I was listening to a panel analyze the results of a local, hotly contested, primary for a congressional seat. Due to the crowded field, it was the sort of race in which the winner was almost guaranteed to have fewer votes than the opposition's total.
As it turned out, the winner had less experience than many of the others. There was no magical oratory nor was there a magnetic personality. His positions on the issues were identical to his opponents. His campaign had a lot of mailings, but so did the others. And then one of the analysts said, in an offhanded manner, "Well, he did host a lot of barbeques around the district where people got the chance to meet him. No one else did that."
I don't know the reason for his win but in a race that was very tight, several BBQs could have made the difference. The personal connection can overcome a lot of glossy brochures.