Meet Pete

So, let me start this off with an introduction of myself. My name is Ali Brown, and I was born and raised in Indiana. I am a queer, feminist, pro-union, pro-equality, Hoosier Democrat. We exist, and yes, there are more of us than just Mayor Pete and myself. I am running for City-County Council in Indianapolis. And I have been friends with Pete Buttigieg for more than a decade.
I want to tell you why I am an enthusiastic Pete Buttigieg supporter and have been for a very long time.
Pete and I first met in 2008 when we both worked for former Congresswoman Jill Long Thompson on her historic run for Governor. She was, and sadly the only, woman to ever receive a major party’s nomination for Governor in Indiana. I was a Regional Field Director and Pete worked on economic development policy. I was 22 and Pete, just 25.
My first impression was that he was nice, but a little shy and very smart. I didn’t know how smart at the time (he speaks 9 languages, plays 12 instruments, and is a Rhodes Scholar), but when you first meet Pete, there is a confidence in the way he answers questions that someone only develops because they have studied the material. He drove the policy for the campaign. It was, and still is, one of the most progressive policy platforms that has ever been put together in Indiana.

In 2010, I really saw Pete blossom. He ran for State Treasurer to both move our state forward and to advocate for much needed transparency in our one party dominated state, and to fight for our auto workers. Indiana has more than 100,000 people working in jobs directly tied to the auto industry and our Treasurer at the time had sued to stop President Obama’s auto bailout. Pete made the livelihoods of those workers the centerpiece of his campaign. He became a champion for the worker. He didn’t win that race — 2010 was really, really bad for Democrats in Indiana — but he traveled the state, met tons of people, and developed his calm, confident style.

Pete ran for mayor of South Bend the next year. He won a crowded primary that included a state representative and people who were much better known in the community. Pete won because he talked with everyone, he made everyone feel heard, and he brought a bold vision to a city that had been decimated after so many industrial jobs left. He gave them hope.

Pete has been an excellent mayor. The people of his city really like him. The people of Indiana really like him. He represents the best in Hoosiers. He’s smart and of good character. Most of all, he is kind. That’s what leads me to be a strident Pete supporter: his kindness.

In the summer of 2016, the Indiana Democrats had their annual weekend gathering in French Lick (yes, it’s a real place). It’s one of those gorgeous old hotels that makes me think of the hotel in Dirty Dancing. There are a lot of social events that happen during the weekend and party work is done. I was 5 months pregnant with my son at the time meaning I was very uncomfortable and very hot. I decided to go to the pool by myself and try and cool off.

I was standing alone in a crowded pool, just chilling and letting my belly float, when I hear “Hey Ali!” come from behind me. It was Pete, holding a virgin strawberry daiquiri. He said he could tell I was hot and wanted to bring me something. We stood there in the pool, chatting. He introduced me to his boyfriend at the time, Chasten. He wouldn’t let me buy the next round.

That’s Pete in a nutshell. He saw me, looking uncomfortable and hot, and thought “how can I make her life better?” and he did. He asked for nothing in return.

I will always be there for Pete, because Pete was and is there for me. He took time from his busy tour to catch up with me and make a video endorsing my run for office,

I’m very excited for you all to meet Pete.

Ali Brown is a candidate for Indianapolis City-County Council District 5 and a client of HSG.

Brown is running to be a voice for working parents and to fight for access to affordable childcare, public safety and complete streets, workforce development, and mass transit. As City-County Councilor, Brown will prioritize issues effecting Indy’s workforce development, families, and children, in order to ensure that working parents have a champion on the Council.

Brown lives with her husband, Zach, their son, Dylan, and their dog Franklin, in Northeast Indianapolis. To learn more about Ali Brown and her campaign, visit

"Why I Chose HSG Campaigns"

When we wanted to get the word out about two important ballot measures, we went to HSG Campaigns. They worked with us to develop a great plan that included digital advertising and texting, allowing us to reach tens of thousands of voters in a short amount of time. They were very responsive and proactive. Both measures successfully passed. I highly recommend HSG Campaigns for your next ballot measure campaign.

—  Alyssa Gutierrez, Executive Director, Economic & Policy Impact Center

What We're Watching

This week Matt is recommending the television series "Ozark," available on Netflix.


"This is one gripping thriller that always has me on the edge of my seat. Jason Bateman does a phenomenal job with his acting throughout the story. He portrays a financial planner from Chicago who ends up laundering money to appease a drug cartel from Mexico. There are also many twists and turns throughout the show that make you want to stay engaged until the very end. I definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys a dark drama."

- Matt

Text Messaging For Campaigns


In today’s political campaigns, the use of text messaging has become a common tool. Not only is text messaging fast and easy, but it can be cheaper than other forms of communication. Over the past decade, text messaging has been used to remind voters to get out and vote, send event alerts, organize volunteers, and mobilize the youth vote. However, with many different options and software available for text messaging, it can be challenging to choose one that works best for your campaign. Here are some options we like. 


ThruText is a texting program that allows you to upload lists of numbers to text and lists of volunteers who can message them. The program is not an app, but web-based, and so can be used on a computer or on a phone. ThruText allows you to write texts and create automated replies. Also, you can include survey questions to measure the support of a candidate or to ask if they are able to volunteer. ThruText charges .08 cents for each outgoing text. Lastly, ThruText can easily export the messaging data and the survey questions for useful analysis. 

Ten More Votes

Ten More Votes is an application for your smart phone that allows volunteers and staff to effortlessly canvass, text, and call voters directly without any formal training needed. The application allows you to either upload your own data to be used or Ten More Votes can provide you with the necessary information. Also, Ten More Votes charges a flat monthly fee for unlimited text message usage. With a simple and clear interface to use on the app, text messages can be sent at a high rate of 10 messages per minute.

The Risks of Texting

Although texting can be an efficient tool for campaign outreach, texting can also be misused. Recently in Wisconsin, an individual recently sent out mass texts to support a specific candidate for Alderman. These texts included false information about the candidate’s opponent as well as racist comments to others causing issues in the campaign. Read more here:

"Why I Chose HSG Campaigns"

“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 Watching

This week Eric is recommending the television series "The Expanse," available on Amazon Prime.

unnamed (2).jpg

"Game of Thrones in space isn't a bad description of this interesting and addicting show. Set mostly in space 200 years from now, this show was a welcome distraction from the daily grind. There's also first contact with a new life form called the protomolecule that really puts the show into Lost territory. It's on Amazon Prime and worth checking out if you need a good distraction. I enjoyed it."

- Eric

California: The Battleground Primary

With the first presidential primaries already less than a year away, it’s no secret that candidates are eyeballing ways to influence and capitalize on voters and delegates in the first voting states. With California’s primary being moved up to Super Tuesday, this makes for an interesting fight in a state that has traditionally been non-competitive for presidential candidates. 

Here are three trends to watch as all-important California presidential primary develops.

1. Mass Communication
California has 500 delegates to acquire and because California’s geography is so diverse, it takes more resources use mass communications such as TV and digital ads. This kind of political spending can be extremely costly for any candidate low on resources early in the primary season. How and when to start media communication in a state with the most expensive media market will be a critical development to watch.

2. Ballot Harvesting
Ballot harvesting is another practice that California’s unique political landscape now allows for. This tactic can be extremely beneficial for any candidate who has a well-organized operation that can target voters, collect their ballots, and keep track of how many their operation needs to capture to hit their mark. This practice is new to California and could play a significant role in the 2020 presidential primary. 

3. Progressives vs. Moderates
California - like many other states - has had a divide between the progressives moderate Dems.  This divide has complicated the Democratic Party and will be a key factor for the presidential candidates looking to gain support in California.  

"Why I Chose HSG Campaigns"

“As a new candidate, HSG Campaigns was so helpful to my campaign. They helped coach me and show me how a campaign should be run, and they produced great mail and other media to support me. HSG Campaigns knows how to win!”

— Marisol M. Uribe, Board Member, Montebello Unified School District

What We're Reading

This week Mike is recommending “Through the Language Glass” by Guy Deutscher.

419fkMJSuYL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_ (1).jpg

"How much does your language influence the way you think? By looking at the history of linguistics, author Guy Deutscher analyses how we have thought about language’s power over time. He compares words and grammar to show how the way we think is either restricted or improved by the language we happen to use. This is a fun and interesting read that alters the way you think about the world."

- Mike

The 2020 Democratic Primary Begins

1) Kamala Harris

The media is ready to jump-start the 2020 campaign tonight by featuring a CNN town hall with Kamala Harris. The Senator from California entered the race with a bold launch, raising $1.5 million in the first 24 hours. As an African American/Asian woman, she has a unique appeal to multiple groups. Since California is an early primary state, Kamala Harris has a strong path toward becoming a front-runner. 

2) The Women’s Vote

The women’s protest and movement against President Trump has undoubtedly inspired many women to seek higher office. For the first time in U.S. history, there will be more than one major female candidate running for office in a presidential primary. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand are all high-profile Senators who will make the first debate more diverse than before.

3) The Biden Factor

A big question for the 2020 Democratic primary is: Will Joe Biden run? In 2016 he took a pass due to the seemingly inevitability of Hillary Clinton, but many believe that he would have easily defeated Donald Trump. However, his 1988 and 2008 campaigns were lackluster, and Joe Biden would be 77 on Election Day 2020.

4) Elizabeth vs. Bernie

Ever since his surprisingly strong performance in 2016, Bernie Sanders has been considered the next frontrunner for the party’s left. But Elizabeth Warren is actively appealing to his base with strong arguments against inequality and detailed plans to tax the wealthy. Sanders’ entry in the race could decide who will be the Democratic Party’s “true leftist.”

"Why I Chose HSG Campaigns"

“Running for office is a lot of work, and there is a lot of negativity you will have to face. Eric and his team are up for the challenge if you are. I can tell you from experience that they will work hard, organize quickly, and will collaborate closely with you. I cannot recommend them enough.”

— Keri Kropke, Board Member, Brea Olinda Unified School District

What We're Reading

This week Mike is recommending "The World Until Yesterday." by Jared Diamond.

51ZBzPN1FyL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_ (1).jpg

“The advances in technology have happened so quickly that we forget that it was ‘only yesterday’ that we all lived in traditional societies. These cultures had radically different practices on how they raised children, cared for the elderly, resolved conflicts, and more. Jared Diamond doesn’t glorify the past or champion the present; instead he explains valuable lessons that we can learn from traditional societies.”

- Mike

Our Take on the Midterms

With the 2018 elections behind us, it's time to reflect on what happened, what didn't happen, and what it all means for our country going forward.

(1) Pay no attention to the spin: Democrats were the winners.

Donald Trump went into full media-narrative combat mode Wednesday to convince us that it was a good night for Republicans. And in a few races it was. But overall, Democrats were the clear winners Tuesday night, taking back the House with a strong margin as well as many wins in key state races. We also padded our bench with fresh new talent for elections to come.

(2) The "Blue Wave" rhetoric lost us the expectations game.

Election Night pundits made comments about how the blue wave "crashed early", and it was underscored by a few disappointments in the Senate and in Florida. But the expectations pundits had were frankly ridiculous. Beto O'Rourke and Stacey Abrams weren't long shots, they were full-court shots, and they both hit the rim. Democrats won plenty of races they wouldn't have in most years, including House races in Kansas and Utah.

(3) The real victories were in the statehouses.

The period of redistricting after the 2010 Census and midterms had a devastating impact on our party's performance these last eight years. Taking back the U.S. House of Representatives was important, but the long-term victory will be the flipping of 6 state legislative chambers and several governor's mansions. But we're going to need more statehouse victories in 2020. Besides defeating Trump, this should be our top priority moving forward.

(4) There's a geographic divide over #MeToo.

On the coasts and in urban areas, the Kavanaugh hearings were seen very differently than they were seen in the South and the agricultural Midwest. Their votes against Kavanaugh cost Claire McCaskill, Heidi Heitkamp, and Joe Donnelly their Senate seats. The one Democrat who voted for him was re-elected in West Virginia. Throughout October, we heard even Republicans in coastal states take Ford's side and even Democrats in rural states take Kavanaugh's. While we're far from understanding this divide, we see it clearer than ever.

(5) There's a clear realignment taking place.

Every election cycle, political scientists like to ask themselves if a "realignment" in the electorate is underway, and it happens basically anytime a chamber or office changes parties. But it really does seem to be happening under Trump. Rural districts across the country have been gradually going red over the last few decades, but until recently many could still reliably elect Democrats. Now suburban districts are starting to consistently go to Democrats. Most surprisingly, southern suburban seats, like those around Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas, flipped blue last week. Higher education levels in a district used to correlate with higher Republican support. Now it's the opposite. This may be the most significant legacy of Donald Trump.

"Why I Chose HSG Campaigns"

"As a new candidate, HSG Campaigns was so helpful to my campaign. They helped coach me and show me how a campaign should be run, and they produced great mail and other media to support me. HSG Campaigns knows how to win!"

— Marisol M. Uribe, Board Member-Elect, Montebello Unified School District

We have been proud to work with the Monetebello Teachers Association over the years, as well as their endorsed candidates in 2018. Among them was Marisol, who took first-place in her first election last week. The Montebello Unified School District has had its share of problems these last few years, which is why we are proud to have helped elect an educator and reformer. Good luck, Marisol!

What We're Reading

storm before storm.png

"I am excited to be starting my first podcast in 2019. One of the podcasters who got me interested in the medium was Mike Duncan, whose book comes from the many notes he compiled for his History of Rome podcast.

The book focuses on the generations that came before the fall of the Republic, and the politics of that time (which eerily mirror our politics today): '...rising income inequality, dislocation of traditional ways of life, increasing political polarization, the breakdown of unspoken rules of political conduct, the privatization of the military, rampant corruption, endemic social and ethnic prejudice, battles over access to citizenship and voting rights, ongoing military quagmires, the introduction of violence as a political tool, and a set of elites so obsessed with their own privileges that they refused to reform the system in time to save it.'"

- Dave

Thank You, Dave!

If you have worked closely with HSG Campaigns in the past, you have probably worked with our Managing Director, Dave Broker, who is moving on after ten terrific years at our firm. Dave has been a tremendous asset to us, and I wish him all the best of luck moving forward.

Dave will soon be launching a podcast about the Industrial Revolutions and the world-upending impact they've had on our society, our politics, our work lives, and all other facets of our lives. He's a smart guy with interesting stories, so I am really looking forward to hearing it!

If you would like to receive information about the Industrial Revolutions Podcast when it becomes available, please click here to email Dave and let him know.

Thank you, Dave!

- Eric

Where We are Getting our Mid-Term Coverage

With less than a week to go, all eyes are on the mid-terms and the potential the Democrats will take back the House. We wanted to share what we are reading and listening to in order to stay informed about this election. 

1) FiveThirtyEight

I don’t think I should have to say this, but if you aren’t reading FiveThirtyEightand Nate Silver, you really should. Their blend of data journalism, models, and a mathematical view of the situation cuts through the noise and punditry that dominates the vast majority of the news. With a model for the House, Senate, and governors races you can see both how the races are shaping up, as well as what factors are creating the environment. 

2) Upshot's Live Polling?

Interested in how polling actually works? The Upshot has been polling races and producing results in real time, letting readers watch and see exactly what is going on. If you are the type that reads a lot about polls but doesn’t fully understand what they mean, take a dive here.

3) The Press Box Podcast

There is no doubt the news media is having a major impact on the election. Every week Bryan Curtis and David Shoemaker breakdown the press’s reactions to major stories and what that reaction means. You cannot understand the election without taking a long look at how stories are being covered.

What We're Reading

This week Mike is recommending "The Presidents Club" by Nancy Gibbs.

pres club.png

"This book is a detailed history of the relationships between American Presidents, including before, during, and after their presidencies. We learn about Dwight Eisenhower’s influence in helping Ronald Reagan enter politics, the rivalry-turned-friendship of Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, and Richard Nixon’s secret role as a foreign policy adviser to Bill Clinton. The book is a great read for lovers of history and is filled with fascinating stories of serious diplomatic missions, stealthy political maneuvering, and amusing club reunions."

- Mike

3 Questions Every Campaign Should Be Pondering Right Now

The #BlueWave2018 has reached October, which means we're in the homestretch. Successful campaigns will have made the big decisions ahead of time. Nevertheless, there are always October surprises, budget adjustments, and other factors to carefully consider at this very moment.

Every Democratic campaign, big and small, should be pondering these three questions right now...

1) Will there still be a "Brett Bounce"?

Several polls during the Kavanaugh confirmation battle noted that the controversy was exciting Republican voters about turning out in November. Democrats (including women planning to vote for Democrats) were already extremely enthusiastic before the troubling revelations about the newest Justice came out. But almost losing a Supreme Court seat seriously angered the Republican base. Will that trend continue now that he's been confirmed, a month ahead of Election Day?

2) When it comes to GOTV targeting, how low-propensity is too low this time?

Make no mistake, Democratic turnout this year will be high for a midterm election. Voters who normally don't come out will come out, especially if encouraged by a well-executed GOTV program. But is it worth it to target a voter who has never showed up for a non-presidential race? What about a voter who hasn't voted a single time in the last four cycles? And what about 3/4 voters? (Voted in 3 of the last 4 general elections) Should they be considered a lock and removed from the GOTV list?

3) Do we have our spending priorities right?

This is a question we ask toward the end of every election cycle, but this year especially. It's the first Democratic wave year where digital advertising is a major budget item. New innovations like over-the-top (OTT) distribution are making up for the decline in TV viewership. Easily-accessible ideology models have made direct mail targeting better and better. And of course, the big question: Do we focus our resources on persuading independents, or do we need to focus more on turning out angry, non-midterm-voting Democrats?

Of course, we don't have any blanket answers to these questions. Every campaign is different and will need to approach these questions in a way that best fits their situation.

"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 week Eric is recommending Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward.


"This is required reading for everyone. Woodward's track record speaks for itself and is reflected in his readable, well-researched account of the first part of the Trump presidency. Relying on firsthand accounts and steering clear of the pure gossip, it's an important reminder of just how extraordinary this moment is."

- Eric

Need Help Answering the October Questions?

We're here for you! Reach out to us today to see how HSG Campaigns can make a difference to your campaign in the homestretch!