Estabrooking with tradition

PoliticsNJ has been reporting that Mrs. Anne Evans Estabrook, a wealthy businesswoman from Summit, has taken the initial steps to explore a candidacy for the United States Senate.

I would like to tell Mrs. Estabrook: running a statewide race is not easy and takes a great deal of planning, but if you begin immediately you have my full support as you seek the Republican nomination for the US Senate - in 2012.

Potential US Senate candidate Anne Evans EstabrookIf you think you can mount a successful statewide campaign in 2008, however, then all I can say is that I hope you own some stock in Jamestown Associates, because absent a Rudy Giuliani landslide (you're welcome to stake your political career on that if you wish...), a previously unknown political quantity like yourself is simply not going to mount a successful statewide campaign in 20 months - I don't care how many of your millions Larry Weitzner tells you he can waste.

You need to do things differently and break with the traditional approach of multi-millionaire GOP candidates that has failed in recent years. Here's what I would advise you to do beginning immediately to run an effective, dynamic, and compelling statewide candidacy that will result in your being sworn in as a Republican US Senator in January of 2013: (continued...)

  1. Thank Weitzner for his service and tell him you'll give him a call in 2011 when you're ready to start thinking about TV - because you the only way you're going to win is to build up an unstoppable grassroots game, and Jamestown Associates is not the right match for such a task. Also tell Weitzner that, at that time, you'll be shopping for the best-price media buys around the country, and that if the best he can do is the "Subpoena Salsa", he shouldn't bother.
  2. On that note, scout out the College Republican class of 2007 and hire a ball of energy who will work full-time on building you a statewide grassroots organization. You can pay this person peanuts to be your point of contact with Republican leaders at the municipal level, who will coordinate your appearances at Republican clubs in all 21 counties starting immediately. You will stump for Republican candidates as a surrogate speaker year in and year out until you seem like a fixture at Republican events.

    You need to know off the top of your head the Freeholder candidates in each county, and you need to walk door-to-door with them. Ditto for Republican municipal candidates in key towns/districts that could swing either way. Start this summer by getting personally involved with campaigns in Assembly districts 1, 2, 12, and 38. Activists need to know you and believe in their hearts that you have labored for the Republican Party if they are going to be compelled to work for you when you finally do announce your candidacy. And for heaven's sake, do NOT write any more checks to Democrat candidates like Bob Menendez!

  3. Immediately purchase subscriptions to Human Events, The American Conservative, Chronicles, and National Review. Read each issue in detail and quote from them regularly, so that you don't have another "D'Oh!" moment when a journalist asks you about touchy and crucial subjects like Iraq. ("no comment"...Anne, are you serious?)
  4. Create a Political Action Committee devoted to rebuilding the Republican Party in the urban areas of New Jersey, with a special focus on recruiting Latino candidates. Doug Forrester attempted this approach with his PAC called "Liberty and Prosperity for All", but he didn't have enough time to develop the concept or make its impact felt. You need to spend the next 4 years changing the playing field, because currently, 30% of the residents of New Jersey live in areas where the Republican Party is essentially non-existent.

    People often think they can win a statewide race like Jon Corzine did - by buying the party infrastructure. Sounds great, but the difference is that the Democrats actually had an infrastructure to buy! We, sadly, do not. So you need to autonomously sponsor the rebuilding of the Republican Party in New Jersey's cities and make the GOP viable in Latino neighborhoods. It will be hard work and it will be expensive, and if you start yesterday, we might have a machine up-and-running in 5 years.

  5. Call each and every GOP County Chair with an invitation for a get-to-know lunch. It's not good when the likes of Morris County Chairman John Sette say that they don't even know who you are, and Larry Weitzner is returning phone calls on your behalf. You need the buy-in of these key power brokers into your 5-year plan as well as their blessing to structure your campaign around a county-by-county party building effort led by your PAC. The County Chairs need to respect your grasp of strategy and fear your political prowess, even if they don't agree with you or like your profile. They need to consider you as a serious candidate on a mission to WIN, not just a cash machine that they can use and abuse until you lose.
  6. Create a website and a blog that basically takes on the responsibility that the newspapers have largely shirked - informing the public about how NJ government at the State and County levels is robbing them blind. A bit like my blog, statewide, with less sarcasm, and a big budget that will allow you to blast emails to tens of thousands of registered voters, plus direct mail to drive web traffic amongst 4/4 general election Republican and Undeclared voters under the age of 40 to start, expanding upwards.

    You could do this in a non-partisan manner designed to get your name and essentially a sound Republican platform in front of the eyes of any citizen who cares to discover. If your message is concise and well-packaged and locally customized, people will spread the word. You need to be at the crest of the technology wave as far as political activism goes - that will be the edge that pushes you over the top in 2012. Campaigns are different today than they were 5 years ago (the impact of blogs as one example, YouTube as another - just ask Tom Kean, Jr. about that) and they will be different in 5 years when you will be ready to run.

    On the back of this, become a regularly published editorial writer in all of NJ's dailies, and have your CR staffer send letters to the editor to every weekly local paper in the state ad nauseum. When you are ready to launch your candidacy, lots and lots of people will know you and trust you.
  7. Make sure everybody sees you as extremely smart, professional, technocratic, and well-informed, but at the same time always be a regular gal. You are running in New Jersey, the home state of Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and Sinatra. March in all the ethnic parades. Eat at little Mexican joints in Passaic and know exactly which booth on each boardwalk down the shore makes the best funnel cakes, for example. Memorize the starting lineups for every regional professional sports team.
All of this represents a TON of work, but if you want to be admitted to the world's most exclusive club, this is the price, Anne. You are a successful businesswoman, so you know that there's no free lunch. Don't let Larry Weitzner convince you otherwise.

As far as 2008 goes, yes, there is the possibility that Rudy Giuliani gets the nomination and his coattails in New Jersey will overcome Frank Lautenberg, but those odds are better suited to previously elected and respected Republicans like Bill Baroni, Joe Pennacchio, or Michael Doherty. Given the short time frame, however, I think the pre-existing name recognition of former Yankees/Mets pitcher Al Leiter makes him a very intriguing candidate for statewide office in 2008.


Leiter for Senate said...

I received an e-mail yesterday that Al Leiter will be at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Secaucus for an autograph signing on Sunday, May 19th.

This wreaks of opportunity!


Daniel Beckelman said...

I like everything you said, except about paying a CR staffer peanuts, some of us are worth more some $$$.

Anyway, I liked your point about building the GOP in urban areas. After all, Ronald Reagan won Hudson County in 1984 and George HW Bush won Passaic County in 1992 (while LOSING the nation). Certainly the fact that the legislature lacks a lot of conservative Democrats from "red" Jersey means that they are doing things that go against the strong family values of Black and Latino voters. Moreover, the Democrats' tax policies are driving investment from their neighborhoods. We cannot let these voters be subjugated to the whims of Democrat demagogues like Ray Lesniak and Wilfredo Caraballo any longer.

thelucidlibertarian said...

I'd have to agree with Beckelman here. One can not pay peanuts and expect successful results in return. Perhaps you can pay a college kid less than a graduate, but coordinating campaign appearances in 21 counties statewide is no easy task.

George, you are right on this however - no one ever said winning a statewide race was easy, or cheap. NY Senator Chuck Schumer tells an interesting story in his new book that when he decided he would run for the senate and give up his congressional seat, he could not find anyone who would work as his campaign manager for less than $20,000 a month. In addition, he also hired a full time policy director, field director, and press secretary.

George Ajjan said...

guys, let's define peanuts.

How much would you imagine that college grad and political junkie would make to run a statewide grassroots effort? I'm interested to hear numbers.

How would your number compare to the money someone like Estabrook would pay Larry Weitzner?

If someone wanted to be a serious political operative, it's a dream job and the rolodex of politicos one would walk away with would be an added bonus.

thelucidlibertarian said...

College Republican maybe $500 a week (only because he/she probably would be doing it part-time). A Professional, full-time, statewide coordinator/field director I'd venture at least $1,200 a week, plus expenses for travel, gas, and the like.

21 counties and 566 municipalities = an awful lot of potential events and meet & greets to attend.

George Ajjan said...

Just for perspective, the average starting salary for TCNJ graduates in 2005 was about $40K.

Nationally, political science grads averaged just over $32K.

I had colleagues from NRCC "candidate school" who hired political science grads for less than that.

But then again, in other states candidates don't hold fundraisers where they waste 35% of the take at the Brownstone/Macalusos/Michelle's etc.

Adam said...

People, I think the bigger point here is that we need to build a party in many areas of the state. It is a great challenge for someone who loves politics and policy. We need to recruit more Blacks and Latinos, but we need to have a reason for them to want to join us. And i'll tell you a 2000 dollar fundraiser is not it.

Gov. Tom Kean began this in the 80s, and we should learn from his races and begin to BUILD. It won't take days, weeks, or even years..its going to take several elections and many many years. So, lets keep our eye on the ball and think of ways to begin again building the Grand Old Party.

In that light I would have an idea...make sure that elected offcials and ones who seek office understand Latinos. We are a population not to different from the general market, but come on guys we are smarter than talking about Castro and immigration. We care about the economy, health care, education, Iraq. No GOP statewide candidate will ever win NJ without a REAL Latino outreach.

So George, I think it goes beyond money and it boils down to being a smart candidate and knowing who you need in order to win.

Add el diario to the list of reading material. And for those that want to push Enlgish only (and I agree with the fact that people should know English) that does not mea victory which to me is the end goal.

And you can find people that care and want to help....for FREE!

Anonymous said...

That survey does not detail what professions the individuals worked in with thier degrees. $32K a year is okay if you are working for a company that provides benefits like insurance, healthcare, 401K, etc., but consultants who normally have to pay all expenses out of pocket would be living pretty conservatively on that salary. It's exactly why people complain about what teachers and police make starting out. They deserve better.

George is correct as far as the fundraisers go however. Fundraisers should be held at the homes of constituents or maybe at a small lounge somewhere. All you need are a few bottles of wine and that 35 percent wasted could instead go to pay campaign staff and for more advertising.

Arthur Soto said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Adam. If the GOP is going to have a real future in NJ and esp in Passaic County, we will need to have a continuous dialogue with the Latino community. With the current Passaic County leadership of Scott Rumana, I honestly believe that they understand this and are moving forward engaging traditional GOP voters along with Latinos, African-Americans and urban voters.

Strategy is important. Witness Gary Schaer's recent victory in the Passaic municipal elections. Mr. Schaer, an Orthodox Jew who is also an assemblyman representing the 36th District, sent out 3 mailers in the span of 7 days prior to the election all of which had the following characteristics: they were written in English and Spanish, featured pictures of Latinos in the community and most importantly, spoke to issues of urban importance. Taxes and corruption are important issues but so are affordable housing, crime, schools and gang violence. The GOP needs to find a stand on these issues that resonates with urban voters. Oh, and by the way, Schaer won the municipal election placing first. Even if you were to factor out the heavily Jewish 3rd Ward, Schaer would still have won garnering 3rd place.

thelucidlibertarian said...

Arthur Soto is right. In order for the GOP to be effective, I too believe that they must run on a broader platform than simply "we'll keep your taxes low." GOP candidates must articulate clear policy goals related to things like: crime, housing, schools, drug laws, state government reform, public health, and on and on.