How Did Andrew Gillum Win?

Florida’s gubernatorial primary brought perhaps the biggest upset of the year, with Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum pulling off a surprise win that almost nobody saw coming. With polls predicting a 3rd place finish, how did Gillum manage to pull off victory?

1. He Created Clear Contrast: 

Gillum's story wasn't just inspiring, it set him apart. He's the son of a bus driver and a construction worker, the first in his family to attend college, and (would be) the state's first African American governor. Compare that to his main opponents, Gwen Graham, Philip Levine, or Jeff Greene, who all came from privileged backgrounds. And compared to second-place finisher, the super-centrist Graham, Gillum's strong progressive credentials gave Democratic primary voters a clear ideological choice.  

2. He Didn't Fear the Label: 

Earning endorsements from the likes of Bernie Sanders sets you up to be labeled a "socialist" by Republicans, but Gillum feared not. Progressives have long argued that staying in the middle doesn't win general elections. You can't win if you don't inspire the base. Enough Democrats felt comfortable with that argument to nominate him. Both conservatives and progressives will have ample reason to vote now.

3. He Brought in New Voices:

From what we can tell so far, the reason Gillum surprised pollsters is because he built a coalition of under-sampled voters - namely people of color and Millennials. Re-creating the Obama coalition, he boosted turnout and has obvious energy going into November.

"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 Bauman, Chair, California Democratic Party

“What We’re Reading”

This week Mark is recommending "The Physics of the Impossible" by Michio Kaku.

impossible book.jpg

"Have you ever read science fiction and thought 'man it would be cool to own some of those gadgets'? What if I told you that many of them are not only possible within the laws of physics, but likely to be developed? Michio Kaku takes you though classic science fiction gadgets, phasers, force fields, lightsabers, and many more, and explains how they might be developed. An amazing read for anyone who is curious about the future of technology and just how weird advanced physics can get."

- Mark

How to Message the Mueller Investigation

With a guilty verdict in the Paul Manafort trial and guilty plea from Michael Cohen the Mueller investigation is picking up steam and can no longer be ignored (despite what the President wants), so it is important to note how to message around it for upcoming elections.

1. Firing up the base: 

The Democratic base is rabid and ready to do anything that is against Trump. Any messaging that talks about the Mueller investigation is being eaten up. This is a prime opportunity to pick up volunteers and donors. People want to do something, so give them something to do. Tell young potential volunteers that they can get involved and actually do something that will put a stop to this mess.   

How the Wisconsin Governor's Race Shapes Up

The primary in one of the most hotly contested races has come to a close, and since we worked on it, let’s unpack the state of the Wisconsin governor’s race. There are many Democrats saying defeating Walker is major a priority, so this is an important one.

1. Tony Evers comes out of the primary in a position of strength: 

Evers emerges from the primary relatively unscathed, and he's a clear favorite according to the polls. One poll last month showed him defeating Scott Walker by double digits as the Democratic nominee. Walker has always been a polarizing figure in Wisconsin, the same cannot be said about Evers.  

The Top 5 Direct Mail Mistakes

As a firm that specializes in political direct mail, we've seen everything. We've seen some really innovative, clever, creative work. We've also seen some really bad mail, often driven by the candidates themselves. As we move into a busy election season, we want to share with you the top 5 mistakes campaigns make with direct mail so you can avoid them in 2018.

1. Including everything on every mailer

Consistency is great in direct mail. And when on a budget, it makes sense to repeat the core message. But if a piece is supposed to focus on K-12 education, don't include your plan for health care reform. Your mailer should tell a story, not all the information you can think of.

Debunking Myths from NY-14

The dust is starting to settle after a crazy primary night in NY's 14th district, in which longtime Congressman and high-ranking Democrat Joe Crowley lost in a primary to Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. With all the takes flying about, we wanted to add our perspective and debunk the myths about the results.

1. Ultra-liberal candidates are now going to win everywhere.

It is easy to get caught up in the excitement, when a self-proclaimed socialist wins a congressional primary, but NY-14 was hardly a trend. This is an extremely blue district that voted for Hillary by over 60 points. What happens here has little-to-nothing to do with the swing districts Democrats need to win. Having the right candidate for the right district is what is important.

Hot New Trends in Digital Advertising!

At HSG Campaigns, we're always looking for new, innovative ways to give our clients an advantage in the next election. Here are some of the exciting new things in the world of digital ads...

1. Sending display and pre-roll ads to your mail list

Geo-fencing allows campaigns to target people at their exact locations. It's a favorite tool of legislative advocacy, targeting buildings where decision makers log online. But it can also be used to target the homes of known voters. Imagine digital ads that mirror your mail piece, targeting the same homes as the ones on your mail list. We can do that now.

How to Take Advantage of the #BlueWave

How to Take Advantage of the #BlueWave

We've seen the polling, the fundraising figures, the online activity stats, and the special election results. 2018 is going to be a very good election year for Democrats. We put together the following tips for how we can all ride this blue wave to victory in November.

1.  Adjust your targets for the new environment

We often look at a previous midterm election when preparing for the next midterm election. But a lot has changed since 2014. (You know who we're referring to).

Educated suburbanites are leaning towards Dems more than ever before. Rural, working-class voters can be won back, but it will take a different message. Know your district. And don't be afraid to widen your targets among women, Millennials, and minority voters. They're pissed off and ready to vote.

2. Plug into this new energy

The Resistance has taken form in thousands of small groups across the country, both online and offline. Chances are there's at least a dozens such groups in your district. These are folks ready to fight for progressive values, but they often have zero experience in a campaign environment.

From Generation Change to Black Lives Matter, there's a lot of places to start this search for your local progressive groups. Take a look around Facebook and Twitter and you'll start to see the increasingly organized energy of the movement. Tapping it means tapping new volunteers and new donors. 

3. You still need to put in the work

Many candidates hope for a silver bullet that will win them the election without forcing them to toil through the long hours and stress of a campaign. That's always a danger. But the sense of inevitability this year with the #BlueWave makes it all the more threatening.

If anything, riding the blue wave means doing more fundraising calls, knocking on more doors, going to more public events, not fewer. Don't count on a favorable environment to do the work for you. Whether your a candidate, a campaign staffer, or a consultant, expect this year to be a grind. But a very rewarding one.

"Why I Chose HSG Campaigns"

"I'm a longtime educator and even as a candidate I didn't think of myself as a politician. That's why Eric and his team were such a tremendous asset to my school board campaigns. They have a special understanding of what moves voters and how to communicate with them. The strategies they helped develop made my wins possible. I highly recommend HSG Campaigns."

— Dr. Richard Vladovic, LAUSD Board Member

HSG contributed to Dr. Vladovic's 2011 and 2015 re-election efforts. During his time on the school board, the Los Angeles Unified School District has seen major improvements in graduation rates and college preparedness. We are proud of the work we did to help make that happen.

Dave and Dr. Vladovic watching the returns come in on Election Night 2015.

What We're Reading

Mark is recommending The President's Book of Secrets, by David Priess.


"A deep look at the evolution of the President's Daily Brief by the CIA, and how different Presidents consumed intelligence. Extremely prescient today as we have a President who, as reported, doesn't read briefings unless his name is featured heavily. Priess takes a historical look at how intelligence shaped history, and how the transition from different administrations caused problems for the CIA."

- Mark

Check Out EPIC

The Economic and Policy Impact Center (EPIC) is a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization that pursues economic equity and opportunity through civic engagement and leadership development.

EPIC is currently led by former Long Beach Council Member Steve Neal, a client of HSG Campaigns! Check out the great work they are doing.