Last week Reince Preibus, Chariman of the RNC, published a report on the big loss of 2012 to President Obama. Mr. Preibus made the rounds on some television shows and discussed the findings of the report. I wanted to give my view of a couple issues I witnessed as a member of staff on the campaign of the Republican nominee for New Hampshire Governor. While I was not part of the Romney campaign, the two campaigns coordinated at several events, and I saw worrying aspects of the Romney campaign.
The first problem of the Romney campaign was Romney. Many people knew that he was not the ideal candidate to beat President Obama. One of the most important issues was Obamacare, and Romney had put in place a plan in Massachusetts with similarities to the “Affordable” Care Act. Saying this was a state issue and that he wouldn’t have put something like it in place for the country as President was insufficient. The similarities between the plans were raised during the primaries, and the result was the rise of almost every Republican candidate. Unfortunately, we did not stick with one of them, and Romney’s rock-solid 24% carried him to victory in the primaries.
The second problem of the Romney campaign was the campaign. New Hampshire is a small state: 1.4 million people. It is 20th in population density as well, so there was not an inordinate amount of land to cover either. The first part of the campaign’s difficulties came from the number of Romney offices in New Hampshire compared to the number of Obama offices: about seven offices to well over thirty offices. If you want people to volunteer, it’s helpful to have an office near them.
Another part of the campaign’s problem in New Hampshire was a lack of urgency from the top. For months, volunteers for the Ovide campaign were begging us for Romney signs, and we were in the Governor’s race! While I don’t place a great deal of importance on signage, signs do show support for a candidate, and this surely influences voters who are on the fence or who are uninformed.
We nominated a businessman, and he was running against Barack Obama! This would have been a good time to pull out all the stops. We knew Mitt Romney was our candidate in April of 2012, yet we had a major deficiency of signs! Why were there virtually no signs to be distributed in the beginning of October? When the campaign did receive signs, there were still not enough. Candidates are supposed to be able to manage campaign, even if it is through managing their campaign managers. Mitt Romney is a businessman, but his management skills did not translate to his campaign in New Hampshire, and I assume this was only one example of the lack of effective management of campaigns in many states.