CT-Sen: Lieberman Scraps Field Campaign, Prepares for General
by Chris Bowers, Fri Aug 04, 2006 at 06:28:51 AM EDT
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.