In elections, it takes payout to get vote out
IF YOU DON'T make at least a hundred bucks from a candidate in Tuesday's Democratic primary election, you aren't trying. With TV advertising restricted by campaign- contribution limits, and voters less engaged, the five major hopefuls in the mayoral primary will be recruiting thousands to staff their Election Day field operations.
IF YOU DON'T make at least a hundred bucks from a candidate in Tuesday's Democratic primary election, you aren't trying.
With TV advertising restricted by campaign- contribution limits, and voters less engaged, the five major hopefuls in the mayoral primary will be recruiting thousands to staff their Election Day field operations.
Veteran Democratic field operative Howard Cain said a mayoral primary with seven candidates requires a targeted effort, unlike the massive, get-out-the-vote drive for a presidential race.
"A primary like this is a different kettle of fish," said Cain, who's working for U.S. Rep. Bob Brady in this election. "You have to try and identify your voters, and that's not easy. You make calls or knock on doors. Sometimes people are reluctant to reveal much, but you get an idea."
All five major mayoral campaigns say they've been canvassing for weeks, building data banks of their voters. On Tuesday, they'll field whatever forces they can muster to get their voters to the polls.
Foot soldiers for candidates come from a variety of sources - party ward leaders and committee members, unions, campaign volunteers and independent contractors who promise "coverage" of one or more wards for a few thousand dollars.
It's expensive, and campaigns typically help fund their operations by charging judicial and City Council candidates tens of thousands to be on their recommended Election Day ballots.
Here's a look at the support the five mayoral candidates will put on the street Tuesday.
Bob Brady. Brady brings the Democratic organization to the game, with most of the party's 69 ward leaders and their 3,000-plus committee members.
He also has the biggest share of labor unions, many of whom promise to field masses of workers. And the campaign is using at least one independent contractor, Chester Fulton.
A good party committee member knows his or her neighbors and can presumably get Brady voters to the polls. The unanswered question is how many know their voters that well.
Chaka Fattah. Working for Fattah is Greg Naylor, known for fielding massive get-out-the-vote efforts for more than 20 years, and Tom Lindenfeld, a Washington-based field consultant who worked with Naylor on Mayor Street's successful 1999 and 2003 campaigns.
Naylor is on leave from Fattah's Congressional staff.
Fattah will also have help from the city workers' white-collar union, AFSCME District Council 47; the stagehands union; locals of the Service Employees International Union, and the grassroots organization ACORN.
Lindenfeld said the campaign has been canvassing voters for months, focusing on those likely to vote, gathering information about supporters and creating a presence in communities.
He said the campaign doesn't use independent contractors.
"We pay people directly for the work they do for us," Lindenfeld said. "We like to build in accountability, so we don't give money to John Jones to pay his people."
West Philadelphia state Sen. Vincent Hughes, Fattah's longtime friend and ally, also will mount an Election Day effort in support of Fattah.
Dwight Evans. Campaign manager Maurice Daniel has been using professional canvassers from the firm Grassroots Solutions for weeks. They knock on 1,200 doors a night to identify Evans supporters.
Evans can also count on support from several elected officials, some of whom are ward leaders, as well as some politically active unions - Laborers Local 332, Local 1776 of the United Food and Commercial Workers, and Transit Workers Local 234.
Daniel promises a heavy presence on Election Day and a smart, targeted turnout operation. He said the campaign is considering offers from some independent contractors, but will insist on quantifiable effort.
"Our philosophy is if you can't count, can't verify it, it doesn't exist," he said.
Tom Knox. Knox's most potent asset in the race has always been money, and campaign manager Josh Morrow said the Knox team has had 25 full-time field organizers working in designated neighborhoods with paid canvassers for at least six months.
Besides his hired hands, Knox has the support of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, headed by John Dougherty. Spokesman Frank Keel said Local 98 will be "out in force" for Knox, fielding at least 4,500 workers.
Knox will also have the support of West Philadelphia Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, whom Knox has pledged to support for president of City Council.
Michael Nutter. Nutter's campaign is endorsement-thin, but Terry Gillen, Democratic leader of the 30th Ward south of Center City, said he'll have a large, high-quality Election Day army.
"We'll have volunteers who really want to work for Michael," Gillen said, "and a field effort is always better if it's fueled by people who are really committed to seeing you get elected."
The campaign will get help from Clean Water Action and Philly for Change, two grassroots groups that endorsed Nutter.
"These are a lot of the people who worked for Howard Dean" when he ran for president, said campaign manager Bill Hyers, himself a veteran field director. "These are real activists you can count on." *