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Left In Lowell » Blog Archive » Groundgame (h/t Andrew Howe & Ariela Gragg, et al)

Left In Lowell

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November 8, 2012

Groundgame (h/t Andrew Howe & Ariela Gragg, et al)

by at 1:52 pm.

Not long after the Warren campaign set up shop in Lowell, I sat down with Andrew Howe to get a sense of the game plan. We both knew that, in Lowell, Brown had beat Coakley by 1001 votes in a low turnout election. We speculated that turnout would be much better and that the party demographics favored Warren, but we also honestly weighed the potential for Brown to match any gains we could make, via turnout.

In those early days, we considered a near win, a dead even match, or a slight win to be good enough for Warren, here in Lowell. If Warren could run up the margins in Boston and strong progressive towns and cities, we would have been happy to be within a nose, here in Lowell. But, then the volunteers started pouring in.

As it turned out:


Down blog, you can read Lynne’s thoughts on the how’s & why’s of what happened.

Here’s another version of the same tale:

Brown looked like a formidable opponent because he had already demonstrated the ability to run well in Democratic strongholds. For instance, in 2010, he won working-class cities like Lowell, Fitchburg, and Revere, and he ran far more strongly than Republicans typically manage in and around Gateway Cities like Fall River, New Bedford, Holyoke, Springfield, and Worcester. Brown held his ground in these cities, but Warren turned out scores of new voters that overwhelmed Brown’s base.

As a result, Brown lost cities he’d once captured, and suffered blowout losses in cities he’d once managed to compete in. He went from winning Lowell by 5 points in 2010 to losing the city to Warren by 18 points. Revere, which Brown had won by 7 in 2010, handed him a 19-point loss. He’d stayed within 5 points of Coakley in Worcester, but lost the city to Warren by 24. His margins of defeat doubled in Fall River and New Bedford. Holyoke and Springfield, which Brown had lost to Coakley by 13 and 14 points, handed him 40- and 48-point losses this time around.

In all these cities, Brown turned out at least as many voters as he’d captured in 2010. Warren, however, was turning out thousands, and sometimes tens of thousands, of voters who didn’t show up in 2010. Warren turned out at least 10,000 more Democratic voters than Coakley in 11 cities. She turned out at least 5,000 more voters than Coakley in 26 cities; Brown managed to increase his vote total by that amount in just one, Boston — a city he lost by almost 120,000 votes.

On a local note, the Warren campaign’s heads up selection of Andrew Howe was key. Andrew was weaned on Lowell politics. Seasoned Democratic operative Roger Lau saw the raw potential in Andrew and later matched him with another local activist, though less known, but campaign savvy Ariela Gragg. Lynne noted that the “Walsh campaign model” was honed from 2010 to 2012. The use of locals to run our field ops was one of the most significant improvements. As the cited article notes, Lowell was won by expanding the participation, pulling in unlikely voters. There were no polls being done before election day on the potential trend of the unlikely voters. SURPRISE!

Next, I have to give mad props to the crafty smarts of our Mayor’s older brother, Dan.

The use of local sports folklore, commingling it with an overarching narrative of a national candidate, to bolster that candidates urban street credibility was … impressive. Keep an eye on this young man. He’ll be standing just beyond the shine of the Klieg lights, alert.

Lastly, the volunteers. It is not fair to name a few, as so many gave in so many ways. But, for good or bad, several faces were constant in my travels and I want to point them out: Nancy Pitkin, Geoff Feldman, Sean Connaughton, Bill Look and Tom Malone. The two staff field organizers relied heavily on these “force multipliers.” No doubt there were others, and I apologize for not naming them. But, as I watched the swarm and swirl of the campaign lunge at Nov. 6th, the five volunteers I noticed constantly, are named above.

I can’t say for sure, but I have a gut feeling, this motley crew likes the taste of winning. 2013? 2014? Forward!

6 Responses to “Groundgame (h/t Andrew Howe & Ariela Gragg, et al)”

  1. Right In Lowell Says:

    A prediction of things to come:

  2. Jack Says:

    Here is another prediction. Made, not by an anonymous commentor, but by that pesky “math guy,” Nate Silver:
    As Nation and Parties Change, Republicans Are at an Electoral College Disadvantage
    Two more presidential elections, 2016 and 2020, will be contested under the current Electoral College configuration, which gave Barack Obama a second term on Tuesday. This year’s results suggest that this could put Republicans at a structural disadvantage.”

    “Based on a preliminary analysis of the returns, Mitt Romney may have had to win the national popular vote by three percentage points on Tuesday to be assured of winning the Electoral College. The last Republican to accomplish that was George H.W. Bush, in 1988.

  3. ax41 Says:

    Unless you acknowledge the strengths of the Brown campaign , it is difficult to grasp the scope of what the Warren campaign did in Lowell.
    A 5,733 vote margin is not on the face of it noteworthy. Eileen Duff managed a 10,529 vote margin,President Obama over 12,000, Representative Tsongas almost 18,000 and State Senator Donoghue just shy of 20,000.
    The voters were hardly ill disposed toward a woman running as a Democrat.
    Brown was able to cut into the Democratic vote .He narrowly carried the First Middlesex State Senate District by 900 votes or so.Eileen Duff managed about a 10,000 vote victory in that District.
    That sets the stage for some appreciation of the ability of the Warren campaign to build a fire wall of sorts in Lowell.
    It also gives some pause to those who dismiss the Democratic Defections { endorsements }.Many factors might explain Brown’s vote including incumbency ,but he still ran about 3,300 votes ahead of a former Republican Governor who was the GOP Standardbearer.
    This , I think , gives a perspective on the effort for Brown in Lowell.They were up against a strong opponent.

  4. Lynne Says:

    Re the locals bit…I kept being surprised. I’d ask some young intern or campaign stalwart who seemed to be helping to head up some thing or other where they were from…expecting all sorts of answers. I kept getting thing like “south Lowell” or “Centralville.”

    Super savvy.

  5. Jack Says:

    On what ax41 said:

    Romney/Ryan: Citywide-10,586, Ward1,2-915, Ward1,3-744
    Brown: Citywide-13,905, Ward1,2-1,130, Ward1,3-930

    This century, no Republican had ever surpassed 11,000 votes in Lowell. In 2012, Romney/Ryan pulled a couple of hundred more than McCain in 2008. That makes sense, as the total voter turnout jumped abit, also.

    Brown should be commended for pulling in so many “cake and eat it too” Democrats. You can see a clear defection by looking at the comparision for the two high output Belvidere precincts.

  6. joe from Lowell Says:

    Right In Lowell Says:
    November 8th, 2012 at 4:42 pm
    A prediction of things to come:

    Whatever. In the Massachusetts senate delegation, she’s the smooth, approachable one. It doesn’t appear that Massachusetts voters make up their minds based on such things.

    You’d better get used to terse press events; she’s going to be Senator for decades.

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