Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Distinguishing Factor

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.


Cultural Offering said...

In my limited electoral experience personal contact makes ALL the difference. When I ran for office, I was amazed by the number of people who agreed to vote for me not because of a position on an issue but because I showed up at their door and meetings, introduced myself and simply asked if they had any questions (most didn't).
As interesting are the promising candidates I've know who should have won but weren't interested in putting in the door-to-door and meeting time. They invariably lost.

Michael Wade said...

I think you are right.

A candidate who appears to be friendly and accessible can be very appealing in an impersonal age.