Each campaign cycle is a learning experience because no cycle is exactly like the previous. Why? The intangibles: the political environment, the complexion of the electorate on Election Day, resources and the ever increasing role of third party groups.
Consider the five recent campaign cycles; the blow out cycles for the Democrats in 2006 and 2008 and the GOP 2010 and 2014. The 2012 Obama coalition cycle benefitted Democrats down the ballot because Obama and his team controlled the narrative and positively impacted minority voter turnout; this discounted Republican conventional wisdom that Independents would be the controlling factor in the race.
At DMS+C, we are proud of our consistent record winning competitive statewide races in cycles good and bad. AS far back as Clinton’s domination over Bob Dole in the ’96 cycle, we more recently helped Chuck Hagel become the first Republican in thirty years to win a Nebraska Senate seat defeating the heavily favored Governor Ben Nelson. When Newt Gingrich’s Monica Lewinsky strategy hurt Republicans down the ballot in ‘98, we helped Jim Bunning of Kentucky win the toughest Senate race in the country and Ben Night Horse Campbell secure victory in Colorado after switching parties.
Despite the dismal 2006 GOP cycle, we helped Jon Kyl of Arizona be the only Republican to win a competitive Senate race after one national pollster in early October predicted his defeat. The four other GOP Senators up for re-election in competitive races were all defeated.
In the 2008 Obama blow out over John McCain we helped the GOP win their only Senate open seat of the cycle with Mike Johanns in Nebraska.
In 2012 we worked with Deb Fischer in her stunning Senate upset against two heavily favored primary opponents, ending the political career of the previously undefeated Nebraska political icon Bob Kerrey while GOP Senate candidates were losing across the country. We also helped Pat McCrory end a twenty-year Republican drought by helping him win the North Carolina governorship.
So how did our DMS+C fare in 2014, a GOP blow out cycle?
Alabama: Senator Jeff Sessions won his fourth term and his October advertising campaign helped generate turnout for Republicans down the ticket in Alabama.
North Carolina: Our work for American Crossroads GPS’s significant advertising campaign promoting the election of Thom Tillis and the defeat of incumbent Senator Kay Hagen proved pivotal in one the bigger upsets of the ’14 cycle.
Georgia: DMS+C’s advertising campaign for Citizens for a Working America helped David Perdue win a crowded Georgia Senate primary, overcoming an 11% deficit to the establishment favored Jack Kingston to become Georgia’s next Republican Senator.
Virginia: In one of the most watched battles on election night, we had the privilege of working with Ed Gillespie in his near upset of heavily favored Mark Warner. Ed was one the best candidates of the cycle; despite being out spent on TV by over five million dollars, Ed came within .006% votes of victory.
Massachusetts: DMS+C’s early campaign strategy and positioning of Charlie Baker in the governor’s race and our initial campaign advertising hailed by The Boston Globe, helped Baker defeat a Tea Party candidate in the primary and put a 2010 loss to Devel Patrick behind him defeating Martha Coakley.
Arizona: DMS+C headed up the Republican Governors Association (RGA) 5 million dollar campaign in support of Doug Ducey’s victory in Arizona.
Iowa: Our work defining Terry Branstad’s opponent Jack Hatch helped Branstad secure another victory.
Oklahoma: DMS+C worked with the RGA in support of Governor Mary Fallin’s reelection victory.
Nebraska: With five weeks to go in the primary, Pete Ricketts trailed Attorney General Jon Bruning for the GOP nomination. We helped devise a media campaign that defined Bruning’s records on taxes, Obamacare and illegal immigration. Ricketts squeaked out a primary victory and won the general election.
Nebraska: We had the honor to work with Congressman Adrian Smith in his primary and general election victory in Nebraska’s 3rd district.
Missouri: We again worked with Congressman Sam Graves in his reelection victory in Missouri’s 6th district.
Alabama: The Porach Indian Tribe made Attorney General Luther Strange their target launching a two million dollar media campaign to defeat him and elect Joe Hubbard. Luther’s media campaign fought back and helped him achieve a 19% landslide victory.
Arizona: We led the Republican Attorneys General Association’s three million dollar media campaign to help Mark Brnovich win an upset victory for Attorney General of Arizona.