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McMahon Shows Off Her Ground Game

by Christine Stuart | Jul 16, 2012 11:00am
(14) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Congress, Election 2012

Christine Stuart photo

Linda McMahon making phone calls in Farmington Saturday

The flood of ads, how she made her fortune, and her lack of experience turned off women voters in 2010 , but Linda McMahon seems to have learned from her past mistakes and on Saturday was showing off her new and improved ground game.

“Without a doubt we have the best volunteers, the best staff of any campaign going,” McMahon said Saturday in a pep talk to volunteers making phone calls at a satellite office in Farmington.

The volunteer phone and door knocking operation Saturday was part of McMahon‘s statewide effort to reach out to both Republican and unaffiliated voters across the state in her campaign for the U.S. Senate.

The Farmington office where McMahon herself made about a dozen calls, was just one of eight locations statewide where volunteers like Jayne Amodio of Farmington made phone calls Saturday.

“If they said they were voting for her they said they’d be at the polls in August,” Amodio, a McMahon supporter and volunteer, said of the responses she was getting.

“We’re going to definitely bring this home, first in August and then November,” McMahon told the volunteers. “We’re on pace to do that with your continuing help.”

If McMahon’s message didn’t resonate with voters two years ago, it’s resonating with them now because “things have only gotten worse,” Amodio said.

Part of the phone script given to volunteers included making sure they knew about McMahon’s economic plan that “will create jobs by cutting middle-class taxes and reducing spending.”

McMahon, who didn’t pan President Barack Obama’s middle class tax cut like her Republican rival former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays, wants to make sure voters know she’s not only looking to cut taxes for the middle class, but she wants to reduce them. She would pay for the tax cut with a 1 percent cut in spending.

“I get a lot of positive feedback on that as part of our plan,” McMahon said of the proposed tax cut.

However, she refuses to say exactly where she would cut the federal budget. The only thing she will say is she won’t cut defense spending.

Social Security and Medicare, which make up 40 percent of the federal budget, would presumably be on the table, but like the previous campaign she‘s not talking about those two areas of the budget on the campaign trail. 

Part of the goal Saturday was to showcase the “ground game” McMahon has built over the past few months, which her campaign staff says demonstrates the breadth and depth of her ability to turn out voters in both August and November.

Volunteers, who were working three hour shifts Saturday made 24,912 phone calls and knocked on 13,176 doors, then recorded all the information they gathered into a campaign database.

“Campaigns are a lot different today than they were just a few short years ago,” McMahon said referring to the technology employed.

Corry Bliss, McMahon‘s campaign manager, explained that the campaign is targeting both Republican and unaffiliated voters and information about whether that voter is a likely supporter or would like a lawn sign, is being collected and entered into a database.

Volunteers on the phone were able to enter the answers to the question right on the phone during the call. Volunteers knocking on doors were able to fill in a bubble sheet answering similar questions to the volunteers on the phone. Those bubble sheets will later be scanned and the information entered into the database.

Kelsey Conrad, a first-time volunteer and UConn student, said using the phones was super easy and the responses she received were generally positive. In fact, her experience was so positive she was looking to volunteer for another shift.

Bliss said it takes longer to train some of the volunteers to use the phone system, but the data collected is invaluable to the campaign and worth the additional few minutes it takes. He pointed to the sandwiches, potato salad and drinks off to the side and pointed out that if volunteers don’t have a positive experience they generally don’t come back.

Shays’ campaign, who has been reaching out to thousands of voters in a similar fashion, was critical of the Saturday event.

“It’s just another staged event by the McMahon campaign, one that avoids being held accountable for actual positions on issues,“ Amanda Bergen, Shays’ spokeswoman said Sunday.

“Where are McMahon’s tax returns?  Does she support another BRAC?  Why won’t she go before newspaper editorial boards? Why won’t she have an open, honest debate with Christopher Shays on the issues more often?” Bergen wondered.

“We’ve been knocking on doors and making phone calls for months. It’s not a new campaign strategy and this is another example of McMahon’s make-believe arena in which she thinks she can throw more money around and win. But as she proved last time - it doesn’t work that way,” she said.

Tim Murtaugh, McMahon’s communications director, said the campaign is doing this on a daily basis and Saturday was just a way to show off the new system. He said the campaign is proud of its ground game and believes it will be a “real difference maker.”

Including the voter contacts it made Saturday, the McMahon campaign has made direct contact with 200,000 voters, and has set a goal to make 1 million phone calls and knock on 500,000 doors before the November election.

McMahon lost in 2010 to now U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal by more than 100,000 votes.

Following about a half-hour of phone calls, McMahon said she was encouraged by her experience Saturday. She said one woman told her she didn’t vote for her in 2010, but would be voting for her this year. While door knocking in Waterbury, a woman answered the door and told McMahon she’s a Democrat, but will be voting for McMahon this year.

“I do believe running once before that experience is very, very helpful this time around,” McMahon said. “Of course, I have really good name recognition now.”

According to the June Quinnipiac University poll, only about 16 percent of the voters surveyed didn’t know enough about McMahon to form an opinion about her and of those who did 45 percent had a favorable opinion, while 38 percent had an unfavorable one. While her negatives were high in 2010, they seem to have leveled off and her deficit among women voters seems to be improving too.

A June poll shows she has a favorability rating of 43 percent among women, which is an increase of 7 points over where she stood in March.

But McMahon said the number one thing on voters minds this year is “jobs and the economy.”

“They might add some other things, but it’s first and foremost that,” McMahon said. “I can’t tell you how many people say we need change in Washington. We can’t just keep sending the same people back.”

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(14) Comments

posted by: cedarhillresident | July 16, 2012  11:35am

I am a women I am wonder in her ad it says “Under her plan, the average family in Connecticut will have an extra $500 each month – or $6,000 per year ” ??? what the heck is the household income that she is talking about? I sure know it is not the middle class folks I know….Please define you idea of middle class Linda. Then maybe women will listen.

posted by: redman | July 16, 2012  12:12pm

She is not a lawyer, just that is enough to qualifier her. Her business experience is a bonus.

posted by: kenneth_krayeske | July 16, 2012  12:13pm

Uh, if I had $50 gazillion to spend on an election, I would have a great ground game, too.  The image of Linda making phone calls reeks of her desperation.  I’d like to think that Linda really believes in democracy, but I can only think that she holds in contempt the voter she is talking to.  This Senate race is such a vanity project it’s difficult to take her seriously at all.

posted by: ALD | July 16, 2012  12:44pm

So Ken, who do you really take seriously?  The career politicians who go on “listening tours” each election but never seem to have heard much once elected?  Or show up at factories for the photo opp claiming they are really different from the last career politician who showed up for the opp? 

Where did you get the idea Linda holds the voters she talks to in contempt??  Does the idea of a woman who has become successful and has her wealth and independence, really scare you that much?  If there really were a war on woman going on I think I would want her on my side far more than the people on the listening tours!!

posted by: AndersonScooper | July 16, 2012  1:01pm

http://www.lindasplan.com

Linda’s “plan” to cut taxes is about as real as professional wrestling!

I cannot believe the media is letting her get away with floating this crap, particularly not when it rivals Sarah Palin for sheer comedic value….

posted by: SocialButterfly | July 16, 2012  1:43pm

Linda McMahon cannot explain where the $500. per
month is coming from—as I don’t believe she knows?
It soumds like a “ponzi scheme.”

Vote for a proven statesman who knows how to balance a federal budget—without “ponzi schemes”—
Chris Shays.  He’s done it four times.

posted by: SocialButterfly | July 16, 2012  1:59pm

Kenneth_Krayeske: You are a very intelligent writer—and are qualified to “call a spade, a spade,” as you can read the writing on the wall. However, “Linda wants to keeps trying to parlay big bucks into votes.” Give her credit for trying, Ken.

Only now, Linda even wants the public to kick in some money. She apparently wants to spread the money around, on her present political journey.

posted by: SocialButterfly | July 16, 2012  2:16pm

AndersonScooper:  Don’t berate Sarah Palin.  She was an elected Governor of the State of Alaska.  Linda McMahon has never been an elected official ANYWHERE!  Although whe is trying to buy a Republican Primary with her big bucks, she will lose to her political statesman rival—former Congressman Chris Shays, who has demonstrated the proven ability to balance a federal budget—four times.

posted by: Voter2012 | July 17, 2012  10:15am

Linda has great business experience, and I personally think that Washington needs more of that. We need a fresh perspective instead of the usual career politicians. Linda will fight for the middle class because she truly cares about the hardworking families of CT. I hate that people criticize her and think she is just doing this as a publicity stunt or “because she’s bored.” Seems like a lot of effort, for three years now, just to do a publicity stunt.  Besides, she’s already famous, it’s not like she needs more fame. She just truly cares about the people of CT and it’s sad that everyone can’t see that.

posted by: SocialButterfly | July 17, 2012  2:50pm

Voter2012: The Democratic senate membership “would theoretically chew up,  and spit out” Linda McMahons’s non-political business experience in Congress, as a Senate trainee on the job. Chris Shays has been there—with success, and can best represent the interests of the people in his district.
Let’s call “a spade a spade!”

posted by: MGKW | July 18, 2012  7:31am

Linda McMahon went on Bill O’Reilly and said WWE is “family entertainment”

With her “blood money” she is trying to buy the election—-and now is portraying herself as a “moral” woman who is just trying to help the people of CT, really?

Her “business” as you call it is not entertainment but an amoral excuse for it.

Notice that her husband Vince is not around? There’s a reason for it…he reminds every one of how bad WWE is.

Her campaign has attacked reporters who question her tactics—-no meeting with editorial boards—-because she is probably one of the worst extemporaneous speakers in the race.

Forget whether she is a politician or a business person…she does not have the verbal competency or intelligence that a Shays or a Murphy have.

“Nuf said”

posted by: SocialButterfly | July 18, 2012  3:00pm

Chris Shays likened Linda McMahon’s “experience” to that of Hugh Hefner—the founder of Playboy Enterprises.

posted by: SocialButterfly | July 18, 2012  8:21pm

Linda McMahon “was outclassed” by Chris Shays in their TV debate Wednesday night. It’s no wonder she doesn’t want to debate Shays again.

posted by: SocialButterfly | July 18, 2012  8:37pm

Linda McMahon STRUCK OUT—in her debate against Chris Shays Wednesday night.  It’s no wonder she doesn’t want to debate Shays again.