Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: The Rain In Spain Falls Mainly On The Plain

You guys, I am so, so proud.

He did this all by himself.

"TOGETHER WE CAN!" HE DID THAT! Oh bless his "People should do what's right because it's right" heart. :)

I am beaming.

Primo: You were right! But sometimes I think if there aren't enough words, people won't have enough reasons to like me! Isn't the way to make something better by adding more information?

PS His logo and his photo do show on the real version. I am just too lazy to edit them.

The Candidate's Wife: Arguing with Primo, who wants to include ALL THE WORDS on his campaign door flyer

Round One
Primo: Would you check what I have written?

Me: OK - you need to make this a lot shorter.  Here:

Primo: What? WHY?

Me: Because people are going to read this between the door and the trash can and you want to make sure they know what you want them to know.

Primo: But you cut everything!

Me: People know what a website is. They know what an email address is. You don't know if you're going to be primaried,, so you don't need the date of the primary election on there. And you need to focus on just three issues, at least here.

Primo: I don't want to leave out [issues]. They are timely. 

Me: Then put them on your website. People can get more information if they want it. In this piece, you are flirting. You are not getting naked. Three things. Three. They are going to throw this away the second they read it.

Round Two
Primo: OK. What about this?

Me: No! TAKE OUT THE WORDS! And take out the part about "more Polka Dots in [capital]. This is about you. This is about getting you elected.

Primo: I want to help other candidates.

Me: You cannot help anyone if you don't win this election. Focus on your campaign! And take out all those extra words!

Primo: But - but! You are so forceful about this! What makes you so sure?

Me: Because I have spent this week re-writing the marketing copy of four other people in Marketing Communications BECAUSE I KNOW HOW TO DO IT! I get paid to do this!

(NB Love this man. He spent last week cleaning our basement after it flooded from sewer backup. That is where attention to detail is super important. We make a good team.)(But he uses too many words.)

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: This is not New York City people here get up early

The event was at the Presbyterian church in our neighborhood - a winter farmers market and brunch from 9:00 to 12:00.

Their services are at 8:30 and 10:30.

What would be the optimal time to go to meet the most voters, would you think?

Hint: Not after the 10:30 service. Not at 11:30 a.m. when  the scrambled eggs are gone and when everyone has already eaten breakfast/brunch and needs to get home because the day is already half over and there are things to do at home. Not at 11:30 a.m. when the people who aren't lazy have already showered, dressed, and gotten their butts out of the house.

Oh well.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: I love BEING RIGHT

Just two hours ago, Primo was telling me that going to a play was not a good way to campaign. I said that all he has to do is wear his "Primo for State House" button and maybe introduce himself to two or three people and that other opportunities might arise organically.

(I also pointed out that he could promote the event with something about how this was a fundraiser for arts in our schools and wouldn't it be great if all public schools had the funding they needed.)

So. I suggested we go to the ice rink in our neighborhood - they were having a family skate night.

We got our skates. Somehow, talking to the three women who were volunteering to hand out the skates, we got on the topic of being tricked into moving here where it's cold and being tricked into marriage to a politician. That is, Primo got to introduce himself to three voters who got to

1. Hear his name
2. See his face
3. Realize he is not a complete weirdo.

When we were taking our skates off, a woman sitting next to us asked Primo about his campaign button.

Woman: I have to ask. I see your buttons. Are you running for office?

Primo: Yes. I am running for the State House as a [Primo's party].

Woman: I knew it! I was a Poli Sci major in college. I volunteered on X's Senate campaign! I did doors, I called, I went to events! It was great!

Primo: I ran in 2012, in 2014, and in 2016. And I am running again now. But this time, I think I can win.

Woman: And you're in the neighborhood?

Primo: Yes. In X district.

Woman: That's my district! That's fabulous that you are running.

Primo: I don't have any cards with me.

Woman: No, I can find you!

Me: Want to do doors again or are you done with that?

Woman: I don't think so - but you never know! I will find your campaign page! Good luck!


Me: I. Told. You. So.

Primo: Maybe. Yes.

PS That dialog is just the skeleton of what we said. I am lazy and didn't want to write everything. But the Poli Sci woman and the three women who were volunteering and I covered, in detail

  • Cremating our mothers 
    • After they are dead, of course!
    • Because our mothers are Midwesterners and very practical 
    • Because it's so expensive to transport a corpse across state lines
  • Engineers
    • Primo wanted size 10.5 skates. They had only 10. As he is putting them on, a volunteer says, "Oh! A size 12 just came in! Would you rather have those?" Primo explains in great detail why skates that are too small are better than skates that are too big.
    • "Oh he's an engineer?" they said. "Yeah, that explains everything."
    • Primo wants the silverware stacked by type and by size
  • Primo tricked me into moving here
  • Politicians trick people into marrying them
    • They start out as normal people, like engineers
    • "Have you noticed this INJUSTICE?"
    • "Someone has to DO something!"
    • "I will run for office!"

Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: A community event in our district is a place to meet voters, PRIMO

Primo: You want me to go to a middle-school play?

Me: No. I want you to go to events in our district where voters will be.

Primo: I don't want to go to a middle-school play!

Me: Do you want to go to where voters are?

Primo: But I don't want to go to this play! I don't want to accost voters!

Me: You wear your button. You introduce yourself to three people. It's not that hard.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: I cut the number of words in Primo's fundraising email IN HALF and it just about kills him because he is an engineer and details are his jam

As I tell Primo, when he asks me to review his facebook posts or his emails and then ARGUES WITH ME ABOUT THEM, "If only you knew someone who wrote marketing copy FOR A LIVING."

You know - like me.

That's what I do.

I am a marketing person. I write stuff. For money. I write about topics that most people would find very boring (I don't - I think my job is fascinating and I love my boss and my co-workers) and I do it very well.

Primo, being an engineer, wants to explain every single little detail and wants to substantiate every claim.

His email started like this:

I am running for the State Assembly because xth District residents are hungry for real, honest representation in [the capital]. We need sensible, long-term plans to strengthen our public schools, fix our roads, bring down health care costs, and create family-supporting jobs while protecting our environment.

One issue that is very important to my neighbors -- and to a large percentage of people in the metro area -- is the unfinished Highway X. There is no question that the crumbling and obsolete Highway X needed to be rebuilt, but the project was inadequately funded from the start. Much of the work has been completed, but construction on the north leg (I-XX / US YY between Oak Blvd. and Pine St.) was suspended after the reconstruction of one bridge and is now indefinitely delayed. Two years ago, I talked to a district resident who was waiting for a sound wall to be installed near the rebuilt Main St. bridge. He is still waiting!

Our state's transportation funding crisis has been worsening for years.

[four more paragraphs]

[of detail]

[although also a call to action, but that needs to be a lot sooner in the email]


Me: It's too long.

Primo: I knew you'd say that. But [campaign manager] likes it.

Me: It's. Too. Long.

Primo: No it's not!

Me: Look. You don't have to listen to me. You can do it however you want. But I am telling you that as a new reader, I get to the second paragraph and I am already bored.

Primo: But I need to include that information!

Me: No, you don't. You need to get people to read this and agree with you on this one issue and then go to your facebook page or your website and maybe give you money.

Primo: Fine. Then how?

Me: This:

Are you sick and tired of the never-ending construction on Highway X?

So am I.

That's why I am running for the State Assembly. We need sensible, long-term plans for our roads. We also to strengthen our public schools, bring down health care costs, and create family-supporting jobs while protecting our environment.

Our state's transportation funding crisis has been worsening for years.

[two more short paragraphs]

Primo: But there's no detail!

Me: They can always go to your website for more information.

Primo: And the guy! Who's waiting for a sound wall!

Me: Does not support the main message of "Finish the highway!"

Primo: But all the work that's not done yet!

Me: People know! 

Primo: Grumble grumble grumble.

Me: Do it however you want, sweetie. It's your email. I'm just saying you need to give people a reason to keep reading. You start with an emotional hook and get to the point quickly.

Primo: Grumble.

Two hours later.

Primo: You're right. It's a lot better your way. Thank you.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Candidate's Wife: Primo gets some tough love about campaigning from a legislator friend

One of the things Primo hates the most about running for office is the feeling that he is bothering people when he talks to them about running. He doesn't mind talking to strangers when he is at a political event or when he is knocking on doors, but he is very uncomfortable talking about himself and about the campaign if he is at a non-political event, like a block party or a church youth group fundraiser. He doesn't want to bother people or intrude.

I tell him that if he is comfortable knocking on someone's door and interrupting them AT HOME that he should be fine at any other gathering.

At the least, I tell him, wear a campaign button!

And go to events in our district!

I am not the only person telling him this.

He got an email from a friend of his who is a representative. This friend - we shall call him Hamilton, although that is not his name - is echoing what other friends are saying, which is that Primo is spending wayyyyy too much time helping other people in their events and not enough time in his own district campaigning.


I write with love and support, but I do need to share a few things that aren't easy to say - and a few ideas that I think are really great.

Here's the tough news: Primo, I believe you need to be in district more, less events for others.  You need to be selfish.  You need to be at neighborhood or community based events meeting people you don't yet know.*

 [*That is the part Primo hates!] 

The political circles know you, they support you.  You support them back, which is good, but unless you're raising money by going, you gotta stay back in the burbs and connect with voters.  Example: Becky is a friend, you support her, that's all good but there is no cross over between her district and yours.  You can also rule out getting money from her, as she's running, on balance an evening event like that needs to become less of a priority.  

I say the same thing about my own fundraisers coming up.  Don't come to my events, stay in district and connect as best you can.  Obviously there won't be events every night but you get the point... 

Now, the [PAC] event is a room where you can get money.  If you go to an event like that you've got to bring lit/business cards and make a hard ask from some of the political folks there.  Mike and Steve can each direct thousands to you.  They'll tell you that they can't do it this early in the campaign cycle, but you need to ask.  You need to stick your hand out and say "I'm going to win and I need your support.  How much can you contribute?"**

[**Also torture for Primo and, I think, for most normal people.]

Primo, you are in the spotlight.  Lots of people around the state and country have eyes on your district.  We expect you to win.  I believe you will, but I don't say that like a coach tells the worst kid on the team that they tried their best - I mean I expect you to win.  I expect you to be ruthless and selfish and go get this.  You can win.  You will win.  You just need to do it.  That takes an unwavering commitment to you and your district.  

"But how do I work a room?" Primo asked me. "How do I go somewhere where I don't know anyone?"

I have no idea. I am also not a room worker. Nothing fills me with more dread than having to enter a room of strangers and there is almost nothing I would rather do than be at home by myself or with Primo and the cats and some books. I don't enjoy being around other people. It's torture. And it's boring.

Primo called Hamilton and asked.

Guess what? Hamilton is also an introvert. Campaigning is torture for him, too. He has the added challenge of not being the same race as almost everyone else in his district, so, as he told Primo, he really stands out.

But he does it anyhow.

His rules are simple:

He goes to the events.

He makes sure to meet the organizer.

And he talks to at least three people he doesn't know.

Then he lets himself leave.

He gave Primo a formula.

Primo is an engineer. He loves formulas.

And we went to the church youth group fundraiser on Friday. We sat at a table of people we did not know. Primo met all three adults at the table. And he talked to them. And it actually came up organically in the conversation that he was running for office and THEY WERE INTERESTED.