We Have a Month – B

Aloha Friends, welcome back. Friday’s ‘A’ report was mostly a meeting recap. There is more to report. Today’s ‘B’ report is about campaigns.

I write periodically to Republicans and conservatives. I try to write ‘stuff’ you don’t have on your radar or don’t have time to research. This isn’t personal though I understand it seems that way if people across the state are reading about you not doing your job.  Same applies for our great individuals and teams thankfully doing their jobs – it isn’t personal.  We won’t always agree but we should be informed and decide for ourselves. Conservatives need to know that they are not alone in Hawaii. I email rather than blog because this is a (quasi-) private discussion. Do not miss the point that for moderate Republican readers, reading that HRP lacks a conservative message may be good news.  Regardless, oft times, this is the only information.  My previous five reports are listed at the bottom.

[A story.  Broken news:  November 7, 2012.  After a month of early voting, culminating with yesterday’s election, President Obama narrowly won re-election with 272 electoral votes.  Obama’s success is attributed to a Republican ground game which saw individual states more worried about their own gains than the Presidential election.  Six battle ground states were lost by a total of 4800 votes, out of 137 million votes cast national-wide.  800 votes per state which could have been won had Fmr Governor Romney focused his effort towards the competitive states.  When Biden forgot to show up for the Vice Presidential debate fortunes should have turned but Republicans did not capitalize.  Romney-Hawaii used their resources for local efforts.  Their work and the effects of a terrible Hawaii cost of living were successful in reducing Obama’s 2008 record-winning margin.  The 33 point margin was still too much for Lingle to overcome.  Djou closed to within two points.  With no national shift away from Obama in the October polling or early voting exit polling, Hawaii Republican voters failed to vote early or show up on election day. It resulted in down-ticket Republican candidates losing across the state. With a few organized phone calls, the results could have been 318 Romney-Ryan electoral votes, a 51-49 Republican Senate majority and a 228-207 Republican majority in the House.  Confidence and resources would have flowed to Hawaii, boosting Djou over the top and pulling Lingle with him along with new Republican highs in the State Senate and House.  All for a few phone calls into targeted states.]  This fiction (?) makes me question what (or who) is keeping Romney-Hawaii from making swing state calls.  Want to venture a guess where Obama-Hawaii calls are going?

29 days until the General Election. Thirty-seven states have begun voting. Hawaii absentee ballots go out this week. Some local candidates are working hard.

Council 1, the most interesting race? A couple weekends ago, I received calls and email from Kapolei friends who passed a signwaver with a “Kym Pine is a Crook” banner, http://kympineisacrook.com for details.  It reminded me that we’re waiting for the CSC and City Prosecutor (and FBI) to resolve that issue – whether Pine conducted illegal campaigning and made illegal payments during her 2010 House primary campaign (and jilted a vendor along her way).  What if she were to win next month and then go to jail?  Latest twist is a HR article by Rollman (based on what he knew at the time) which then got debunked by Capelouto (him, the Senate candidate) in what apparently turns out to be 1. another abuse of power by Pine, 2. a reprimand to the police officers, and 3. an embarrassment for the City Prosecutor.

If Chang’s ‘farm team,’ with all respect, wants a peak at a textbook House canvas operation, drop in on H31 Johanson’s campaign, http://www.votejohanson.com/.  His September 29 canvas was a clinic. Everything prepared in advance. Five teams, 18 walkers plus drivers for a straight lit drop. Crisp instructions. Centralized base station with communications. Water, food, supplies. Could not have been better.  No member of the state Executive or County Cmte showed up, either to walk or to offer assistance. I assume that the 15 Exec and 6 County Cmte members were together doing a canvas or were individually sent to assist other campaigns, though I know the definition of ‘assume’ (and I know better).

Slom TWT interview – by DeGracia http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/making-waves-hawaii-perspective-washington-politic/

Maui Chamber endorsed H13 Russell, H11 Fontaine, Council Couch and H10 dem McKelvey. They did not endorse either S6 Mulvihill (R) or Baker (D) nor H12 Kalama (R) or Yamishita (D). While Clark and the Maui board focuses on removing Ron Paul members from their Board, two-time Republican Council candidate and fmr district chair Gapero – yes, the one ousted by the board – is funding the printing of the unique Hawaii Romney T-Shirts. lgapero@yahoo.com.

Relooking races. H47 Fale should be a slam dunk against a weak opponent and with HRP opening a Laie Victory Center, but I received a ‘not so fast’ from someone familiar with the candidate’s ‘quirks.’  H40 McDermott didn’t come out as strong as expected but he is confident and his opponent is flawed. As H11 Fontaine prepares for a future gubernatorial run, he isn’t a campaigner or a people person but got the weaker of the dem opponents.  He expected Liu to help with his fundraising. H27 Ching again waited to campaign, drew a prepared opponent and again went into panic mode. H45 Cheape has the benefit(?) of youth but she drew an opponent with ties to, not just supported by, unions.  Maybe I am gun shy from getting whipped as State Chairman when Obama spanked McCain-Hawaii by 45, the down-ticket effect was terrible. Be ready, you are running against Obama.  (Blair handicaps the races today in CB.)

Focus, focus, focus. Who can win and what do those few need?  We effectively have 12 of 25 Senate races with candidates who have at least tried to campaign, 23 of 51 House races and a small handful of the many council seats contested. A dozen are competitive and a handful are going to win.  For 2013, Ward predicts having 11 in the House and Chang predicts 10 House and 2-3 senate (i.e. more than a handful). The incumbents and prior office holders are the most adept at the political work, communications and fundraising. New candidates could have used some help, any help. One reader writes “Our party should be bold, vocal and should take a stand…[or do something].” I noted in my last report the comments of lack of any support from HRP. Then, a promising candidate openly said that no one from HRP had ever worked with him, “All I got was a booklet.”  Several were recruited into the wrong race, just to fill a spot on the ballot.  Some of these candidates are very good and capable. HRP has a month to get the few potential winners over the top. If we spread the effort everywhere, we won’t win anywhere. This weekend, Ward said he is working with 11 campaigns.  That is a lot of campaigns, each getting not much attention.

HRP came under fire this weekend and in email following.  Lack of party support for districts, failure to provide lists, failure to reorganize following reapportionment (again violating HRP rules), lack of financial support (still reeling from debt incurred with Nonaka as Exec Dir), limited resources again pointed at only one race, continued failure to disseminate the Presidential caucus list of 10,000 Republican potential volunteers.  That is all tactical, the discussion didn’t even get to the lack of a message or direction or strategy or coordination. One email postulated Lingle’s squashing of any Republican message which would counter her ‘bi-partisan’ campaign (she did it to me a similar ’08 situation). Another email sought to justify the lack of district chairs without explaining who is coordinating party activities for the candidates running in those districts.  Instead, the party is counting on districts and house candidates to GOTV, apparently forgetting that only three district chairs respond to communications and, for the few districts with a (working) House candidate, few of them have an effective GOTV program.

Hope you are running against a dissident. The House dissidents won’t be supported by the $100k that Say’s PAC is about to drop on opponents to his chances to retain the Speakership. 2010 H18 Baron attributes his loss to those five pieces Say’s PAC dropped on him (that, and losing at DtD). Ward’s PAC will counter with, right, Ward doesn’t have a PAC. Darn.

If Ward organizes a caucus PAC. “Republican [US] House members kicked in another $3.2M to the NRCC” i.e. members helping a members’ assistance PAC.  In a local effort, Saiki (the R) and Ward want Hawaii Solutions Super PAC ‘House Victory Fund’ to be a House-supporting PAC. Giving short notice for a raiser, taking advantage of the retiring Marumoto, it could work with John Henry Felix involved.  With a change of leadership, Aiona (the real one) had to step down when he began his campaign, expect donors to ask how races are selected for support, who decides which races get supported, who decides what is the support and how much, and why only House races.

Aiona (17 points) endorsed Pine, Fukumoto, Cheape and Fale.  If it is helpful, I wonder why he waited until now. His endorsement/fundraising appeal said that he thinks they are good people, nothing of their positions or why they are different from our candidates he doesn’t like. This weekend Aiona (Aiona/Finnegan lost by 22 points on Maui) was more detailed with his Fontaine endorsement.

Hawaii Family Advocates, with Hochberg and Rohlfing (the younger, splitting his time as chair of the Hawaii-Romney campaign), intends to support ten pro-life House candidates. I don’t know if that includes incumbents. Nor do I know the support though it could be extensive. Two weeks ago, they still had not identified their target races. One month to go, my suggestion is to focus everything and everyone instead on only two races.

With all this, can YOU win?  Yes, yes, and yes.  Keep focused on your race – for one month, there can be nothing else in your life.  Relate to your voters, not the talking points.  Quit meeting, keep walking.  Screw the GOTV effort – you have not identified enough of your votes and you don’t have resources to do both. Continue to ID voters, then aggressively shift to GOTV at the end of October.  Be compelling – if you are ever going to push a volunteer past their limit, this is the time.  Continue to recruit volunteers and raise money (That glow of winning – or losing – is dampened if you have a $10k debt).  Focus!  In fact, if you are a candidate, why are you taking time to read this?

Another intra-party election, more lies, threats and rumors. Pechaur did her thing in the NCM election. She really should stay out of the Oahu League of Republican Women’s December election. One reader suggests that Pechaur has replaced Berquist-Trommald as the most divisive person in HRP (with appropriate runner-up status for a couple others). OL came so far this cycle, http://oahuleague.org/. They’re becoming a political organization as they are SUPPOSED to be. Political messaging, $8,000 (!) in direct candidate contributions (or, 8k more than HRP provided to candidates), political activity. There are multiple candidates for board positions. Candidates represent the old club versus the new club. They represent the past versus the future. They represent the lunch club versus the political organization. Pechaur is making this as ugly as the 2002 or ’04 OL election when it took years to recover.

PBS Boylan. I tuned in to see S25 Hemmings take apart Thielen (the D), and he did. After halftime, so to speak, H36 Fukumoto (not sobbing) came out as pro-rail and ready to raise taxes (she even gave an example which made me realize she already identified other taxes to raise). Yes, one can be a Republican and be pro-rail, you know, big tent and all. No, one cannot be a fiscal conservative and be pro-rail (or pro-Akaka, or pro-Jones Act for that matter).

The next week, we saw Pine getting worked by Berg. Everything told me that Pine would easily handle Berg. What unfolded was substance (a prepared Berg) over style (Pine’s smiles). Berg gave facts and figures, Pine smiled while attacking Berg.  She may become more adept but Berg demonstrated that he knows his job. A question for voters (aside from Pine’s integrity and their pro- vs anti-rail positions) is whether they want Pine to show well for them or if they want Berg to work well for them. Showing potential, H26 Au was a pleasant surprise as she beat up Saiki (the D) in the second (short) half of the show.

Someone tried to convince me that Cayetano is really a Republican. Seriously? C’mon. He isn’t. He isn’t going to be. And, I don’t care. You don’t have to like him, you just need him to stop rail.  He has my pro-sanity (anti-this type of rail) vote. For a union with so many carpenters out of work, the scrutiny on PRP’s cash ($2M+ work against Cayetano) is appropriate. I fully support Citizen’s United but hope PRP gets the same (nasty) treatment from liberals that they give to right-leaning Super PACs. CB poll says Cayetano 51-42, Oppose rail 53-38.  Maybe Cayetano will have the coattails (for anti-rail Republicans) which Lingle never had.

What I have back-channel tells me that you are going to want to be at a historic FNRA dinner on November 11. More on that next month.

As a segue, try this FedEx-Kinko’s non-partisan (funny) ad. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2eojFZ0c20&feature=relmfu

Crowley’s Press Release? Darndest thing. No one attended his presser so Crowley sends out another release apologizing to the media for the media not attending. He deserved earned media for that apology and CB wrote it up.

Crossroads Super PAC dumps $5.5M in five US Senate races, not in Hawaii. They think FL Mack is closer to Nelson than is Lingle to Hirono? $12M more in the Presidential bground states (not Hawaii).  AFL-CIO mails to 180,000+ union families in Governor and Senate races (not Hawaii).

Still waiting for indicators. It is getting late in the process. Still no national polling and no national money (RNC/DNC, NRSC/DSCC, RNCC/DCCC) for Hawaii national races. We are seeing an increase in interest group spending – some on the dem side and a lot of US Chamber of Commerce for Lingle. One sign of the apocalypse – the NRSC is going up big in ME. If they see an opportunity in ME to come back from 25 down against King and not an opportunity in Hawaii…..uh oh. Lingle is threading the small sewing needle as she tries to appeal to democrats and liberals. She had to tell a Laie audience that she is voting for Romney, she is a Romney coalition co-chair and she (and her crew) hope for a Romney cabinet position. Lingle should have known that trackers would get her quote in Hirono’s next ad. Another indicator – Lingle is doing hits on Hirono from her campaign instead of PACs doing it for her. Lingle says her internals show her ‘close’ and even leading Hirono (Aiona’s 2010 internal polls showed him tied, only to lose to Abercrombie by 17 points).  Sabato at UVa early last week moved Lingle from Lean Dem to Likely Dem. Cook, first (and only) to have Lingle-Hirono as a toss up, last week moved the race to Lean Dem.  CB poll says Hirono is up by 16.

  1. CB. “The last time the public got to see Djou and Hanabusa go at it, he was a congressman and she was a three-time unsuccessful candidate … Now … there has been talk around the state that Djou is merely going through the motions and waiting for a run for higher office (governor or U.S. senator) down the road.” I managed Djou’s ’06 campaign. While he is too ‘centrist’ today to get my 24/7 support (his character earns my vote), he is ALWAYS 100%, absolutely, invested and involved in his current campaign.

Djou is blasting out ads (four so far?) and Hanabusa is doing what Hanabusa does, nothing (she just came up on TV). The CB poll has Djou down (only) 5 with Hanabusa below 50%.  This is huge news not being covered by the media, HRP or anywhere but here.  Some have attacked the poll.  Sabato has both CDs as Safe Dem.  Here’s where the HRP gets into trouble – lack of focus and lack of (please excuse the sexist use) big boy pants.  The CB poll may be accurate, or not (I have my own – different – numbers).  CB has been upfront about their polling and has gone further to give us Polling 101 lessons.  By polling all the races in one poll, the numbers give relative value.  Granted anything can happen in 30 days, Hanabusa hasn’t yet campaigned, Lingle has more money and more Chang/Liu/Hellriech support than Djou, and a Senate seat is preferable to a House seat…. folks, without national polling and having only CB and internal candidate polling, all the indicators point to Djou having a considerably better chance to win than Lingle.  The part about hitching up the pants – It comes down to leaders making the tough decisions with limited resources.  HRP ‘leaders’ can spread out resources and lose everywhere, or they can focus on the most winnable.  Makes you question why HRP is running a Victory Center in CD2 and is not doubling down in CD1. This involves some pretty heavy hitters, here and nationally.  We’ll see if HRP has the guts to make this shift in resources and if donors understand the political landscape.

Taking a long shot.  If one takes the CB poll data with Djou (down 5) and Crowley (down 52) representing two halves of Lingle’s territory (down 16), she is getting killed in CD2 (Gabbard 70-18) and probably doing quite well in CD1 (Hanabusa 49-44).  I am more surprised at Hirono’s and Hanabusa’s weaknesses than I am at our strengths.  Djou could get her over the top in CD1 but she needs votes in CD2. It is hard to see it the other way where, for instance, a CD2 voter votes for Obama then crosses ballot to Lingle, then goes back to Gabbard OR votes for Romney and Lingle and then goes to Gabbard but without more data you see why this paragraph is ‘taking a long shot.’  Of course, she could be 16 down across the state.  (Thank you to CB Levine who was kind enough to link me to all the cross tabs which indeed included the available demographics.  I like to know, for example, what a HD10 moderate male Japanese voter between 45-60 years, making less than 50k/year, thinks about the elections on that particular poll day.)

As a Republican US Senate majority gets tougher, the US House is secure and we may pick up more than one Governor’s mansion. I mentioned that national groups would come back to Akin (MO). DeMint’s PAC was the first to come to their senses. The NRSC walked back their initial outburst of pulling support though they haven’t yet put money back into that race. Santorum , Eagle Forum, Coburn and Graham (huh?) are supporting Akin. VA Allen is getting kicked around and MA Brown is running even.

Last month, spending (by ‘team’) in the Presidential election surpassed $1.5B. The campaigns were within 5M of each other! If you candidates did not spend the accepted standard 80% of your time fundraising (which may explain your current COH), here is another number to consider. Both campaigns have spent about 70M to raise 775-785M. That is an impressive 9% cost of fundraising. Disciplined. For comparison, Chang’s HRP numbers (for a party, not candidate though as a candidate last time he also had a terrible percentage), Lincoln Dinner had a 42% cost of fundraising. You see why the net numbers, not gross, are important.

Drill down into the Romney-Obama polling numbers in the bground states and there are some odd weightings in a lot of polls and those odd polls get used in the RCP average and those skewed numbers get spread by the liberal media. Less than a percentage point off-weight of a minority, or a high turnout area, can throw off the entire poll.  It is a polling thing. I am not going to suggest a win where there isn’t. There is still a month to go. Not all the pollsters are going to be correct – Rasmussen has this race looking considerably better for Romney than any of the Silver, Sabato or Cook polls.  In Hawaii, Silver has Obama winning by 34.6 and Sabato says Obama could get 70% of the vote while CB’s poll has 62-30.

Many Romney-Hawaii leaders and members drifted away or onto other campaigns. Romney-Hawaii is working ‘behind the scenes’ on an every-precinct strategy and is still short a lot of precincts (lack of HRP organization hasn’t helped Rohlfing, the younger).  The campaign admittedly isn’t very noticeable.  One reader agrees, writing to Romney-Hawaii and the HRP “I am so very disappointed that the RR [Romney-Ryan] campaigned has closed down in Hawaii. It shows that we quit. You quit us.” However, even before Romney’s debate performance, another email showed that at least one committed Romney-Hawaii supporter is trying to initiate local a local phone bank. You’ll see here http://oahuleague.org/everything-political-with-willes-lee-1440 what I think everyone interested in winning the Presidential election should be doing.  An example of why your phone calls and a couple votes matter. In OH, VA and FL in 2008, the popular vote difference was less than 250,000 votes out of 5.2M, 3.6M and 8M votes, respectively. “[RNC] Party officials confirmed [last month] that the [NM] GOP Victory campaign’s director, Hispanic outreach director and communications director will be transferred to more competitive states as part of a shift in the [RNC] resources.”  I am glad the RNC sent staffers to HI (because Chang, Hellriech and Liu asked) but if it causes us to lose a bground state…..Update: Word is the four staffers (or five, there is confusion between Chang and Ready as to how many) arrived and SA DePledge blog has them as NRSC hires, not RNC.  That – RNC vs NRSC – makes a difference.  If Romney loses, and today it is closer to tied than not, but if he loses, remember the National Convention power grab and check the turnout in bground states with a high percentage of conservatives, TEA and Ron Paul supporters. When he instead wins, well, then everyone is happy and the world is saved.

Disappointed that Hawaii was not on the list of states with Romney debate watching parties, Santorum supporters suggested HRP HQ for an October 16 party. Watch for a late-notice announcement.  I suggested some strong Maui Romney-Hawaii individuals (you know who you are) could also organize a watch party.

Romney’s kick-a** debate, one comment.  Regardless of outcome of the four debates, the Presidential Debate Commission did a disservice to voters by scheduling the first debate after 50% of states began voting.

The election has been and is still “about the economy, stupid” but what part of “We’re at war” does Obama not understand? Libya, Egypt, Sinai, Afghanistan, Tunisia, Sudan, Indonesia, Yemen……

Psalm 109:8, for Obama.

If you are reading this, you are a voter.  The election matters only if you vote.  Go vote.  Don’t take for granted that your family members vote.  Get them to vote.  Do not assume your like-minded friends vote.  Get them to go.  Vote.  Now.

Choose a race and please get involved.





Last five: It Is Political (2 sections)/Tampa 2012 (4 reports)/ Game On, I a&b and II/ May Special Report/ Hawaii Republicans in the Spring 1,2,3