Self-imposed distractions

It’s hard to run a statewide campaign without making any mistakes, but it seems like everything Charles Lollar has done wrong in the last three years has come out in the last couple weeks. One can question the motives of those who have been spreading the news, in particular the Red Maryland website, but – give credit where credit is due – they’ve done the research and allowed Charles the opportunity to address the issues.)

But for the ultimate in unforced errors, I can echo Jeff Quinton’s assessment of a recent e-mail sent by the Lollar campaign. Yes, it was pretty bad – particularly for new media.

Allow me to let you in on a little secret: anything I can be given to make my writing life a little easier is manna from heaven. So inserting a .jpg in lieu of a message (which means I can’t copy and paste something I may find interesting and quoteworthy) is simply a bad move. It’s even worse when you have a “To fight back and donate click here!” hyperlink unworkable because you used the .jpg file! And if you think Quinton is pointing out his isolated case, I received the exact same e-mail as well with the same issues.

Perhaps the problem is one of scope and experience. There is a big difference between running a “draft” campaign, primarily through social media, and having to deal with the real thing. I’ve heard enough criticism of the Lollar campaign leadership to wonder if they have any experienced hands there. I get the idea that Charles is somewhat running against the establishment (although nowhere near to the extent that Dan Bongino has messaged his two campaigns) but I think it may be time to find someone who’s run a successful statewide race to cut down on the unforced errors. There’s no shame in seeking the best leadership, someone who can work behind the scenes to make a candidate look gubernatorial. Loyalty is good, but can be taken to the level of a fault.

I understand things happen in a campaign, and it’s not just Charles. Read the third line on this page and tell me the mistake: apparently it’s been there awhile from what I’ve been told. Proofreading is your friend here, too. Needless to say, these are picayune compared to a campaign finance violation but all these things detract from the overall message a candidate attempts to convey.

Listen, I write for part of my living, and putting out a clear message is what I strive to do each day. Slowly those in the political world who are familiar with my work are leaning on me to make their message sound better, and it’s something I enjoy doing for the right candidate. (Let’s face it: no amount of massaging can make a liberal message palatable, since I don’t do emotional appeals all that well.)

But beyond that, I think Charles is a very promising candidate who has a very upbeat and positive message and knows how to communicate it to an audience better than either of his two Republican opponents (and probably better than any of the Democrats as well.) There’s not a whole lot he can do about past transgressions of the sort Red Maryland has highlighted; in fact, having them come out early may be a blessing in disguise to eliminate otherwise potential October surprises next year.

It seems, though, that the Lollar campaign moreso than others gets in its own way and doesn’t seem to be the most coordinated. Perhaps this can change in the next few weeks but for now they need to get out in front of their issues and get their act together with an improved website and better communications.

I’m no political expert insofar as I’ve not run a campaign, but common sense dictates two things: if you are getting flak, you’re above the target – and you need to be damn accurate while you’re there. Right now I’m just seeing scattershot.

2 thoughts on “Self-imposed distractions”

  1. Mike,

    Again you do a great job of separating the wheat from the chaff. I agree with you wholeheartedly about the unforced errors. ( I saw your error immediately upon reading it) As I told our mutual friend Jackie, ” this just ain’t news”. I suppose you guys see it a bit different, being professional bloggers, while I am just someone with an opinion. I hope I see this same sojourn of scrutiny applied to everyone, not just the Lollar campaign. I do find it just a little paradoxical that not one ghost from the past can be unearthed about either of the other candidates. I suppose we only find treasure where we dig.

  2. It’s news when a candidate commits an unforced error that depending on list size and how good the message is causes the potential loss of thousands of dollars in fundraising yield because of that error.

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