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GOV 2001: Intro to Political Races

By danazar in News
Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 08:37:04 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)

I'm a lurker and this is my first story on K5, but I think it's worth posting, and will generate some interesting feedback (as well as blur the line between the media and the public).

An undergraduate student at the University of Texas at Austin is running for mayor. And he needs your help.

Sponsor: rusty
This space intentionally left blank
...because it's waiting for your ad. So why are you still reading this? Come on, get going. Read the story, and then get an ad. Alright stop it. I'm not going to say anything else. Now you're just being silly. STOP LOOKING AT ME! I'm done!
comments (24)
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That's right, folks. I'm running for mayor of a major city. It's actually a pretty massive undertaking, which I'm only now beginning to see the entire picture on. But I believe that somebody has to do it.

The current mayor, Kirk Watson, is resigning to run for state Attorney General, and only one "serious" candidate is running to replace him, a longtime City Councilman named Gus Garcia. He's running mostly unchallenged, which is letting him get away with not discussing any issues to the media.

And there are issues I would very much like to see discussed, that I disagree with him on. The main two are the city's long-term economic planning, which I believe should be changed to reflect the oncoming depression, and public police oversight, which I think is vitally important given the Austin Police Department's record of abuse. By getting him to talk about the issues, I can maybe make a difference in this campaign.

Of course, the problem is, I am just a college student. I have no political analysts, no campaign staff. I'm standing on street corners collecting signatures to get on the ballot, and so far I've only been a "human interest" story in the local media. And I'm running against a well-known candidate with over $30,000 raised for campaign funds.

If any of you out there are as interested in politics as you claim to be on here, I would be more than open to (serious) help, advice, criticism, etc. then feel free to post it here.

You've all discussed news stories on here as theoreticals, without the subjects often reading. Now the news story wants your help. K5, are you up to it?


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GOV 2001: Intro to Political Races | 35 comments (34 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
Why should voters support you? (4.50 / 8) (#1)
by Perpetual Newbie on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 12:52:20 AM EST

As far as I can see, you're just a two-issue candidate, just some kid still in school. What do you know about running a city?

I'm not saying that to demean you, but to actually get you to respond to these points, because that is how most voters are going to see you and you need to eliminate these points of view. Let's see some of your depth beyond the two main issues. What have you learned from studying the work done by past mayors and politicians? Do you have a plan for implementing your ideas? (Actually, not having one is sometimes better than having a plan that people can poke holes in.) Rather than combat the points against you in the first paragraph, I suggest emphasising your knowledge, goals, and ideals and speaking as if these points against you don't exist; Otherwise, they're what people will remember about you.

As far as logistics, how hard would it be to get the other candidates into a public debate? Have you considered staging a public event like an open-air speech, or other ways to draw attention to yourself? Has anybody you talked to asked if there was any way they could help?

Good luck, and don't ever give up on what you know is right, and don't forget that I could be offering lousy advice. =)

Winning? (4.20 / 5) (#3)
by lonesmurf on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 05:04:52 AM EST

As far as I see it, it is less about winning than this guy showing the world more openly what the other candidate is about. If no one runs against him, he wins without anyone even knowing what his policies and why he is the man for the job. I say that in this case, even if danazar loses, the city of Austin wins. Good for him, we need more servants of society and less societies being servants.


I am not a jolly man. Remove the mirth from my email to send.

[ Parent ]
Two-issue candidate... (4.25 / 4) (#4)
by danazar on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 05:12:27 AM EST

As I said, those were two of the issues I was running on. I'm also throwing my weight behind a local campaign finance reform movement, pushing for more rights for bicyclists including stronger enforcement of bike lanes (people park in the bike lanes and seem to not get in trouble for it), making a stand on the local (and serious) transportation issues in the city of Austin, proposing an expansion of environmental measures (including immediate renewal of the Sixth Street recycling program), and for the real meat, I'm currently developing a rather comprehensive economic relief package designed to combat the oncoming slump and the recent and severe job losses in the city.

As for logistics, that's what I need help with. I have no idea how to organize public events, I doubt that Gus Garcia would want to run the political risk of debating me, and I currently have a couple other college students mildly interested in helping me, and that's it. If anyone has any PR experience, knows the proper way to put a press conference together, that's the kind of thing I could use a little help with.

[ Parent ]

"PR experience" (4.25 / 4) (#5)
by scorpion on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 08:14:42 AM EST

Have you tried to talk with students in your school who are majoring in PR and journalism? Try to convince them "first" that you are a solid candidate and maybe they can get some practical experience working on your campaign.

[ Parent ]

Even the Chronicle doesn't give you any respect (4.00 / 2) (#14)
by jlinwood on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 02:49:47 AM EST

From what I've seen of Austin politics since I moved here, it's a one-party town. (Liberal/Green democrats, for all you K5 readers). How are you going to differentiate yourself? Actually, are you running as a Republican? Apparently, the Travis County Republican party can't even find anybody to run.

Where is your web site with your issues? You know as well as I do that light rail didn't pass here by 1% of the vote, and the city council or Cap metro (don't know which) appointed the lead engineer from the Bergstrom Airport to get light rail planned and funded. I'd say that's a really good way to get yourself known. Gus Garcia hasn't said anything yet.

More rights for bicyclists isn't going to be a big issue. I agree with you, but I don't think that's really going to energize Austin. Maybe you can get Lance Armstrong to endorse your candidacy. Have you gone down to Sixth Street and talked to the bar owners or managers, to see what they have to say about the recycling program?

Where is the money for the economic relief package going to come from? Austin is trimming parks, library, and neighborhood planning budgets. I don't know if you'll get a good response to bailing out laid-off dot-commers (or dot-coms).

In our last election, the runner-up was Leslie Cochran, at 7.78% of the vote, or 2,769 votes total. I wonder if he might run this year. Leslie is famous on Sixth Street for being a homeless guy who wears a pink thong and not much else, occaisonally a skirt. In any case, you should do well if you get as many votes as he does. Austin had 8.83% turnout for the last election, and I bet this election has even less.

Sorry to ramble, but it's going to be tough to beat the anointed candidate.

[ Parent ]

I`m all for you (4.00 / 1) (#15)
by pallex on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 08:11:47 AM EST

but i really would make this a `get issues into the air` campaign, and not try and kid yourself that you`ll get more than a handful of quotes. Use the opportunity to the maximum, do radio/tv interviews etc if you`re offered them (or can get them sorted somehow), etc.

[ Parent ]
quid pro quo (none / 0) (#34)
by Luyseyal on Tue Sep 18, 2001 at 06:10:07 PM EST

pushing for more rights for bicyclists including stronger enforcement of bike lanes

In exchange for enforcement of the bike lane laws, I would encourage you to endear motorists, such as myself, to you by mandating that bicycles are vehicles and must obey the same safety and traffic laws as other vehicles. Currently, cyclists clamor for their own lanes and such, but seem to think that running red lights in the middle of traffic is somehow acceptable behavior. Downtown this is a particularly acute problem and results in all kinds of slowdowns near campus.


[ Parent ]

You're a human-interest story (4.66 / 9) (#6)
by Wondertoad on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 11:01:07 AM EST

I have nothing but praise for your decision. People like you are what is needed everywhere: politically active and concerned citizens, demanding that issues be discussed. It's a beautiful thing.

However, they wrote about you as a human-interest story. That means you made their radar - excellent - but only on the far outskirts of their radar. In the eyes of the newspaper (you didn't say whether it was the "paper of record"), you currently have no shot. And they should know - they've probably covered this sort of thing for years and years.

I've run campaigns that are hurting for money, expertise, and publicity and I am increasingly of the opinion that it is nigh impossible to hack this particular system. Unless you are a person of reknown, with built-in name recognition from somewhere else - say, professional wrestling or something - you need money, expertise, and a ton of difficult "retail politics".

And while it's great that you want the issues to be discussed, you should know that the public will have little taste for that. They really don't give a damn. The public's main concern is the dog across the street who barks at night. They are a little concerned about public services, but will not know whether their favorite services are run by your office at all.

In a campaign like this, you really need to start out with a base of support from somewhere. You need a large number of people who know you and love you and who will not only vote for you, but be an advocate for you. At least they need to know who you are and have a non-negative opinion about you. This is why so many local campaigns really start out with civic activity and/or grass-roots politics. Civic associations, neighborhood associations, etc. It's too late to endear yourself to these people. And as a 30-year counilman and President of the school board, your opponent is a model of base of support.

Does Mr. Garcia have any identifiable negatives on which you can attack him? If you haven't thought about attacking your opponent yet, you ARE a human-interest story. And nothing else. The race is less about why people should vote for you, the total unknown, and more about why they should NOT vote for the guy they are utterly familiar with.

Who's your campaign manager? The campaign is run by the campaign manager: the candidate is BELOW the campaign manager on the list of important people to a campaign.

Do you have any name recognition at all? Professional political consultants say that if you're starting from zero, it takes 70 "gross recognition points" to have name recognition. Simply put, every "hit" of your name, in a newspaper, on a sign, in conversation, etc. is one GRP. Your human-interest story may have gotten you one GRP to maybe 20,000 readers. Congrats, you're 1/70th of the way to reaching what your opponent already has.

We haven't even touched on the most important political aspects of your race. This is a partisan race, yes? What is the voter registration like - in your favor or against? Are there any larger races that will bring voters out? Are the "big lever" voters in your favor? Can you count on 40% just by having your name on the ballot?

Free political advice... (4.50 / 6) (#7)
by WombatControl on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 01:36:53 PM EST

Tattoo this in reverse type on your forehead so that you see it every time you look in the mirror...

"The success of a political campaign is dependent on the number and quality of its activists."

Look into creating a mass youth-based campaign. Recruit on college campuses, try to get people who are going to be out there in the field for you. A network of 500-1000 students actively working in the field, getting positive media attention is worth way more than $30,000 in campaign funds. Youth is news, and youth who are actually doing something positive rather than vandalism or slacking is something that people like to see.

Do a little research into successful mass youth-based campaigns at the library. See what techniques have been successful, and emulate them.

The key point is this: a well-organized, motivated campaign with little money can beat a rich, lacklaster campaign every time.

No chance in hell (3.75 / 4) (#8)
by Wing Envy on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 03:41:22 PM EST

No one is going to take you seriously.

"Our Mayor, Was it a headache or a hang-over?"
"Training wheels needed for new mayor?"
"Our mayor, he's not old enough to drink, go to nightclubs, or legally own anything without his parents being liable, but he's NAIVE!"
"Mayor's new girlfriend, Is she even of legal consenting age?"
"Our Mayor,DID he inhale......LAST NIGHT??!!!"
"Parents tell mayor "Get some sleep", is he able to keep up the pace?"

You are going to have to consistently and constantly diffuse any allegations before and during this venture. You are going to deal with much adversity within your local government, other reps. may not even give you the time of day, listen to your arguments, validate your ideas, or help in any fashion whatsoever.

You are going to have to continually prove that you are an adult who can make a decision and stick with it, regardless of the whims of others. You will have to prove that you are not a victim of peer pressure. You will have to prove that you can continue to be a student and more than adequately run a city. You will need to give ten times more than any other candidate.

You will not be allowed to sleep. You will not be allowed to be tired. You will be required to socialize. You will have to prove you are not a party animal. You will truly have to understand "politics", but not be caught in such actions.

I wish you luck, but I think you know that no matter what, you still lose.

You don't get to steal all the deficiency. I want some to.

Not necessarily. (4.00 / 5) (#10)
by Greyjack on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 09:08:34 PM EST

Back in the 80's in my hometown (Holland, MI), a 19-year-old beat a several term (I think he'd been around for nearly a decade) incumbent mayor. The incumbent didn't take the challenge seriously; by busting his ass going door-to-door for several weeks, the kid beat the established guy by a narrow margin.

Granted, Austin is a *little* larger than Holland (which was probably around 25000 at the time), but, no matter how young you are, if you take it seriously and press the flesh, you'll be taken seriously by the people you talk to.

My advice? Start knocking on doors, make your presence known. And urge the ones you do talk to to actually get out and vote.

Here is my philosophy: Everything changes (the word "everything" has just changed as the word "change" has: it now means "no change") --Ron Padgett

[ Parent ]
Minor correction (none / 0) (#17)
by Greyjack on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 10:02:50 AM EST

Oops--he wasn't 19, he was 23 (did a wee bit o' research; other fun fact: he won by 16 votes). But hey, the point still stands.

Here is my philosophy: Everything changes (the word "everything" has just changed as the word "change" has: it now means "no change") --Ron Padgett

[ Parent ]
It's true, and yet (4.00 / 1) (#18)
by Wondertoad on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 10:21:53 AM EST

The candidate should expect that those are the types of thoughts in people's heads, and address some of them directly. "Let's talk about experience..."

However, he should also be aware that if he hears or reads such statements, they represent opportunities.

If the opposition says any such thing, that is 100% good. For one thing, every mention is a GRP for name recognition. But more importantly, people really hate personal attacks from their pols. When the opposition gets personal, that's good. If the candidate can turn it into a laugh somehow, that's PERFECT.

If a newspaper editorializes and uses those sorts of attacks, the more personal it is, the better. If it's entirely personal, that's an opportunity to visit the paper in person with a quality letter to the editor. You can bet that letter will be published, because the paper will have a red face over it if it indulges in any sort of name calling. That LTE will be published, and it will be a second name-dropping opportunity.

Putting your name out there guarantees you a lot of flak. You have to have a thick skin and know how to respond. If you are attacked it means that they have noticed you and worried about you long enough to attack you. That's a good thing for a fledgling candidate.

[ Parent ]
i go to UT... (3.83 / 6) (#9)
by rebelcool on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 03:53:09 PM EST

and ive never heard of you. Theres your first problem.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

Re: i go to UT... (4.50 / 6) (#12)
by horton on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 12:03:08 AM EST

and ive never heard of you. Theres your first problem.

Well, now you have.

[ Parent ]
Bravo, Nazar... (3.33 / 3) (#11)
by Mad Goose on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 10:29:23 PM EST

I would just like to take a moment to applaude your decision to stand up, and make your voice heard. I will let the rest of the K5 crew give the editorials, and criticisms, and advice. I just want to say that I am very glad that there are people who'll said up to opposition and say, "So what?". I wish you well on this. If I lived there, you'd have my vote.


How do you know this post isn't the result of a drunken bet?

Discworld "Map":
"There are no maps. You can't map a sense of humor."
-Terry Pratchett
Running against does stir media awareness (4.33 / 3) (#13)
by lucidvein on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 12:39:01 AM EST

We have someone running for City Council in Seattle primarily to focus media attention on his promotion of District elections.

Here's a Seattle Weekly article on him as well...

There are also several people running protest campaigns for Mayor of Seattle. http://eatthestate.org/05-25/WeNeedMayor.htm I would hope that this sort of involvement would offer viable choices in our representation. But the media continuously ingnores the candidates who do not have a war chest to spend on advertising. Choice is narrowed down for us to the least horrible of the rich. Two candidates who have received minor news coverage were Caleb Schaber, locally known for his work on the mysterious monolith, and Omari Tahir-Garrett, regionally known for allegedly punching out our current Mayor. So there are a few examples of how to gather some media attention. Be outrageous enough and you might get some coverage.

As you wish.. (4.00 / 2) (#16)
by MicroBerto on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 09:54:53 AM EST

First off, I wish you the best of luck in your decisions, whatever they are.

The good thing is that I checked your diary and you have no stories or dead skeletons in there - I was hoping to see a few stories about that drunk girl that you gave the time to, or whatnot.

You must realize that if you're going to take this seriously, you need some informed, good friends, and you're going to need to bust your ass. Great ready for stress, it's coming.

My question is, don't you like college? There isn't anything in this world that would stop me from going to college, I have more fun every day there (if only my damned classes would start yet, i'm still at work!). What i'm saying is that even if I won the 200 million jackpot, I'd still go to college (although I'd change from Engineering to MIS or something easy). Are you sure you want to ruin your social life like this? Best wishes!

- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip

"MIS or something EASY?" (2.00 / 1) (#23)
by CoolArrow on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 12:29:47 PM EST

My Fellow Kuro5hin reader, perhaps you could clarify that remark?

[ Parent ]
Heh (none / 0) (#31)
by MicroBerto on Tue Sep 11, 2001 at 01:47:51 PM EST

not sure if you're really asking what it is, or trying to say that it's not easy.

Compared to the classes I'll be taking in computer engineering, MIS sounds like a dream. A mixture of business and computer information systems - no classes on fridays, and way easier programming assignments. That's only if i won the lottery -- it's just an easier computer field. I'm going to be sticking with the electricity for now though!

- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
[ Parent ]

Ok - agreed (Leave "MIS" to the marketro (none / 0) (#32)
by CoolArrow on Tue Sep 11, 2001 at 08:41:33 PM EST

Just had to check there to see what exactly it was you meant. By the way, CS/EE here, UT '87, MIT '91, hence - I know from whence you speak oh fellow traveller ;^ )

Travel on Good Citizen,
"But the universe is full of would be god's , and the machines of man cannot long withstand the tests of time .... "

[ Parent ]

Easy choice. (3.50 / 2) (#19)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 10:35:00 AM EST

Who would you vote for:

"Long time City councilman"
"Undergraduate student"

Now, forget your knee jerk reaction "the system is broken" kind of thing and imagine that the winner will run your City.

Loable intentions, placed in the wrong effort.

What you should be doing is learning political theory, how the political system works, becoming member of a party, etc. (i.e. gaining political experience) and questioning this guy by all the means available to you (you don't need to become a candidate for that).

I know the world looks like a place that needs fixing, but learn first the art of trying to fix the world first.

"They only think of me as a Mexican,
an Indian or a Mafia don"
Mexican born actor Anthony Quinn on
Actually... (none / 0) (#25)
by Elkor on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 02:22:22 PM EST

I'd vote for college student.

That way I'd know he had other things to do than come up with assinine laws.


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
[ Parent ]
question #1: (4.25 / 4) (#20)
by toddg on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 10:44:56 AM EST

Who the hell are you? No, seriously. google turned up two hits on you, which were minutes of UT Austin board meetings. Where is your website? Your bio? Where did you go to school before this, what training do you have that might give voters a picture of where you fall on issues, etc, etc, etc!

You need to give something to make anyone interested. Here is a good place to start.

A Few Ideas stolen from Toronto (4.00 / 2) (#21)
by reward on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 11:17:39 AM EST

Hi, and good luck!

Our last municipal election here in Toronto pitted the incumbent mayor who was in the midst of a 25 year old paternity suit (yep, 25 years later), the one who the Toronto Olympic Bid Committee tried to keep muzzled after he insulted Kenyans, etc etc., the flamboyant Mel Lastman against a field of approximately 20 no-name candidates.

Mayor Lastman won his seat, but the most interesting campaign was run by Tooker Gomberg, who had some community activist involvement and was able to pull of some absolutely amazing publicity stunts to bring attention to issues.

For example, he publicly threw down the "gauntlet" (i.e. a hockey glove) to the mayor in attempting to set up a debate. The debate never happened, but media talk about the issue of a lack of debate did. A good number of people thought that Tooker was an utter goofball, or that he was not to be taken seriously, or was making a mockery of the process. The point is that the stunts seemed to be the only way that ANY debate happened in that election.

Connecting with alternative media could also be helpful. Certainly, this helped the Gomberg campaign.

Why not look at Gomberg for Mayor to see some of the things that happened here.

One more thing in your favour...your age is a human interest story all by itself. We had a high school student get elected to a school board last time around, and did she ever get media coverage.

But Lastman had an easy time (4.00 / 1) (#24)
by crank42 on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 12:46:38 PM EST

Half the coverage about Gomberg was about how Lastman was obviously the only "serious" choice and how Gomberg was some publicity-seeking P.T. Barnum type. So I don't see that Gomberg's campaign is the one to emulate.

[ Parent ]

Alternatives? (none / 0) (#29)
by reward on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 06:32:53 PM EST

Perhaps this is true... that a good part of the media take was that Mel was the only "serious" candidate for mayor. Under the circumstances, I think that Tooker Gomberg did what he could to get at least some attention paid to issues. Bad publicity is better than no publicity.

In the case of our college undergrad - I think he's going to have a hard time being taken seriously anyhow, but he CAN be noticed.

As for serious alternatives to Mel Lastman - I could not vote for Mel, nobody else was running that was remotely interesting (with perhaps the exception of Enza), so the only real entertainment or discussion for the entire election related to Tooker.

I didn't vote for even one winner. Sigh. The usual. Nobody really seemed all that interested in the west-end-dyke-geek-mom vote. :)

[ Parent ]

Constituencies (none / 0) (#35)
by crank42 on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 05:40:58 PM EST

Nobody really seemed all that interested in the west-end-dyke-geek-mom vote.

Perhaps part of the problem is that constituencies have become so fragmented that one can actually make statements like the above (even in jest). The old CCF was partly successful by building fairly broad compromises. The same can't be said of the current NDP, for instance. Same, for that matter, goes for Jack Layton and others. Maybe we're stuck with Gombergs because we don't have room for real compromise in politics any more; so, the actual compromise (the one no-one really likes, like Mel) is the "inevitable" choice.

[ Parent ]

Election Issues or Election Candidate? (4.25 / 4) (#22)
by CoolArrow on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 12:18:05 PM EST

Just a few items you may or may not have thought about up to this point.

1) Are you really serious about becoming an Elected Official with all rights and responsibilities as such? Or are you really serious about becoming an Election Issues advocate, again with all rights and responsibilities as such? Or are you really serious about both?
Don't let anyone tell you, especially in the state of Texas, that these are one and the same. As an elected official your first role becomes getting reelected in order to assure that the election issues are followed through upon and the issues you've discussed thus far will require more than a single term, to accomplish and maintain.

2) As a TexasEx myself, I can tell you that if noone has yet brought up the tags "student", "undergrad", "inexperienced", "prank/crank/joke", "un-electable", et.al., you can rest assured that these adjectives, and others will be used.
As regards that last adjective in particular, "Un-Electable". Don't buy into that for a single solitary second. Before you let anyone tell you that you are "un-electable", do some research on the Travis County Sheriff's Elections and Jester Hall in the 1970's. You are electable - so the question is once again, as in #1; what is your personal underlying goal here?
I am not being judgemental, about this but I can't really tell at this point from what I've read here.

3) As a native Texan, and resident of Austin and Travis County for much of my life (I'm in Houston currently), take it from me (better yet, go find someone with the same in 3D, who lives there currently). DO NOT under any circumstances think, or allow anyone else to convince you, that you are going to be able to go "mano-et-mano" in a public debate or forum with Mr. Garcia, or any other seasoned local political office holder, and not be in for one "Hell'uva Ride" (if I may be so open).
Further, in the case that you do find yourself in the position of having to debate or otherwise face off your opposition in a public forum, you'd better be damned careful and you'd better be even more damned well prepared, than careful.
I don't have any reason to doubt your personal abilities in that area, however - I don't know you so it's just an observation:
Contrary to public perception as it may or may not be, neither Mr. Garcia nor any other successful public office holder has ever held onto a postion by being uninformed or unintelligent. They may have been that way when they first took office, but they didn't stay that way. This is nothing personal against the councilman by the way. Just make sure that you respect your opponent and your opponents abilities - the results are never pretty for those who make the mistake of not doing so.

On a personal note it's too bad I don't live in Austin right now - I have a great deal of respect for you, as I do anyone who realizes that the best education is experience, and assumes personal responsiblility for attaining their experience/education.
Best Regards,

Give these some thought..... (5.00 / 2) (#26)
by Elkor on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 02:47:11 PM EST

Talk to the third party organizations in your area (Libertarian, Green, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc, etc) and pitch to them for help. If they aren't fronting a candidate for this election, they might be willing to throw in behind you as an independant. Don't commit yourself to any of them, though. As a third party candidate you are "nothing new." As THE third party candidate, though, that is another "uniqueness" point that people can comment on. The more non-Republocrat candidates that get out there, the better for them in the long run.

Is there a Circle K (Service group), Alpha Phi Omega (Service Fraternity) or other service oriented organization on campus? See if they would help you canvas, or put of flyers. They are fond of environmental programs or other issues that help the community, and they are organizations that already spend time on weekends doing tasks to help issues they are concerned about. Do the same for the other colleges in the area.

Need money? Advice? Go to the Alumni House and find out if Alumni services will do fund raising for you. Point out to them that good publicity for you is excellent publicity for THEM. Also, check to see if any of the Alums are in the local political scene. Get in touch with them and hit them up for help/advice.

Talk to the president of the school, see if he/she can offer any advice. Ask if the school would be willing to offer a location for a debate between you and your erstwhile opponent. This gives you a home field advantage, creates an open challenge to the other guy to hype to the paper and gives you a win/win situation. If he turns you down he is "afraid to debate you" and if he shows up he is "treating you as a serious opponent."

DON'T throw a Keg Party to gain popular student support. :) While it is an almost sure fire way to get you support from the fraternities in general, it would give you a negative image from the "concerned parents" who are worried about college drinking and the religious conservatives.

Good luck, and have fun.


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
propaganda campaign HOWTO (none / 0) (#27)
by perdida on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 05:08:37 PM EST

are you trying to win or to put issues on the table? if the latter it's a propaganda campaign. You must, basically, very carefully troll your opponent and the media. Troll, not crapflood. Provoke your opponent and his supporters into talking about that which he does not want to talk about. Force him to take stands on issues he'd rather ignore. Befriend a few journalists by convincing them that you are worth paying attn to and know your shit. Get many volunteers, preferably of the type who have been involved in political activity that includes dramatic media stunts. Attention-grabbing humorous radio ads are your friend. Get a good campaign manager and have him or her effectively utilize volunteer time in canvassing and other activities meant to raise awarenes. Dig up campaign-finance dirt on your opponent and feed it to journalists. Get alternative newspapers to endorse you. Get mainstream papers to endorse you, too. Read them diligently and figure out what issue positions they care about most. I worked for a Green who got endorsed by every major paper including the one in his opponent's hometown, and the dude still lost. Be focused on the issues you want to put out there. Be a huge geek and get all the research, and then soundbite-ify the research. Get on talk radio. All talk radio, especially conservative talk radio. Raise money from dot coms. This works even if you are a conservative. I have a lexis.com id you are welcome to use and get law research from, just send me an email at the address above.
The most adequate archive on the Internet.
I can't shit a hydrogen fuel cell car. -eeee
this was supposed to have spaces (none / 0) (#28)
by perdida on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 05:10:20 PM EST

i put regular text

but it put HTML anyway.

The most adequate archive on the Internet.
I can't shit a hydrogen fuel cell car. -eeee
[ Parent ]
Shameless plugs, and solid advice (5.00 / 1) (#30)
by BOredAtWork on Mon Sep 10, 2001 at 08:14:57 PM EST

First, the shameless plugs for two articles that I've written here. They may or may not be of help, but the comments certainly could be. Read 'em. See if anything fits your situation.

First, I've got a few questions: Do you live there year round? Do you have your own place? If you answer "no" to either of these, you may want to reconsider this whole idea. Someone who spends summers away from the area they claim to want to govern isn't a good candidate. Neither is someone who lives with their parents, OR drunken roommates.

Next, the sage advice, from another undergraduate student with big ideas about how everyone should live their lives ;-). You're gonna need exposure, and shitloads of it at that. Seems to me that you've got two options - solicit volunteers, or cough up some significant amounts of cash. You'll probably need both. Volunteers abound on college campuses - most people our age aren't even registered to vote, let alone politically interested. But the funny thing is, if they see something (read: can be made to see something) as "sticking it to The System", they're happy to take a half hour to march, chant slogans and staple up fliers. Virginia Tech has marches and fliers for everything from human rights, IMF/WB protesting and abolishment of Columbus Day to Goats' Rights (yes, I'm serious - it was one of the biggest and practical jokes I've ever seen. I'm guessing fraternity pledge prank...) Enlist some people to help you *politely* knock on doors, hand out literature at red lights and put up a web site. As for the cash - make some rich friends, and fast. Specifically, find some professionals who have voiced displeasure over something done by "the current system", and ask for their support. Also a good idea - dig through newspaper archives - find the letters to the editor. Anyone willing to pen an old-fashioned letter to complain about something would be a great advocate to have on your side. Find people who have the same views you do, call them, introduce yourself, your ideas, and ask if they'd be willing to support you.

You're also going to have to deal with the "age thing." Us damned kids get no respect. Distance yourself from being a "damned kid." Instead, you're an "entry-level professional" (hopefully you HAVE held a professional job, and can use that...) and an "aspiring professional" and a "future Austin business owner." Your best chance is to reach out to the young and/or disenfranchised, which shouldn't be that hard to do, given the current economy. They're looking for work and worried, you're looking for work and worried. Play that angle up, heavily. Your opponent (from now on, he has no name, and thusly no face or history to associate with it) is set for life, and has lost touch with the majority of his potential constituents. Repeat that until people start remembering it. Then repeat it some more.

Be careful not to slam your opponent. He'll be able to dismiss you out of hand as a "naive student," but you can't return "pompous old fart." Show vast respect for those with more age and experience, and emphasize how you realize you don't have the expertise to run a city single handedly - you'll HAVE to ask the people for their opinions and ideas. Emphasize how your opponent (the nameless, faceless man) won't ask for help, and people have no way of knowing whether their voices will continue to be heard. Experience can be a liability in politics. Use that.

Emphasize that you'll have more time to devote to the job than your opponent. You're single, young and energetic. You'll work tirelessly to serve the people.

Look up your opponent's past voting record. If he's held that seat for long, he'll have quite a nice list of things he's voted on. Look through it, find the inevitable screw-up or favor to a friend, and have someone ELSE leak it. You can't afford to be seen as a juvenile mud slinger, but you can't afford to not take advantage of mistakes your opponent has made in the past.

That's just off the top of my head. More later...

Good Luck (none / 0) (#33)
by QuantumFoam on Wed Sep 12, 2001 at 06:02:46 PM EST

I am also a student at UT-Austin(EE), and I want to congratulate you on running for office, especially for challenging an unchallenged candidate.

I heard something a while back about a local homeless transvestite names Leslie or Lindsey. He was put on the ballot for mayor a while back and actually won a good percentage of the vote, so Austin might not be such a tough nut to crack in an election.

You do go to a school of 50,000 students, and a good portion of these students enjoy political activity. These students would be a great support base for your campiagn. If you can get these students on your side in a sort of grass-roots thing, it might be helpful.

- Barack Obama: Because it will work this time. Honest!

GOV 2001: Intro to Political Races | 35 comments (34 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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