Friend’s-of-Nesi’s-Notes Chris “The Fix” Cillizza and Nathan Gonzales of Rothenberg Political Report have come up with, respectively, 10 immutable rules of politics and 10 things losing candidates say. Both posts are well worth a read, but with Rhode Island heading into a big political year, I thought I’d summarize them:
1. Money is most things … but not everything.
2. No swing voter cares about campaign finance reform.
3. Candidates matter.
4. No politician goes to Iowa by accident. NONE.
5. Saying “no” to a race doesn’t mean you aren’t running.
6. Endorsements (almost) never matter.
7. Negative ads work.
8. All successful candidates use polling.
9. Running for random downballot office ≠ running for major statewide office.
10. Geography matters. A lot.
… and the things losing candidates say …
11. “I’m running a grass-roots campaign.”
12. “The only poll that matters is the poll on Election Day.”
13. “I’m the next [insert big-name politician here].”
14. “I’m not going to run any negative ads.”
15. “I’m not going to accept PAC money.”
16. “My son is running my campaign.”
17. “Money doesn’t win elections, ideas do.”
18. “I’m going to win this race the same way I did when I got elected to the State House.”
19. “People know me.”
20. “My district is different.”
One big takeaway here: don’t listen to anyone who says Gina Raimondo’s money isn’t a big deal. It is. With $2 million in the bank, she can bury Angel Taveras and Lincoln Chafee in negative ads long before the fall campaign draws near – just like Barack Obama did to Mitt Romney. She can also respond to attacks.
People often point out that Frank Caprio spent $2.7 million but came in third in 2010, which is true – if Raimondo runs a terrible campaign, she can spend a lot of money and lose, too. But Chafee spent nearly as much as Caprio ($2.5 million) and won – while a little more money might have won it for John Robitaille. Again, Raimondo’s money does not mean she will win – it just gives her an important advantage in the race.
Or, as former Bruce Sundlun adviser David Preston put it on Twitter recently: “Never heard of ‘too much money’ cited as a campaign problem.”