As the old joke goes, its may not be spring but the sap is running. Soon, all kinds of hopeful politicians will crowd into New Hampshire in hopes of gaining some sort of traction that may lead them to the White House. And with a huge crop of presidential hopefuls, comes a host of causes that want to influence the next president of the United States.
While it may seem odd that special interests and non-profit groups would want to reach potential White House candidates so early, it is part of the beauty and tradition of the New Hampshire’s First in the Nation Primary. Early candidates look a bit uneasy and surprised by the process – suddenly forced into coffees and house parties with everyday folk is a big change for a sitting governor, senator, or military officer. Small events, house parties and mixers are common in the early days of the primary, as candidates struggle to break through and gain a base. As a result, interest groups see a way not only to educate them but also to get them on record.
Through visibility and questions at events, special groups hope to get a candidate on the record for or against a policy. That endorsement can mean a great deal, or be tossed aside as are so many campaign promises. But, the way campaigns flow across the Granite State has also changed. I remember having coffee with John Edwards, chatting with Teresa Heinz in a neighbor’s kitchen, and hosting a tea with Elizabeth Edwards. Candidates need to start small, with opinion leaders to build up to the big events that are common close to the end of the campaign.
But in 2016 as many top candidates held town hall events where they answered many public questions, Donald Trump often went with more remote venues for rallies, where public interactions were limited, and questions were few.
Visibility is an old tool. I have held signs in a candy shop to surprise Mitt Romney and in the hallways of the statehouse for Carly Fiorina. Seeing can be believing.
Geo targeting– you can place signs on every street corner, or you can use geo targeting to reach the voters’ phones. Geotargeting is the science of delivering content to users based on their actual geographic location.
Attend meetings, following the public agenda in small meetings allows for direct questions to a candidate.