The Persuasion Game

Kumar Barve’s campaign manager, Seth Maiman, gets the star treatment in the Washington Jewish Week today. The life of the campaign operative is indeed a glamorous one.

a sit-down interview at Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase, where Maiman serves as executive vice president, he says in an unmistakable Brooklyn accent, “campaigns are about persuading voters for a long period of time, and over the course of persuading voters, you identify who your voters are, and at the end — literally in the last few days — you turn your campaign into one get-out-the-vote machine.”

But the nuts and bolts of that persuasive offensive takes time and considerable funds, particularly in a race with five, potentially six, other candidates.
“You have to communicate, you have to raise money, you have to have organization, paid media, free media, go out to the events,” said Maiman.

I’ve known Seth for a good while - we belong to the same synagogue and he’s as sharp as they come in this business. Plus a genuinely nice guy.

As the article notes Seth’s been around politics for a long time. While things have changed in some ways, the same fundamentals still hold true.

Maiman said that getting out the vote is more complicated than it was back then “because you have 10 days of early voting at multiple sites a couple of days before you actually have the election, so a lot of the old ‘get-out-the-vote’ mechanics are now supplemented by this whole early-voting thing.”

Paid media and social media are more prevalent than ever before. The candidates have websites, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. In a crowded race where a candidate could win with “certainly less than 50 percent and more like 30” percent of the vote, chasing down every vote is an imperative, but with a larger electorate comes new challenges.
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“In order to compete on a congressional level — because you just have that many more voters and that more of a national play coming in in terms of fundraising and support — the larger the electorate the less the candidate has the ability to meet everyone and meet everyone individually and the more they have to rely on paid media,” said Maiman.

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