Recent Articles

What’s missing in most political party fundraising?

Posted by Ron Nehring in Developments on April 23, 2013 with No Comments

Pol Tech Series

by Ron Nehring

It turns out that not all political fundraising is the same, and the failure to understand the differences can cost a political party substantial donor support.

At last month’s International School of Fundraising in London I was asked to present on a very specific topic: what’s the difference between political party and candidate fundraising, and why does it matter?    The difference is often not well understood, but the impact on the bottom line can be enormous.

Political parties and candidates are closely related – they’re both focused on elections, staff move back and forth, and there’s a level of mutual influence.  But where fundraising is concerned, the similarity ends there.

Every  candidate campaign is a startup: it’s formed, it wages a campaign focused on getting one person past the post on Election Day, and then it shuts down.  By contrast, political parties are ongoing concerns.  The party has bills to pay in December while the candidates have moved on elsewhere.
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Nominate the Most Conservative, or the Most Viable Conservative?

Posted by Ron Nehring in Developments on March 15, 2013 with No Comments

CPAC Panel Red

Remarks by Ron Nehring at CPAC 2013

Today our focus is how conservatives and Republicans should go about choosing the best candidates for public office in the months and years ahead.

I reject the notion that, everything else being equal, a candidate becomes more electable as they move further to the left.  Rudy Giuliani and Richard Riordan were elected Republican mayors of heavily Democratic cities, defeating candidates who were more liberal and ideologically closer to their constituents.

Philosophy is very important, and for many people drawn to the conservative movement, it is the most important quality in a candidate.  But philosophy is only one of several factors that contribute to a candidate’s overall strength or weakness on the battlefield.  Philosophy, competency, the candidate’s personal narrative, and external political environment are all wheels that spin independently of one another, yet all directly influence the outcome.

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Five Big Voter Trends (Too Many) Campaigns Are Missing

Posted by Ron Nehring in Developments on March 8, 2013 with No Comments

Voter behavior project

by Ron NehringSocial channels

Americans are dramatically changing the way they receive and value information, and Republican leaders need to shift their communications strategies to match or else risk having their messages heard by a diminishing number of voters.

The shift involves not only where voters are turning for news and information, but also which sources they value.  Recent election results underscore the need for Republican candidates, elected officials, consultants and campaign managers to adapt.  It’s a process that’s more difficult than it may appear at first glance.

Let’s have a look at the data.

Trend #1: Voters are turning away from traditional media outlets like TV and newspapers and toward Internet and social sources.  This trend is reflected among all age groups, with voters under 30 leading the way.  In 2001, only 18% of voters under 30 considered the Internet to be a primary news source.  Now, it’s 65%.  Here are the numbers from the Pew Research Center:
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Eight Rookie Mistakes to Avoid on the Campaign Trail

Posted by Ron Nehring in Noteworthy on March 4, 2013 with No Comments


by Ron Nehring

If you’re doing your job as a candidate or party leader, you’re going out speaking with a lot of people you haven’t met before.  When they don’t know much about you, it’s human nature to make quick judgments based on what little information they do have.

First time candidates, particularly for local office, often send signals that undermine credibility among potential supporters, costing them votes, volunteers, donations, or all three.

People make decisions based on cues and signals, and initial impressions can have a lasting impact.  Here are eight unforced errors you can easily avoid.

Loner = loser.  Speaking at the Chamber of Commerce lunch?  Showing up by yourself tells everyone you have no supporters in the room.  Instead, arrive with a volunteer whose job it is to accompany you while you’re chatting with people, helping in taking down notes for follow up, and carrying endorsement cards.  When working a crowd and confronted with that weirdo who wants to chew your ear off about privatizing sidewalks, have your body man leading you, setting up the next person to talk to, and politely motioning you to the next person when he sees you’re pinned down. Bonus: Let a member of the group you’re speaking to know you’re coming, and have him meet you at the door when you arrive and walk in together to show other members you have support already.

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How to Measure a Party Chairman’s Success

Posted by Ron Nehring in Noteworthy on February 24, 2013 with No Comments


by Ron Nehring in the Flashreport

State Republican committees across the country are electing new leaders and Republicans are looking for those who will lead the party to victory in 2014.

It’s helpful for interested Republicans to understand just what a party Chairman can control and influence so that expectations can be realistic and two years from now people can accurately  judge whether the new Chairman has been successful.

Put another way, if you’re going to measure success, you need the right ruler.

There are many ways to judge a Chairman’s tenure, and most of the popular metrics are absolutely wrong.

A party chairman, like any other leader, can be held accountable only for performance in those areas under the chairman’s control.  It’s neither fair nor accurate to gauge a chairman’s success by developments – good or bad – that he cannot directly influence.

The most common erroneous measurement of a party chairman’s success is whether he “won elections.”  It’s a common mistake based on an assumption that a party chairman controls far more than he really does.

Read this complete article on the Flashreport

Five steps to building a winning Republican culture

Posted by Ron Nehring in Developments on February 22, 2013 with No Comments


by Ron Nehring

In business and politics, the difference between growth and decline can often be traced to differences in culture.

Good executives understand this, which is why in highly competitive environments like Silicon Valley, CEO’s and their leadership teams expend enormous resources creating the kind of culture where people, and the company, can excel.

Politics isn’t dominated by people who have gone to the political equivalent of business school to learn the importance of a corporate culture.  Campaigns and political parties are led by politicians and volunteers, creating a premium on sharing ideas and best practices among leaders.  Degrees in political science and government have more to do with learning about the legislative process and federalism than building and leading successful organizations.

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Everyone’s a Strategist

Posted by Ron Nehring in Noteworthy on February 9, 2013 with No Comments

Strategy is most alluring facet of corporate and political campaigns.  Most politicos who manage to get on cable TV news programs take on the title of “strategist.”  No one wants to be the “manager,” “organizer” or “communications director.”  In politics, strategy is sexy.

Strategy is important.  But campaigns and organizations put themselves at a disadvantage when they fail to equally value three other facets: organization, communications, and infrastructure.  These components are necessary to move a strategy from theory to practice.

Organization is the structuring and population of groups of people and resources.  Organization requires management, leadership, lines of authority, accountability, people, money, improvement cycles, and more.  This doesn’t sound very cool in a Fox News interview, but it’s vital for being able to harness people and money and channel these resources into action.

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Think Majority

Posted by Ron Nehring in Noteworthy on February 5, 2013 with No Comments

MajorityThe Republican Party’s highest priority following the 2012 election must be the building of a governing majority that can successfully put Republican ideas into action to the benefit of all Americans.

Such a strategy can be summed up this way: Think Majority.

Thoughts precede action, and so to take actions necessary to become a majority first requires an internal commitment to build upon what we have accomplished, to reach people who are not yet with us, and to successfully persuade many of them to trust our party to lead.

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The California Exodus

Posted by Ron Nehring in Noteworthy on February 5, 2013 with No Comments

Manhattan Institute Looks at Why So Many People Are Leaving

Actions have consequences, and an opportunity deficit in California is driving an increasing number of Californians to move out of state. Their top destinations: Texas, Arizona, and Nevada.

The Manhattan Institute’s Tom Gray and Robert Scardamalia performed an exhaustive analysis of available data to examine the causes and nature of what is being called the California Exodus.

One might wonder how an exodus can be taking place when California’s total population is rising or stable.  The only reason the state’s population has not fallen in real terms since 2000 is immigration from other countries.  Net domestic migration (people moving within the United States) continues to be negative for California.

The trap set for self-funding Republicans

Posted by Ron Nehring in Developments on January 13, 2013 with No Comments

The Washington Examiner

Washington Examiner op-ed describes how opponents tear down some GOP nominees

Ron Nehring in the Washington Examiner
Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Elected officials aren’t just powerful for the offices they win. They are leaders of their own political enterprises, too. They have donors, volunteers, supporters, access to the news media and existing recognition from their previous campaigns. The existence of these enterprises helps make for high re-election rates among incumbents.

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