Five Must-Have Skills for Campaign Staff in 2018

We all know how rapidly things are changing for political campaigns. That's why we compiled our top five skills your campaign staff should have in 2018.

#1 - Tech Troubleshooting Skills

Technology is an integral part of all campaigns, from email blasts, websites, and online petitions to social media, new software, and apps. Having a basic understanding of tech is essential. You might not be an expert in web design but taking some time to learn the basics can go a long way. Even if you aren’t using this technology directly, the understanding will help you communicate with members of your team who do, and make the entire campaign run smoother.

#2 - Strong Writing Skills

At the end of the day all campaigns are about organizing and communicating. The ability to articulate ideas properly is just as critical as it has always been. A candidate can have the best ideas, but if no one understands them they have no value. Campaigns move fast, and being able to move quickly and efficiently communicate with voters is key. On top of that, convincing your colleagues of your own ideas is key as well.

#3 - The "Can-Do" Attitude

The most important word a campaign worker has is "Yes." There should be no work that is beneath you in a campaign. We can plan all we want but sometimes the you-know-what hits the fan and suddenly you are covering responsibilities you are not used to. Being open to anything is not only the best way to get ahead, but it also makes sure the campaign stays on track even through problems.

#4 - Patience

This might seem counterintuitive in the digital age, when campaigns are moving faster than ever. But patience is still a virtue, especially when dealing with colleagues. A campaign is a team, and not all teams come together perfectly at first. Staffers need to remember they're working with people from diverse backgrounds who may not have the same experiences or skill sets they have. Patience is also key to minimizing mistakes. As we always say, slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

#5 - Thinking Only as Much as Necessary

A common problem on campaigns is over-thinking, over-analyzing, and over-strategizing. A campaign should be 10% planning and 90% executing. This is especially important as campaigns move more and more online, when the flow of information is becoming faster and faster. Less time spent executing means less time spent winning.

"Why I Chose HSG Campaigns"

"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

Dave is recommending Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah.


"In Born a Crime, Noah shows us a side of him that we don't usually see on The Daily Show. It is an intimate memoir that illustrates both the beauty and absurdities of life. It could be described as a South African version of Dreams From My Father, but with more jokes. (Like President Obama, Noah is from a mixed-race background, but in a country where it wasn't only taboo at the time, it was criminal. Hence the name of this book.) Addressing major issues like race, religion, language, and domestic violence, he uses his unique experiences to tell stories to which we can all, somehow, relate. This is not a typical celebrity memoir. I definitely recommend it."

- Dave

Get Your 2018 Proposal!

Are you looking for a general consultant, for direct mail, or for digital products in 2018? Click here to email us about your project and request a proposal! We look forward to working with your campaign.


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Five Battlegrounds to Watch in 2018

2017 is almost over, and the most competitive midterm election in over a decade (for our side, anyway) is upon us. As we watch fundraising and polling over the next 11 months, here are some of the key battlegrounds to pay attention to.

1) Rural, working-class seats

During a midterm, the president’s party typically loses these states and districts. Will that be the case in 2018, or has Trump permanently shifted voters there into the Republican column?

Races to watch: IA-Gov, MI-Gov, MN-Gov, WI-Gov, WV-Sen, IN-Sen, MO-Sen, MT-Sen, ND-Sen, WI-Sen, IA-01, KS-02, MN-01, MN-08, NY-19, NY-22, PA-15, PA-16, TX-23, WA-08

2) Southern suburbs

Suburbs are usually where Republicans do well, especially in the south. But unlike rural voters around them, educated southern suburbanites have not taken well to Trump, and Republicans in districts like those struggled in 2017. Will it be enough for Democrats to pick up some of these seats?

Races to watch: GA-06, KY-06, TX-07, TX-32, VA-10

3) California holdouts

While most of the Golden State has stopped voting for the GOP, a number of Republicans have held on to Congressional seats across California, especially in Orange County. But Trump and his policies are deeply unpopular in these districts. The question is, how many will fall?

Races to watch: CA-10, CA-21, CA-25, CA-39, CA-45, CA-48, CA-49, CA-50

4) The West

Western states have never quite fit the same political molds as the Northeast, Midwest, or South. More libertarian attitudes, higher numbers of Latinos, and conservationist traditions might give the Democrats a sweep in these places.

Races to watch: CO-Gov, NM-Gov, NV-Gov, AZ-Sen, NV-Sen, AZ-01, AZ-02, CO-06, NM-02, NV-03, UT-04

5) The Sunshine State

Florida is always a battleground, but between it’s mix of quasi-southern history, cultural diversity, suburban density, and peculiar personas, it may be the state whose politics are most shaken up by the Trump presidency. There is also a number of open seats to pay attention to.

Races to watch: FL-Gov, FL-Sen, FL-07, FL-26, FL-27

"Why I Chose HSG Campaigns"

"Over the years I have worked with HSG and seen their work on heated campaigns. Time and again, I am impressed with their ability to deliver strategic messaging with high-impact visuals. Eric Hogensen is keenly aware of how to use his political mind to communicate with voters in a way that works."

- Chris Larson, Wisconsin State Senator, District 7

What We're Reading

This month Dave is recommending After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Islam by Lesley Hazleton.


"With the 2006 al-Askari mosque bombing as the focus of her narrative, Hazleton dives into the story of infighting among Muhammad’s family and followers in the hours, days, weeks, and years after his death. The reader sees the political struggle to succeed the Prophet slowly unfold into war and eventually into the schism between the two main sects of Islam. While hardly a complete examination, the book provides insights into the roots of the conflict that continues today."

- Dave

94 Ways to Resist Trump: The "Resist List"

More and more we hear family and friends tell us how worn out they are by the Trump Administration: the news, the tweets, the reprehensible behavior, and the routine threats to our American values.

We hear you, and we want to empower you to make a difference.

Our friends at The Campaign Workshop have compiled a list of 94 organizations (and growing) that make up the Resistance. These organizations fight for civil rights, immigrant rights, LGBT rights, women's rights, political reform, the environment, a fair economy, and protecting our 1st Amendment freedoms.

Click here to download The Resist List.

Donating to or volunteering with these organizations are great ways to fight back against the Trump Administration, and to move our country forward.


3 Takeaways from VA and NJ

Three Takeaways from Elections in Virginia and New Jersey

Democrats enjoyed some big wins last week, which are hopefully only a taste of what we'll be getting next year. We wanted to share with you our top three takeaways.

1) The geographic battle lines are definitely shifting. Democrats are struggling more in rural counties than we did ten years ago, and how to responsibly win back white, working-class voters will continue to be an important topic of conversation. But the good news is that we're starting to pick up steam in the suburbs, particularly those surrounding southern cities, like Atlanta, Houston, and now Richmond. The suburbs should start to play a larger role in our GOTV plans in 2018.

2) Millennials are starting to make a real impact. Back in 2008, many thought Millennials put Obama in the Oval Office, but the truth is he would have won without them. But now this generation is moving to the suburbs, having kids, and voting in strong numbers. The majority of them never fell in love with Clinton, as it's a much more progressive generation than Gen X'ers or Boomers. But with Trump in the White House, they went all-in with the moderate Ralph Northam in Virginia. Keep a watch out for the 18-34 voting bloc in 2018.

3) Ordinary people are running and winning. The elections last week saw an incredibly diverse cast of characters win seats in Virginia and New Jersey. Newly elected Danica Roem, Vin Gopal, and Ravi Bhalla are flipping the script on who an American candidate is supposed to be. Perhaps the Trump presidency's most lasting impact will be the way it encouraged good people to run for the first time, to resist on behalf of their communities.

 "Why I Chose HSG Campaigns"

"There's a sense of urgency working with HSG, they understand the pace of modern campaigns. The work you'll get from them will be top-notch, every time. Through the process there is a lot of consideration and effort in making the client comfortable with how things are going and being receptive to any concerns. I strongly recommend them for your campaign or campaign project."

- Chris Callopy, Executive Director, Teachers Association of Long Beach


What We're Reading

This week Eric is recommending the works of Ta-Nehisi Coates.


"An essential voice of our time, Coats fuses complex thought with elegant writing and insightful reporting to create a lasting impact on the reader. To read Coats is to see into the soul of our country. He has deservedly reached the upper echelon of our country's great thinkers and I'm always excited to read what he writes. Read these and everything he writes. Required reading for everyone, period."

- Eric

94 Ways to Resist Trump: The "Resist List"

More and more we hear family and friends tell us how worn out they are by the Trump Administration: the news, the tweets, the reprehensible behavior, and the routine threats to our American values.

We hear you, and we want to empower you to make a difference.

Our friends at The Campaign Workshop have compiled a list of 94 organizations (and growing) that make up the Resistance. These organizations fight for civil rights, immigrant rights, LGBT rights, women's rights, political reform, the environment, a fair economy, and protecting our 1st Amendment freedoms.

Click here to download The Resist List.

Donating to or volunteering with these organizations are great ways to fight back against the Trump Administration, and to moving our country forward.


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5 Steps Before Launching Your Campaign

The 101 Steps for Running for Office: Our Top Five

Recently our friends at Storefront Political published a great guide for first-time candidates, with 101 tips to help their campaigns win. We picked out our favorite five for candidates who are just getting started, before officially launching their campaigns…

#6 – Give your campaign enough time to succeed.

The story you might have heard about the person who decided to run at the last minute and overcame the “powers that be” is a nice story, but it almost never works out that way. It is a whole lot better to have six months to get your message out than 90 days. It is even better to have a whole year. In other words, within reason, earlier is almost always better. Give yourself time to win by launching your campaign as early as possible, particularly if you are a first-time candidate.

#17 – Use your [fundraising and electoral] research to make the tough decisions.

This is where the rubber meets the road for most campaigns. Be very honest with yourself. If you don’t think you can raise close to the average in campaign donations and also find the time to personally reach out to voters, it’s not time to run yet. It’s important to be realistic. If you decide that you can’t make it work this cycle, don’t worry. Run next cycle and start working up to success right now. And if you decide you can—that’s great!

#22 – Do the hard—but vitally important—work of understanding compliance.

Read the laws with your treasurer. Understand them. If you don’t understand them, ask your local elections officials to explain them to you. Did we say this is important? It is really important.

“Compliance” usually means not taking contributions in excess of the legal limit and not using campaign funds for personal expenses. It always means having the proper “disclaimers” on your campaign materials showing who paid for them (your campaign). It usually means not coordinating with outside groups. And as far as we know, every candidate in America must regularly file disclosure papers with their local elections officials saying how much they raised and spent. This is NOT a complete list. Get the list from your local elections official and memorize it (please) and put all the key dates down. You will thank us later.

#32 – Do some political mapping

Who are the people and organizations that matter in your race? Unions, local elected officials at all levels, party leaders, community leaders, church leaders, business leaders and others. This might be a little daunting for a first-time candidate. But do some research. Who did other candidates list as their endorsers in the past? That’s a great way to start—go through the websites of local candidates and look at who like-minded candidates list as their endorsers. That should be a pretty good initial guide.

#39 – Having trouble asking people for money?

Okay, simple: don’t run unless you are rich. But even then it might be a problem. Self-funders frequently don’t do very well. Why? Because when you ask people to give to your cause, you are creating a list of supporters who are invested personally in your success. These donors help recruit other donors, they spread the word about you on social media, they invite you to community events they know about and introduce you to friends and colleagues.

It’s also important to keep in mind the people you’re asking for money aren’t just giving to you as an individual, they are giving to the platform and policies that you are advocating for. A lot of people want their kids to have smaller class sizes, but not a lot of people have the courage to do what you’re doing by running for office. You have shared values, and for those values to succeed, it takes teamwork. Some people run, some people donate—now, go ask them for it.

Click here to read their full how-to guide for first-time candidates.

"Why I Chose HSG Campaigns"

"I know firsthand the high-quality work HSG Campaigns has done in Los Angeles and across California. Eric Hogensen and his team have a talent for creative communications, strategic targeting, and innovative campaign practices. A Democrat running for office in California should definitely consider them for their campaign."

- Eric C. Bauman, Chair, Democratic Party of California

What We're Reading

This week Dave is recommending Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari.


"This time last year I recommended Harari's first book, Sapiens, which explores the meta-historical story of human beings. In the more philosophical Homo Deus, Harari explores the ways that the accelerating advances in science and technology could either transform our species into super-humans, or make us much less important to the world. Harari makes some futuristic predictions, but more importantly, he asks us to start thinking about what's next for the human race."

- Dave

Have a Newsletter Idea?

Is there an idea about campaigns you would like to share? Do you have questions about campaigns you would like us to explore? Send us an email to let us know, and we'll try to include it in an upcoming newsletter!

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The Five Biggest Campaign Myths

The Five Biggest Campaign Myths and Misconceptions: What Candidates Get Wrong

As you (or your client) prepare to launch your 2018 race, it's important to separate the facts from the fictions of political campaigns. That's why we've prepared a list of the top 5 myths and misconceptions we see candidates holding on to as they enter the election.

1. There is a silver bullet for winning this race, I just need to figure out what it is.

The number of candidates who win by hoping for a silver bullet to materialize is essentially zero. To win, you need to be a good candidate, you need to have a good team, and you need the political environment – including the voters in your district and the time of your election – to be right for you. It takes a lot of time and hard work. Being a candidate for public office is hard. There is never a way to get around that.

2. The money will come to me.

There are a lot of well-funded campaigns on TV shows and in movies, and it leads us to believe that it happens quite naturally. Few TV shows or movies capture the hours and hours candidates spend dialing for dollars every day, yet it's how they raise money in the real world. Knowing people with money who like you gives you a big advantage, but even then, you still need to ask them for it. This is one of the few campaign tasks that can't be delegated. Only the candidate will be a successful fundraiser.

3. Having the most money ensures victory.

This is the flip-side of the money part of the campaign. Do you need money to win your race? Yes. Will raising the most money win the race? Not necessarily. Elections are complex. Money is important, but not as important as what you do with it. How will you spend it to communicate with voters? What exactly will you communicate? Donald Trump didn't raise nearly as much as his primary opponents. Instead he figured out how to be the most visible among them without paying for visibility. If you can't raise as much as your opponent you can still win, you just need to figure out how to do more with less.

4. We can win by giving non-voters a reason to vote.

This pipe dream is often found in states and districts where our party does so poorly that the locals are desperate enough to believe a pipe dream. Here's the truth: some non-voters have a deep distrust of all politicians, including you; some non-voters don't believe that voting is their duty; some non-voters are so apolitical they don't trust themselves to make the right decision. But for most non-voters, it's all of these things and more. It is almost always a better use of your time, energy, and campaign finances to focus on persuading likely voters and getting your supporters to the polls. If you're in a pipe dream district, hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

5. Voters will choose the candidate with the best ideas.

Like having the most money raised in a campaign, having the best ideas doesn't hurt, but like everything else, it's not a silver bullet. Voters make their decisions based on a number of factors, but in most general elections, most voters decide based on their ideology alone. And there is a vast and ever-increasing body of social psychology research that shows how difficult it is for good ideas to undo the preconceived notions held by people with strong ideologies. Great ideas work best in primaries and among persuadable voters with low-ideology scores. In other circumstances you will want to focus on your opponent's negatives or getting your base to the polls.


"Why I Chose HSG Campaigns"

"HSG Campaigns did direct mail supporting my candidacy when I ran for State Senate in 2014. When I saw what they put together I was impressed. They were able to explain my candidacy and values to the voters concisely and persuasively, and provided a clear contrast with my Republican opponent. I highly recommend them for your direct mail program and other campaign needs."

- Senator Tony Mendoza, CA-SD-32


What We're Watching

This week Eric is recommending the documentary Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story.


"Lee Atwater's story is an important one, especially for political professionals. While I don't agree with his politics or some of his tactics, his life and relentless pursuit of winning is a story worthy of remembrance and study. Political work is hard and full of pitfalls, and I have always believed it's vital to learn from those who came before us. I recommend a watch or rewatch of this documentary as we head into a critical election season for our country."

- Eric


Have a Newsletter Idea?

Is there an idea about campaigns you would like to share? Do you have questions about campaigns you would like us to explore? Send us an email to let us know, and we'll try to include it in an upcoming newsletter!


Using Trump in Your Message

The Pros & Cons of Using Trump in Your Campaign Message

As of August 2017, Donald Trump has become a deeply unpopular president. His approval rating is now consistently under 40%. Unable to get anything done in Congress – despite controlling both houses – Republicans are also facing a major enthusiasm gap.

But how much should Democratic campaigns focus on the president in their communications? The answer is less clear cut than you might think. We weigh the pros and cons of using Trump in your campaign message.


  • According to Rasmussen, strong disapproval for Trump exceeded 50% in July, mostly among Democrats. Using Trump's image can be a good way to motivate the base to come out and vote on Election Day. "Send a message to Trump" is a good message for progressives.
  • Attacking Democratic primary opponents who hold any views that align with Trump's can give your primary campaign a shot in the arm and move the needle in your favor.
  • In general elections, Republicans who align themselves with Trump too closely will cost them independent voters. So, if you have a Trumpian Republican you’re facing, you should exploit that in your mailers, ads, and press conferences.


  • Many voters understand that Trump is not a typical Republican. While anti-Trump messages will work well with progressive Democrats and people of color, they are likely to fall short of expectations with other voters, especially if the Republican in the race distances him or herself from the president.
  • There is a law of diminishing returns when you try associating a Democratic primary opponent to an unpopular Republican. We have seen it many times in the past. While it can give your campaign a shot in the arm, sustaining those attacks will make them less and less effective because (frankly) voters don’t find them very believable.
  • Traditional Republican voters like the ones we discussed a few weeks ago (wealthier, more educated, suburban) might not like Trump, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to vote for a Democratic Congressional candidate. They will see through it if you try to get them to vote Democratic with an anti-Trump message.

If you have questions about using or avoiding Trump in your campaign, reach out to us! We’re happy to be a resource to you.


"Why I Chose HSG Campaigns"

"I have known Eric Hogensen for many years and he has always impressed me with his political insights. So naturally, when I decided to run, I decided to hire his firm. HSG Campaigns proved to be a highly-creative and hard-working team that never gave up. I very highly recommend them for your consulting needs if you run for office."

- Mitchell Schwartz, former candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles


What We're Reading

This week Dave is recommending The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie.


"Andrew Carnegie is a fascinating character. In his autobiography, he tells interesting stories from his life, including his relationships with other historical figures like Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, and Kaiser Wilhelm II. More importantly, the book outlines his philosophies of business, politics, religion, and philanthropy, which are not always what you would expect of one of history's richest men."

- Dave


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!


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Branding Like Bryce

How to Create a Brand Like Randy Bryce Did

Our friend, Howie Klein, recently took note of an incredible ad from Randy Bryce (one of Speaker Paul Ryan's Democratic challengers) on his blog:

"…this authentic voice from southeast Wisconsin pops up on the screen a couple of weeks ago and BOOM! he immediately creates a platinum brand, goes from 7,000 to 113,000 twitter followers in two weeks, raises $500,000 from small donors in the same time period, puts out an online video that has over half a million views, and has endorsements pouring in from brand name political leaders like Ro Khanna, Alan Grayson and Kirsten Gillibrand."

While it's true that the DCCC can’t bottle, package, and resell this brand in any district in the country, there are some important political branding lessons to be learned from the Bryce ad.


1. Voters are looking for authenticity. Gone are the days when only suited-up Ken dolls with poll-tested sound bites could get elected to Congress. More and more, voters are looking for authentic candidates who look and sound like real people.

2. Communicate with voters, not at them. It's really easy to disregard ads that seem scripted. One of the reasons documentary-style ads like this work well is because they offer opportunities for the candidate to use authentic language that connects with voters.

3. Tell a story. At first, it's not clear that this ad is for a candidate. As it goes on, you meet the characters in a way that feels natural. Who Bryce is and what he represents sticks with you as a result. That's because the messages that stick with an audience are those told through a story.

4. Positivity works. As the ad's maker, Matt McLaughlin, told Longreads, "There's a reason story arcs exist and why archetypes exist. Randy is an archetype and so is Paul Ryan. We wanted to end up with a place of hope and excitement that centers around Randy. I could see other ads ending with, 'this is why Paul Ryan is bad,' but we’ve always been advocates of positivity. Although this isn't the average political spot, it's not an indie film. People want a happy ending."

5. End on a clever point of summation. In this ad, you learn who Bryce is: an authentic working person. He and his family are affected by the decisions made in Washington, and lately, not for the better. At the end, Bryce proposes, "...let's trade places. Paul Ryan, you can come work the iron and I'll go to DC." It’s a remarkably simple but clever statement that sums up the entire idea. Paul Ryan is a Washington insider, Randy Bryce is a regular guy. Who do you prefer?


"Why I Chose HSG Campaigns"

"Eric and his team are skilled in political strategy and organization and, more importantly, go above and beyond the expectations of their clients. Not only were they able to produce a great mailer for us, but they also showed us how they could help with our long-term goals. We are excited to work with HSG Campaigns again, and are proud to recommend them to other organizations like ours."

- Doug Patzkowski, President and Kathy Schlotz, Executive Director, Montebello Teachers Association


What We're Reading

This week Eric is recommending the highly acclaimed Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance.


"I'm a couple of years older than Vance and grew up in a small rust belt town in south central Wisconsin. Though we don't share many biographical similarities, Vance's descriptions of the rust belt decay of his youth resonated deeply with me. The Trump election has reminded us how these parts of the country feel. This book is worth a read for anyone interested in a personal perspective on the rural areas of the middle of our great country."

- Eric


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!

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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."




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