hopeful and inspiring post-- I find I've become so used to the barrage of "our dying democracy" posts (not pointing out Mefi in particular, but kind of everywhere on social media these days) that to read about a young woman who is actually running for office to create change is a relief. And she is young, and so is her Team Irene, and my heart goes out to them.
posted by jokeefe at 2:08 PM on December 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

Checking in from that other thread as suggested. Sorry, this post just doesn't fit into a doom-scrolling agenda and provides hardly any schadenfreude.

Seriously, though, this is some really great news and provides actionable insight for running and winning campaigns, and bringing in new blood to a party that desperately needs some. I'm not sure how well that scales to national campaigns but certainly some of it does. That said, ominous things are afoot in state politics so state elections might be are even more important than national ones today. More like her!
posted by sjswitzer at 4:07 PM on December 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Catching up on this: Thanks so much for posting this.

as sjswitzer said above, there's a lot of posts on the blue that lends itself to doom-scrolling and schadenfreude; this does not.

I'm glad to have read her about her and wish her the best of luck.

I'm intrigued that she said I think sometimes we forget that the things that we care and talk a lot about - [marijuana] legalization, criminal justice reform, voting rights - those can feel abstract to voters, and they’re not necessarily very tangible in the day-to-day lives of most of our voters..
I agree with this to an extent; it's something that many people don't think about until it directly affects them (although when it does, it's usually life-altering)
posted by fizzix at 10:48 AM on December 24, 2021

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