CT-Sen: Lieberman Scraps Field Campaign, Prepares for General

Yesterday, Matt wrote about how Lieberman's field campaign was not working. Now, it has been scrapped altogether:

Facing a likely defeat, Lieberman has scrapped plans for a massive and costly get-out-the-vote operation on primary day, according to several Democratic sources. Instead, he will shift some of his resources into
more television commercials designed to highlight his accomplishments for the state, in hopes of boosting his battered image.(...)

The Lieberman campaign, fearing that low voter turnout in the primary would favor Lamont, had plans to build a get-out-the-vote operation bigger than any seen in a state race in Connecticut. But in the face of discouraging polls, campaign officials concluded this week that the money likely would be wasted.

Lieberman plans to spend the remaining days of the campaign making a positive case for himself through television ads and a series of media interviews, according to campaign officials. He has decided not to attempt to discuss the war in his final commercials.

This is both very encouraging for Lamont in the primary, and very discouraging as to the idea that Lieberman could be persuaded to drop his "Connecticut for Do-Overs" bid if he loses the primary. There would be no need for Lieberman to "save money" unless he was planning on spending it on a campaign after Tuesday.

Of course, on a purely strategic level, it strikes me that dropping the field program is a terrible, terrible idea. One of the strengths of the Lamont campaign comes from the field work they did back in the spring to collect signatures to put Ned on the ballot. This has had great benefits on their voter ID operation later on in the campaign. Lieberman could have had the same benefits for the general election via this out of state, bought and paid for operation, but I guess he has decided that TV and national pundits are all that matters. this strikes me as yet another in a series of poor strategic decisions by his campaign, and gives me a lot of confidence not only on Tuesday, but in the general election campaign that now seems likely to follow. A major lesson of this campaign needs to be the strength of local staff and volunteers familiar with the local political scene.

Politcal Wire has more (emphasis mine):

The Lieberman campaign in the towns, where the race is fought at the end, is in a full-scale retreat that rivals the French west of the Ardennes. The Washington generals who came in to inspect, organize and deploy the troops with nods and waves have sent word back to Washington that all is lost. The news has shaken cozy beltway types who did not think Connecticut had enough barbarians to defeat one of their favorites. The staff of Meet the Press doesn't identify voters and make sure they get to the polls, so Lieberman is a lonely figure at home.

I remember that during the primary for the 175th seat in in Pennsylvania this May, while Anne Dicker ran a huge field campaign based on dedicated volunteers from the local movement scene, her establishment opponent spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on TV ads during Sunday talk shows. While Anne did not win the seat, she did beat the establishment candidate despite being outspent more than 12-1. Once again, as we see in Connecticut, establishment types are putting their faith in their own via Sunday talk shows, and being left in the dust by dedicated locals on the ground. I can only hope that this represents the future of politics nationwide.

Tags: CT-Sen, Joe Lieberman, Ned Lamont, Senate 2006 (all tags)

Comments

8 Comments

Yellow Elephant

I wish you had posted that "Yellow Elephants for Joe" article here instead of ActBlue - I wanted to see everyone's reaction to that picture.

Good to see yet another sign that Joe gets crushed Tuesday.  Maybe a crushing defeat is enough to convince other Dems to convince him not to run.

by John Nicosia 2006-08-04 06:40AM | 0 recs
Fishiness

Are you certain this isn't the usual Republican dodge to make Lamont complacent?

by lightyearsfromhome 2006-08-04 06:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Fishiness

I mean, telling/'leaking' the press one thing and then actually doing another?

It would require much more competence and planning ahead than Joe's shown so far, but it's a classic underhanded political tactic.

by lightyearsfromhome 2006-08-04 06:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Fishiness

Well, whether it is true or not, it should not deter Lamont supporters one bit. winning is obviously the goal, but the bigger the win, the better Lamont's chances after august 8th. People need to keep working no matter what.

by Chris Bowers 2006-08-04 06:53AM | 0 recs
Exactly. It may be an attempt to fake us out,

...so that we don't try hard enough on August 8.

by EricJaffa 2006-08-04 08:06AM | 0 recs
Urban Legends
     The usual Republican dodge? Can you give an example, any example at all, of when a campaign has put out the word before an election that they were going to lose? If anyone were to say that, his supporters wouldn't bother to vote. People want to be on the winning side.
     It's good to keep everyone focused. But let's not make the other side Ten Feet tall. Maybe they're actually as disorganized and ineffective as they look.
by Ron Thompson 2006-08-04 09:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Urban Legends

Are you kidding? The Republicans played this game all throughout the 2004 election cycle. We called it 'expectations management' then. They wanted to lower expectations, because it lowers the bar for what they can then call a success. Bush managed to make it onstage at the debates without groping a female staffer in front of the cameras? Bush didn't drool onto the podium? Success! This is not significantly different.

Maybe they're actually as disorganized and ineffective as they look.

At least partially, they are disorganized, true. They don't have a good grasp of reality, for one thing. They don't have a real strategy, other than 'smear Lamont.' But they certainly do have a bunch of Republican hired thugs, and those guys will bring Republican tactics with them.

I wasn't trying to inflate their capabilities, or anything of that nature. I didn't say Lieberman would draw massive, enthusiastic crowds who will hang on his every word, fergoshsake.
I'm just really concerned when I read a post like this one where the opposition seemingly grants us a boon, unbidden, and no allowance is made for the possibility that this is a ruse.

Of course, given the current front page, it now looks like either it was a ruse, or they changed their minds, at least partially, which is also possible, given the apparent flailing about Joe's done on lots of other stuff.

by lightyearsfromhome 2006-08-04 04:24PM | 0 recs
Overwhelming victory will pay dividends...
  In the general election, independents will come along when they see the overwhelming support for Lamont in the primary.  Keep the energy level high and win big.  Like physics, the more massive the movement, the more gravitational pull it will have in the general.
  It's impressive to see some of the things you people dig up!  Hope remains.
by kentuckydave 2006-08-04 10:01AM | 0 recs

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