Just finished voting and it felt good; it caused me to reflect back to why it has been so long since going to the polls. Since 2007, I have been overseas on 4 deployments and voted from war zones. One time they could not get the ballots out to us, so we filled out generic ballots. That was in 2008. In 2010 after my second tour in Afghanistan, I returned home for just enough time to enter a race but was back on active duty before election day. I dropped my ballot off at the county recorder’s office before leaving for Fort Leavenworth. More about this race later.
That brings me to today. This is my first time voting at the polls as a Nevada resident. I changed my residency several years ago knowing that I would bring my family to Nevada when I left federal service and the military. Well my goal was to be here for this election and I made it. I plan to be here for many more.
Now diving into this election, I will comment on the Reno Mayor’s race, a race with 18 candidates for Mayor. Unlike other states, the requirement to place your name on the ballot are minimal; no signatures to gather or large payments to file. I believe the Mayor’s race was $30 and a declaration of candidacy.
Watching the mayors race from the outside, I will go out on a limb and project the outcomes. Of the eighteen candidates (actually there are nineteen names on the ballot – one candidate passed away) there are four women and fourteen men. That said there will probably be one female and one male go on the the general election but there could be two females. There will not be two males.
Ray Pezonella was the only candidate to get a mail piece out on the Friday/Saturday before election day. He also ran a race that developed momentum over the last 45 days of his campaign. For this I will give him a high probability of landing in the top two. The other candidate who should land in the top two is Hillary Schieve. She ran a well branded campaign.
Other wildcards and possibilities are: Chuck Reno who has run for office before, ran a good campaign and the name Reno should carry some name ID and additional votes. Eddie Lorton who had early name ID among the insiders was an outsider who sued the city to stop incumbents on council from running, his signage was good. Unfortunately, his campaign had issues with branding consistency and did not get out any mail. Robert Avery ran a high tech race and had consistent branding but used little mail. Masha Berkbigler is well established and had stunning pink signs (this is good). Idora Silver probably walked more houses and worked harder than any candidate.
The bottom line, this offseason primary election will have low turnout. Those who vote are usually older and seldom miss an election. In my eyes the key element to get a candidate elected are first a solid message, second, two to three good targeted mail pieces well timed along with yard signs and solid branding.
Expensive bill boards, TV commercials and other activities that are not targeted don’t get the effects needed to get the message to the voters. Also, spending too much money too ealry on websites and social media don’t get effects in low turnout elections with older voters. Walking helps but without the ability to get the mail out to high propensity voters, walking alone is not enough.
One last thing. The most new and innovative campaign devise was Eddie Lorton’s oversize sun screen car sign. Good Job! Also, low as 16 % to 18 % of the vote could land a candidate in the primary.