What really happened in CT Senate and MI-7?

The “insurgents” ran very good campaigns. But we learn very different things from them. First, CT Senate.

Ned Lamont, the darling of the lefty blogosphere, had a lot of good campaign ideas. People have talked about all the blog stuff and YouTube stuff (NPR/Slate on this). But, perhaps more to the point, he ran a great ground game. WaPo has the full story (H/T: Matt Lewis). Some tasty bits:

One early move was to launch a primitive Web page seeking 1,000 volunteers in all 169 of the state’s municipalities, building on the strength of local Democratic organizations. They began a voter-history project to track down people who voted in every obscure local primary and referendum — information that was not available in statewide rolls.

And they borrowed Dean/MoveOn strategies:

“Their voting techniques are on the cutting edge of politics,” said Matzzie, whose organization, MoveOn.org, is a pioneer of the house-party model.

In other words, the insurgent ran an incredible grassroots campaign utilizing all the tools of modern campaigning. At the same time Lieberman tried to sleep walk to reelection. Lieberman even sat on $2m. That money might have been able to produce another 10,000 votes.

As for MI-7, Walberg also ran a great campaign. We know less about his campaign, but Hotlineblog gives us a morsel. They used careful (modern) targeting software to identify precincts and voters. And then Walberg, the former minister, got the RTLers, homeschoolers, etc. out to actually ID the voters. At the same time, Schwarz, by all appearances, ran a lousy campaign. He had virtually no ground game. There are news reports that he spent a lot of money upfront on mailers that were not that effective.

At the same time, everyone has to ask a question about Schwarz. Could he have found another 4,000 votes in this district if he had the organization to do it? I cannot imagine that the answer is “no”. But he didn’t.

What is the lesson in this? In CT, a well-armed insurgent was able to defeat a complacent incumbent. In MI, a complacent incumbent never got his campaign off the ground.