2014 Election Recap (Dems are still trying to shake it off)
|It’s been an exciting year at Weathers Corp. We’ve worked with some great candidates and had some incredible victories. We are already beginning to prepare for the 2016 Elections and it looks as if we’ll have a great crop of candidates to work with.This was definitely the year of digital for campaigns. Digital will continue to play an ever increasing importance in each future election. Campaigns that do not commit the proper resources for their online presence (this includes digital targeting) in future elections will continue to have a hard time. Times have changed and so have the tools we use to communicate with. We have reached the point where nearly 50% of emails are opened on a mobile device and social media has become a must for all campaigns. We have had the ability to work with many forward thinking clients who have allowed us to implement many digital tools on their behalf during the past election cycle and the results were incredible.
Republicans had a great night on Tuesday
Nationally, we took back control of the US Senate. Grew our majority in the US House of Representatives. Elise Stefanik became the youngest female to ever be elected to Congress and also the first Republican elected from NY-21. Tim Scott became the first black Republican elected to the US Senate. Republican Shelly Capito became the first female Senator from West Virginia. Mia Love is the first black Republican female elected to Congress. And depending on the final vote count that is still being tallied in California’s 52nd Congressional District, we may have elected the first openly gay Republican to Congress.It’s an exciting time to be a Republican. I believe the future is very bright for the GOP. If we can control ourselves from self destructing from within, we can accomplish a lot in the coming years. Unfortunately, we also suffered a terrible loss this year:
THE UNEXPECTED DEATH OF REPRESENTATIVE-ELECT MICHAEL BROWN (HD-98)
Before getting into other races I would like to acknowledge one of our clients from the Primary Election. Michael Brown ran for State House to fill the vacated seat of Representative Josh Clark (HD-98) and won in an overwhelming landslide with 61% of the vote to his opponents 39%. Michael was unopposed in the General Election and was set to take office in January. Sadly, Michael passed away of natural causes during August of this year – before taking his seat in the Georgia State House of Representatives. We mourn for his loss and our hearts go out to his family. He was a well respected and loved member of the community, as was evident by the standing room only funeral held the following week.
The unexpected nature of Michael’s loss and his young age firmly reminded me that we never know when our time is up here on earth. We could all spend a little more time with family. A little more time playing trains with our 2-year-old. A little more time spent with our grandparents. I am guilty of not doing these things enough myself but Michael’s passing gave me a very real appreciation for the ability to get down on the floor to play with my son. It seems it always takes a tragedy to see these things. RIP Micheal Brown.
THE STATE SENATE RACE OF STATE SENATE RACES: OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE CHARACTER ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON SENATE CANDIDATE MICHAEL WILLIAMS
In Forsyth County we had the honor of working with Michael Williams who challenged (and beat) long-time incumbent, State Senator Jack Murphy. The race was an all out brawl with some of the nastiest and most repulsive attacks I have ever witnessed against a State Senate candidate. Jim Galloway of the AJC described the race as,
It was also the single most expensive State Senate race in Georgia during the 2014 Primary. Outside groups spent considerable money on the race attacking Williams or otherwise supporting Murphy.
Fortunately, the voters of District 27 saw through the lies and attack ads and elected Michael Williams in an overwhelming landslide victory during the Runoff Election on July 22nd. Williams garnered 66% of the vote to Murphy’s 34%.
During the course of the campaign Michael received the unwavering support and endorsement of WSB Talk Radio Show Host, Erick Erickson. Erickson headlined fundraisers and was a force to be reckoned with on the airwaves as he took on many of the false attacks launched against Michael during the campaign. Erickson lead the effort exposing the Chamber of Commerce backed PAC, Georgia Coalition for Job Creation‘s particularly nasty false attacks against Michael. His support was indispensable to the campaign and I will be forever grateful. It’s also worth mentioning that during the 2014 Election cycle Erickson helped to usher in many new Conservative candidates to office with his personal endorsements and support.
INTERESTING STATS FROM GA SENATE DISTRICT 27 (FORSYTH COUNTY)
– Williams won the Primary Runoff Election by more votes (10,800) with the highest percentage of votes (66%) than any other Georgia State Senate candidate in 2014.
– Williams won every precinct in his district during the Runoff Election including the incumbents home district.
– Statewide Primary Runoff Election voters decreased to only 49% of the original number of voters in the May 20th Primary. Shockingly, Senate District 27 voted 87% of the total number of voters in the Primary.
– Williams received 49,583 votes in the November 4th General Election. The second highest number of votes received by any State Senator in Georgia.
WHAT DOES A STATE HOUSE SPECIAL ELECTION AND DUCK DYNASTY HAVE IN COMMON?
A Special Election was called for February 2014 to fill the vacated seat of State House Representative Jay Neal in District 2. Steve Tarvin was 1 of 3 eventual candidates to enter the race. We were excited at the opportunity to represent Tarvin in the race. In the Special Election Tarvin received the highest number of votes yet was shy of the 50% +1 needed to win. A runoff was required.
Where does Duck Dynasty come into this?
You may recall the controversy earlier this year when Phil Robertson, one of the stars of Duck Dynasty, was fired from A&E over controversial statements made off-air. We took this current event and incorporated it into the campaign with a clever mailer (right) that showed support for Robertson’s 1st Amendment Rights. The mailer went on to be one of the most successful and talked about political direct mail pieces we have ever sent. The positive voter response was off the charts and we believe a turning point for the campaign helping to pushed Tarvin ahead and on to victory.
Tarvin soundly won the Special Election runoff with 54% of the vote to his opponents 46%.
Tarvin was opposed once again 3 months later in the May 20th Republican Primary by 2 challengers. The Primary Election was fairly uneventful and State Representative Steve Tarvin soundly won re-election with nearly 66% of the vote to a combined 34% between the opposition.
HOUSE DISTRICT 2 ELECTION STATS
– Voter turnout increased during the Special Election runoff by 27%. This is unheard of in runoff Elections. Typically a runoff experiences a dramatic decrease in voter participation. To make a comparison, statewide voter turnout was down 61% in the 2014 Primary Election runoff.
– Tarvin was outspent by his opponent in the Special Election by a 2-1 margin.
OTHER CAMPAIGN HIGHLIGHTS
Ashley Bell is a former Hall County Commissioner who ran for Georgia State School Superintendent but unfortunately came up short on Election Night. The race was a 9 person Republican Primary and despite being heavily outspent, Bell came within 8500 votes of making the runoff out of 468,481 voters.
I’m confident Ashley Bell has a very bright future in politics and I look forward to his next foray into the political field.
Congressman Rob Woodall of the 7th Congressional District soundly won re-election with 66% of the vote to his Democrat opponents 34%.
2016 here we come! Check back soon as I will be posting more posts like the one you have just read – hopefully a little shorter!
Thanks for reading,
M. Seth Weathers