Dave's Take on the Ossoff Loss

Putting the Ossoff Loss in Perspective

In the wake of the special election loss in GA-06, and other Democratic losses over the past several months, we wanted to give you some thoughts that have gone unaddressed. Republicans frame their victories as vindication for Trump and the GOP agenda. Democrats are split on whether we should go further left or if its the far left that's losing races.

None of these perspectives does true justice to explain what happened in Georgia's 6th. Dave compiled the following thoughts to help explain the loss in the context of the 2018 elections.

Two Different Kinds of GOP Districts

Like the neighboring 7th District, Georgia's 6th District covers the suburbs of Atlanta. These districts supported Romney by 22- and 24-point margins, respectively. But GA-07 gave Trump a 6-point win and GA-06 gave Trump a 2-point win. Trump severely under-performed Romney's win in districts like this all over the country, including the suburbs of Houston (TX-02, TX-07, TX-22), Dallas (TX-24, TX-32), Salt Lake City (UT-03, UT-04), and Miami (FL-25), and in Orange County, California (CA-45, CA-48).

In these districts, Democrats are likely to find it easier to win than it was a few years ago, but (as we saw in Georgia) it's still tough. These well-off, educated Republicans might be embarrassed by Trump's behavior, but not willing to support a Democrat for Congress.

On the flip side, there are rural districts in the Midwest (MN-01, MN-07, MN-08, IL-12, WI-06, WI-07, WI-08) and Northeast (NY-21, NY-22, NY-23, ME-02) where Trump performed significantly better than Romney. Republicans have reason to be hopeful for these kinds of districts, but they will definitely lose some of them if their health care bill passes or if the economy turns south.

Take Out the Money, and What Do You Get?

The special election in GA-06 was the most expensive House race in history. About $30 million was spent by or for Ossoff, and about $25 million was spent by or for Handel. All this money probably did Ossoff more harm than good. For one thing, the idea of liberal elites from outside Georgia pitching in for Ossoff probably offended some undecided conservatives. But more importantly, it allowed Handel to spend a lot of money to get the GOP base out to vote. Without it, Republicans would have been at the mercy of a huge enthusiasm gap.

On the same night in rural South Carolina, Democrat Archie Parnell surprised everyone by coming within 2.5 points of winning the conservative SC-05. The two candidates spent about $2 million, whereas upwards of $60 million was spent in GA-06.

Democrats are Over-Performing by Huge Margins

A loss is a loss and it surely doesn't help our morale to lose, but Democrats are still doing better than they should in these districts. Keep in mind that GA-06 is an R+8 district. According to the Cook Political Report's post-election analysis, if Democrats were to continue to outperform their "generic share" of the vote by these margins, they would pick up 80 seats in 2018.

And although that's not going to happen, there are 58 GOP-held seats that are R+5 or better, including House Speaker Paul Ryan's. If Democrats win less than half of those they would take back the House.


"Why I Chose HSG Campaigns"

“Eric and his team have helped us win several tough campaigns. The direct mail and campaign literature they produced was visually striking and effectively conveyed the messages and values we wanted to express to the voters. I highly recommend HSG Campaigns for organizations that want to have an impact in the next election.”

- Rusty Hicks, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor


What We're Reading

This week Dave is recommending How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization.


"Those who know me know I'm a big soccer fan, but you don't need to be to appreciate the stories told in this book. As one of the testimonials on the back says, it's 'significantly entertaining if you like soccer, and entertainingly significant if you do not.' Topics include the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, Jewish and Catalonian identity politics, cultural exchange, hope for Iran, and financial corruption in a world that is getting smaller. While a bit dated and definitely biased at times, it is a thoroughly enjoyable read.



Check Out TenMoreVotes!

Our sister company, Ten More Votes, has launched the full version of its new app. See how it can help your campaign. Click here to request a demo!



The Worst Advice You'll Get When You Run

The 3 Worst Pieces of Advice You'll Get When You Decide to Run

A lot of people will want to give you their two cents when they find out you're running for office, even if they have no idea what they're talking about.

Here are the worst pieces of advice you might receive:

1. "Hire me as your campaign manager." It's amazing how often this happens: the friend of a candidate thinks he/she has what it takes to be a Campaign Manager, based on the depictions of Campaign Managers on TV. Unless that person is a seasoned political professional, do not hire them, especially not for a high-level role. Put someone with experience in charge. They should make the hiring recommendations from there.

2. "Do the things that Obama/Bernie/Trump did." Presidential races are not like races for other offices. The news media are consumed by presidential campaigns but rarely cover races for Congress or the State Legislature. Even the most competitive campaigns will not allow you to change the broader narrative of our politics, unless you're running for president. Use successful tactics from races for Governor, Congress, or local office in your area instead.

3. "Don't worry about the campaign yet, you have plenty of time." A campaign is the worst thing to procrastinate. It's not college, you won't get an extension. Time is the only resource a campaign has that is finite and declining. Fundraising will take up most of your time when you run for office, so it's best to do it now so later you can spend more time talking to voters.

What other terrible advice have you heard a candidate get? Let us know!

“Why I Chose HSG Campaigns"

"We hired HSG Campaigns as subcontractors on a big project. They were fantastic to work with: thorough in their approach to the campaign; communicated well; and maintained a positive attitude throughout. We ended up increasing their role in the project. I look forward to the next time I will get to work with them."

- Rick Ridder, President and Co-Founder, RBI Strategies

What We're Reading

This week Eric is recommending Rick Ridder's memoirs: Looking for Votes in All the Wrong Places: Tales and Rules from the Campaign Trail.


"It is a privilege to count Rick as a colleague. He is one of the true pros in this business. Rick's book was great fun to read, and I found myself wishing it was twice as long. I strongly recommend it to others - especially those who work in politics, as there is a story on nearly every page you will relate to."


This Pride Month

This Pride Month, we remember the incredible progress we have made on LGBTQ rights in the United States. However, we must also remember that in much of the world this progress is far from realized. In Chechnya in particular, a genocide is currently being carried out against gay men.

Please consider a donation to the Rainbow Railroad today, to help LGBTQ individuals, including those in Chechnya, escape violent persecution.

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Finding a job for 2018

Need Help Finding a Job in Politics in 2018?

For anyone who worked in politics during the 2016 cycle - as an intern, an entry-level field organizer, or even as an experienced operative - and wants to do it again, you may be looking for work for 2018.

Here are some places to look:

  • Democratic GAIN - A national association for progressive campaign workers and organizations, Democratic GAIN helps its members find jobs for the next cycle. They have also merged with the Google group, JobsThatAreLEFT, which regularly posts political job openings around the country.
  • Wellstone Jobs - Formerly known as the "New Organizing Institute", Wellstone Jobs is another Google group for job posts, run by Wellstone Action.
  • EMILY's List - Named after the concept "Early Money is Like Yeast" (it raises the dough!), EMILY's List supports Democratic women running for office all over the country - in part by placing campaign workers on the ground to work for them.
  • Your own people! - If you have worked on a campaign before and your work was appreciated, go back to the campaign manager, consultants, and others you worked with to see if they know of anything for you. The people who liked your work will want to work with you again.

Why I Chose HSG Campaigns"

"I have worked with HSG Campaigns several times in the past and I am always impressed with their insights into the hearts and minds of the voters they communicate with. They are able to take those insights and combine them with new and traditional tactics to craft great strategies for their clients. Candidates and organizations should strongly consider them in 2018."

- Joe Boyd, Executive Director, California Federation of Teachers

What We're Reading

This week Dave is recommending "An Economic History of the World Since 1400."


"While not a book, per se, this series of lectures from the Great Courses is available in Audible and I strongly recommend it. For a full 24 hours, Professor Donald J. Harreld reviews the ways banking, mercantile trade, industrialization, and new distribution techniques helped develop the world we live in today - an economically unique moment in human history."




Why not DIY your campaign?

Why You Shouldn't "DIY" Your Campaign

Once in a while, we still meet the occasional candidate who wonders why he or she even needs a campaign consultant. How hard can a campaign be, anyway? Trust us, it's hard. Unless you're running for a very small local office, you will need a consultant. Here's the top reasons why.

1. Consultants Know the Players

Party officers, union leaders, and other big political players meet new candidates for different offices all the time. Nobody will be immediately impressed by you because you're a candidate. In fact, their instincts are to be skeptical of you. Having a consultant not only gives you more legitimacy as a candidate, but your consultant often knows the individual you are trying to meet with and can help make it happen.

2. Consultants Know the Vendors

Campaigns are short-lived, but consultants are in the marketplace for years. In the time it will take you to research printers, graphic designers, media rate cards, mail houses, and pollsters, you will lose the opportunity to do the campaign's primary job, talking to voters! Consultants will know the vendors, the prices, the market, the political environment, and the strategy.

3. Consultants Keep You Honest

It's easy to say you will make fundraising calls, go out canvassing voters, and practice your stump speech. Following through on those commitments is the hard part. The same way a physical trainer will help you make sure you actually exercise, your consultant will help you make sure you actually campaign. They will check in regularly for updates on your progress toward meeting your goals for fundraising, doors knocked, and public speaking skills.

“Why I Chose HSG Campaigns"

"Eric Hogensen is not just a strong political strategist, he is also a friend and adviser to his clients as he works with them on challenging campaigns. I have been very happy with the products and services his firm has delivered for my campaigns, and I would recommend them to any candidate or organization that hopes to have an impact in their election."

- Doug Otto, President, California Community College Board Of Trustees

What We're Reading

This week Eric is recommending The Start-Up J Curve: The Six Steps to Entrepreneurial Success.


"Startups are hard. As I work on building TenMoreVotes, I'm trying to learn as much as possible about starting this kind of company. This book was really helpful. Breaking the startup 'cycle' into six stages, this book creates a framework to build a company. I strongly recommend it if you are interested in the startup process."


Join Us Friday, May 12th, in Milwaukee!

Dave is getting married in Milwaukee next month, and the day before the wedding, we will be having a get-together in the bar beneath our old office. Come by to celebrate and catch up.

Where: The Highbury Pub
Address: 2322 S. Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee, WI
Time: 3pm

If you're in town, we hope you will join us!

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So, you're thinking about running in 2018?

“I’m thinking about running in 2018 - where do I start?”

With the Trump Administration faltering, we expect 2018 to be a good year for Democrats. A lot of people are thinking about running for the first time next year. Maybe you're one of them!

Here are our top four tips for starting your campaign...

1. Ask yourself, "Why do I want to run?" If you can't answer that question - or if it seems like you'd be running for the wrong reasons - you might want to reconsider. You will dedicate more time, energy, and resources to your campaign than to anything else in your life up to this point. If you're not committed, or if you're not doing it for a reason bigger than yourself, remember you still have time to walk away.

2. Figure out the financials now. Once you have decided you definitely want to run, the next thing is figuring out if it is even possible, financially. How much money will you need to win? How much money do you think you can raise? How much money do you know you can raise? Put together some spreadsheets with a dollar amount next to everyone important to you to get started.

3. Start spreading the news. Let people in the know that you're thinking about running. Not only will they appreciate it, but they can give you advice (some of which will be good) and recommend individuals for you to meet. You can also bring them in as early supporters for your fundraising efforts.

4. Start looking for a consultant. Political consultants who work with new candidates know the process very well and can help you in ways you didn't know you needed help. The earlier you bring on your General Consultant (GC), the earlier he or she can start the processes of planning and putting you in front of the institutional players you need to win. Hopefully you will consider HSG Campaigns for your GC needs. :)

“Why I Chose HSG Campaigns"

“The team at HSG Campaigns has a strong understanding of elections and the voters who participate in them. They work fairly with you and are able to provide great advice, clarity, and support. I would recommend them to my fellow city and district administrators for their own ballot measures.”

- Brian Saeki, City Manager, Covina, California

What We're Reading

This week Dave is recommending, The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck.


"In 2011, Buck and his brother decided to get a covered wagon and mules to re-create the journey of the Oregon Trail. Part history, part diary, The Oregon Trail rediscovers and brings alive an often-forgotten but monumentally important episode of American history."



Winning Your Local Campaign!

3 Tips to Get Your Local Campaign Off the Ground

With tight budgets and neighborhood politics, local campaigns can feel like a challenge to begin and an even greater challenge to win. So, how do you turn your grassroots campaign into a winning campaign for your neighborhood?

By considering these three tips to start thinking "locally"!

"With Friends Like These" - Support from community leaders, small business owners, and even your neighbors can make all the difference - but voters need to know! Make sure your voters know that the community leaders they know and trust support you. You won't regret it!

Get Social - Once you have your message and team - get social! Door-to-door canvassing, phone banking, or Meet & Greets are the way to go to make your first introduction with voters in your neighborhood. Make sure they know who you are and why you're running to establish your name ID.

Fundraise, Fundraise, Fundraise! - It's never too early to start fundraising, especially in local races where every cent counts. So, remember our ABCs of Fundraising to develop a targeted donor list and breakdown your fundraising goals to ensure your call time is a success!

“Why I Chose Ten More Votes”

“Ten More Votes is the perfect tool for phone banking. Volunteers prefer using the app to big stacks of phone lists, and they make more calls as a result. I definitely recommend it for any field program." - Sean Donahue

Simple, streamlined, effective, Ten More Votes is a mobile voter contact app that allows you to call registered voters directly from your smartphone without the need of call sheets or persuasion scripts.

Click here to learn more about Ten More Votes.

What We're Reading

This week Eric is recommending, Building a Business of Politics: The Rise of Political Consulting and the Transformation of American Democracy.


"This book is a great read if you really want to learn about the history of political consultants in the US. From the earliest days of the Progressives seeing 'publicity' as an antidote to political machine corruption at the turn of the the 20th century to the first political consulting firm starting in California in 1933 this book was informative and interesting. As we enter a political time like no other, it's important to know your history!"



How are you recovering?


Need Tips for the Post-Election Recovery?

We’re all still recovering from Tuesday’s election - physically and emotionally. While we are horrified by a soon-to-be President Trump, we look forward to continuing the fight for progress in 2018.

Need tips for the post-election recovery? Here’s how we’ll be recovering from this election:

  • Vacations! - Over Thanksgiving, Eric will be going to WI to visit family, Dave is going to Zion National Park in Utah, and Jeremy is having a restful “Staycation” in LA. We all need rest and relaxation.
  • Getting back in shape! - You know you’ve been putting it off too. We’ll be hitting the gym.
  • Binge-Watching TV - There’s been some great new programming this year. Some of our recommendations include “Stranger Things”, “Glitch”, “Fleabag”, “Atlanta”, and “Westworld”.

Our friend Joe Fuld also compiled a list of post-election ideas in a 2014 article for Campaigns & Elections

Finally, we’re taking solace in Secretary Clinton’s parting words yesterday: “Never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”

Let us know your post-election recovery advice too!

Why I Chose HSG Campaigns

This year, we were proud to work with the State Senate Democrats in California, helping preserve their majority.

“HSG Campaigns is a great resource for campaigns and organizations to use in a grind. They are able to do a wide scope of work and give you the tools you need to make the right decisions.

When it comes to direct mail, digital ads, or scripts, HSG is among the best in creative, on-target content. I know from working with them that I can trust them to work through nearly any time constraint and limitation. I highly recommend them for your next campaign or project.”

- Jeff Gozzo, California Senate Democrats

What We're Reading

We’re going to skip a book this time and direct you to an article on Cracked.com: How Half of America Lost Its F**king Mind. This piece provides some good insights into why such a huge gap opened up for Trump among non-college educated white voters in the rust belt, a once-reliable demographic for Democrats.

On to better days,

- Eric, Dave, Jeremy
HSG Campaigns

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Voter Mobilization is Changing: Here's How...


The Future of Voter Mobilization

According to the California Secretary of State's 15-Day Report of Registration, there are 17,915,053 registered voters in California. That's nearly 1.8 million more voters in California than we had in the 2008 Presidential Primary!

So how do you mobilize California's growing voter base in 2016 and around the country? You might want to check out these 5 New Voter Mobilization Apps, Companies, and Ideas that are paving the way in modern political campaigning. 

  • Ten More Votes - Ten More Votes is a mobile voter contact app that allows campaign staff and supporters to call voters directly from their smartphones without the need of campaign phones, call sheets, or scripts.
  • "Catch and Release" - When using "Catch and Release" a robo-call touches a voter and asks them to record a message for their representative about an important issue. Later, before Election Day, the voter receives an auto-dialed follow up that includes their recording played back to them, and information on how, where, and when to vote.
  • Variable-Printed Direct Mail - This has been around for some time, but it is still rarely used. With variable-printed direct mail each piece looks tailored fit for the recipient, with their name, voting history, and even directions to their polling place.
  • Hustle and Handstack - Both apps provide a great way to scale person-to-person text messages with voters or supporters, directing them to take action. 
  • RVM On-Demand - With RVM On-Demand you can automatically send single Ringless Voicemail Drops to target individuals and make follow up calls for you.   

"Why I Chose HSG Campaigns"

"Blending innovative products with top-notch service, HSG Campaigns has the experience every candidate needs to help shape their winning campaign. When I ran for Los Angeles City Council, Eric and his team went above and beyond to support my campaign from Day One to Election Day. With that level of dedication and service, I strongly recommend them for your campaign."

- Joe Buscaino, Los Angeles City Councilmember, District 15

What We're Reading

This week, Eric is recommending another favorite from his collection: Grit - The Power of Passion and Perseverance


"According to Duckworth, 'the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and perseverance she calls Grit.' Duckworth ingrains this lesson in her book reminding us that, 'at various points in big ways and small, we get knocked down. If we say down grit loses, if we get up grit prevails.' For any reader interested in understanding the ins-and-outs of our motivations and ambitions, I highly recommend Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance."


-Eric, Dave, Jeremy
HSG Campaigns

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Are you fundraising effectively?


The "ABCs" of Fundraising

Love it or hate it, we all have to do it - fundraising. So to help you stay ahead of the competition this next reporting period, we're sharing with you our ABCs of Fundraising.

  • Always know and target your donor list - Take the time to go through your donor network. Target who will be your "love money" donors, your max-out donors, your donors who'll need a validator or two before making their donations. Knowing who's who before that next fundraising call can make all the difference when it comes to hitting your fundraising goals.
  • Breakdown your short-term and long-term fundraising goals - A campaign can't operate without a budget, and a budget can't operate without a comprehensive plan of your short- and long-term fundraising goals. So, make sure to share with your campaign team estimated metrics on how much you can raise each day, week, and month, as well as where the money will be coming from. For example, through call time, email blasts, and fundraisers.
  • Coordinate and communicate with your host committees on a regular basis - Once you have a fundraiser scheduled, don't forget to check in with your host committee on a regular basis. Let them know who else is helping to organize it, who has RSVP'd for the event, how much money has been raised, and always provide realistic metrics for your host committee to meet your overall fundraising goals.

"Why I Chose HSG Campaigns"

"HSG has a solution for every candidate. HSG Campaigns' political experience, expertise, and service is a huge plus for every campaign, big or small. HSG knows campaigns. When you need them, they are there. Every campaign wants HSG; what they know and what they bring, every single day."

- Richard McKinnon, Santa Monica Planning Commission Chair

What We're Reading

This week Dave is recommending You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself


"David McRaney weaves us through a survey of behavioral psychology studies that demonstrate how delusional human beings really are. He removes the abstraction of the topics by attributing the delusions to YOU the reader. The cynical, degrading narrative makes the book much more fun than the studies it reviews."


Campaigns & Elections Features Ten More Votes!


"New App Aims to Streamline Volunteer Call Time"

"Direct mail together with phones is one of the areas of campaigning that until recently had been left largely undisrupted by digital. But after years of dire warnings about its future, the sector is proving that it too can be a source of innovation."

"Now, a California-based mail consultant is taking a different approach. Eric Hogensen co-created an app he hopes will provide a digital offshoot to compliment his existing firm."

“'I look at this as part of the future of campaigns,' Hogensen, president of HSG Campaigns, said about this app, Ten More Votes. 'To me, it’s a natural outgrowth.'”

Simple, streamlined, effective, Ten More Votes is a mobile voter contact app that allows you to call registered voters directly from your smartphone without the need of call sheets or persuasion scripts. 

Now, anyone from seasoned veterans to first-time volunteers can effectively persuade and ID voters with minimal training and from any location. Click here to learn more about Ten More Votes.

-Eric, Dave, Jeremy
HSG Campaigns

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Struggling to boost your online engagement? You're not alone


Building a Buzz on Social Media

According to Social Media Examiner, less than half of small businesses think their Facebook marketing is actually working! And, small businesses are not alone. Candidates are experiencing the same burnout online. So if you feel like you're not making a buzz on social media, don't be worried. 

To help out, we identified 3 Common Mistakes Made Online.

  • Ignoring comments and messages from followers on social media - Always remember to reply and be conversational with your followers. A weekly reminder that there’s someone behind the Facebook page or Twitter handle will go a long way.
  • Forgetting to check in on algorithm changes from Facebook or Twitter - Social media is changing constantly, and so is what's considered post-worthy on on these websites. While you don’t need to be an expert on algorithms, it doesn't hurt to know that Facebook and Twitter are prioritizing posts with quality content over posts with only high engagement numbers. So, ditch the click-bait ads and focus on what really matters to your followers.
  • Throwing your money online at the very end - Inventory of ad space online is not always readily available at the very end. You might plan to spend $5,000 in the last week, but only end up spending $500. Plan a digital budget ahead of time.

So before that next Tweet, Post, or online ad, check to see if you're making one of the 3 Common Mistakes Made Online.

"Why I Chose HSG Campaigns"

For our third issue of the HSG Newsletter, Long Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson shared the following testimonial about our work together to elect him to the Long Beach City Council.

"HSG was a big asset for my campaign. They worked with me to create a really strong message for my district, and the mail they created was first-class. Eric and his team will make great partners with you on your toughest campaigns."

- Rex Richardson, Long Beach Vice Mayor, District 9

What We're Reading

This week Eric is recommending The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune and Survival in the Age of Networks. 


"The Seventh Sense is a lucid and revealing look at our times. As the author states, 'the Seventh Sense is the ability to look at any object and see the way it is changed by connection. It is written for...the first generation of leaders and students and war fighters not to find the digital strange, but rather natural and curious and wonderful in its power.' 

"We are all experiencing the dramatic change caused by these connections, and I encourage everyone to check out this book."


-Eric, Dave, Jeremy
HSG Campaigns

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