Friday, May 12, 2006

Dickerson Gets Help From Tully

When the Star's Matt Tully sits down to write a column, the heart of the politician he's about tell us about must flutter with anxiety. It's either going to be good, or it's going to be bad. If it's the latter, the politician can only hope Tully's having an off-day and the sting of his words doesn't last too long. Today was one of those good days for Rep. Julia Carson's challenger, Eric Dickerson. He's got to be hoping the buzz Tully's column creates for his campaign today lasts for more than just a few days.

Here's a little of what Tully had to say about Dickerson:

Dickerson has everything the GOP could want in a candidate.

He's a black businessman with a great resume. He knows how to reach voters, as proved by his trouncing of former City-County Councilman Ron Franklin in the GOP primary.

And Dickerson has a name everybody knows -- because of years of advertising for his self-titled Buick dealership, and because of that onetime Colt.

"I call it the Eric Dickerson bump," he said of the perception among many that he is the former NFL player. "I don't mind."

But now we come to the tricky part--getting the party which didn't back him in the primary to help him in the November election. Minimizing Dickerson's more than 2-1 win over the GOP-slated candidate Ron Franklin is the state's executive director, Jennifer Hallowell. "Winning a primary is one thing. Beating Julia Carson is another," she tells Tully. Tully continues, "Hallowell said Dickerson has a lot of work to do before national and state Republican parties invest in him. Along with raising money and generating a buzz, Dickerson needs to reach out to Republican Party bosses and volunteers, she said." Thank you Jennifer.

And Tully offers Dickerson some advice from the disastrous county chairman Mike Murphy. County GOP Chairman Mike Murphy said Dickerson must woo the folks who work the polls, put up yard signs and staff phone banks. "Precinct workers, if they are with you, will lay down and die for you," Murphy said. "If they feel you are not interested in them, they'll sit on their hands."

AI has some advice for Dickerson. Whatever you do, don't listen to the local Republicans. First, they don't care to reach out to the voters you're willing to reach out to because they don't want to offend the religious right. Wooing the GLBT community is the last thing they want anyone on their ticket doing.

Secondly, they could care less about your candidacy. They believe interest in your race will only stir up Carson's base to come out and vote, which they believe will hurt the candidacies of other GOP candidates on the ticket.

Finally, if the GOP committee members were actually capable of making a difference, they're going to demonstrate that in the primary where only 15% of the voters bothered to cast a vote. In that test, they couldn't even manage to get 25% of the vote for their own candidate, compared to the more than 50% of the vote you managed to capture in a 4-man race. Franklin couldn't have done worse than, well in Murphy's words, if the precinct workers had just sat on their hands.

AI suspects Dickerson has already figured this out. That's why he didn't waste his time trying to suck up to the party regulars at their slating convention earlier this year.

By the way, Ron Franklin doesn't think much of Murphy and his organization anymore. Tully shares some of Franklin's insight on his failed primary race on his political blog. "I knew the Republican organization was weak compared to in the past, but I didn't know it was that weak," he said. "I don't think the party organization is to the level it needs to be to challenge anyone . . . Franklin said political advisors assured him Dickerson was no real threat, that he didn't need to spend money on TV or radio advertising in the days leading up to the primary. That's hard to believe, as even pontificating pundits around town knew Dickerson was a formidable candidate. And Dickerson's campaign was plenty visible, with advertising and a Mitch Daniels-like RV rolling through town."

Dickerson will do best to maintain independence from the GOP organization. He demonstrated quite ably that he's able to reach out to voters and sell himself without any help from the GOP organization.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dickerson probably outspent Franklin too !