With the elections of 2010 behind us and Thanksgiving fast approaching, the Tulchin Research team wanted to take a moment to thank our clients, friends and vendors as we reflect upon a highly successful cycle for our firm.
After opening our doors in early 2009, we met with a wave of success and were named the top new Democratic political consulting firm of the year by the American Association of Political Consultants. Now, we are proud to report that in a very challenging year for Democrats, Tulchin Research time and again found a way to help our clients win.
We were privileged to poll in a dozen states and deliver real results for our candidate, non-profit, issue advocacy, and corporate clients. We worked on numerous state and local ballot initiatives on a wide range of issues and helped to elect candidates up-and-down the ballot.
Here are some of the highlights from our work in the 2010 election cycle:
- California Lieutenant Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom. We worked with San Francisco’s Mayor in both the primary to capture the Democratic nomination and in the general election to defeat sitting Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado by a convincing margin.
- The California Assembly Democratic Caucus. We worked with Speaker John Perez and the Assembly Democratic Caucus team, polling in competitive races and accurately predicting the outcomes. While Democrats lost nearly 700 state legislative seats nationally this year, California Assembly Democrats instead were the only Caucus program in the country to build upon the gains made in 2008.
- California Assemblyman-Elect Richard Pan (AD 5). In a suburban Republican district never before represented by a Democrat, we worked closely with pediatrician Richard Pan to win come-from-behind victories in both the primary and general elections. We strategically used Dr. Pan’s pro-choice position to defeat conservative Republican Andy Pugno, who served as chief counsel for Proposition 8, California’s anti-gay marriage initiative.
- California State Senator Leland Yee. We’re proud to work with Senator Leland Yee, who soundly won re-election and is currently exploring a 2011 campaign for Mayor of San Francisco.
- Eureka! Additional Golden State Wins. We worked to help re-elect Congressman John Garamendi, Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, and Assemblyman Jose Solorio. And we helped elect to the State Assembly Mike Gatto, Richard Gordon, Roger Hernandez, Ben Hueso, Manuel Perez, and Bob Wieckowski.
- Winning Deep in The Heart Of Texas. In a year where Republicans dominated the ballot box in Texas, Tulchin Research helped to navigate Democrats to success in several important elections.
- We worked with Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins to win re-election, despite being outspent by our Republican opponent.
- We polled for State Representative-Elect Eric Johnson and helped him win an upset victory over an incumbent legislator.
- We helped re-elect State Representative Donna Howard in one of the very few swing districts won by Democrats this year, effectively denying Texas Republicans a 100-seat legislative “supermajority.”
- Democratic Victories in Pennsylvania. In another state where Republicans had a big year, Tulchin Research helped ensure Democratic victories in two key races.
- We worked to re-elect State Representative Matt Bradford in a competitive race in a swing district.
- We continued our work with Ceasefire PA, a statewide gun violence prevention organization, helping to defeat former Assembly Speaker John Perzel and elect Kevin Boyle in one of the few Democratic takeovers in the country.
- Fighting For a Clean, Safe Environment. Tulchin Research was proud to continue our efforts on behalf of environmental causes, working with organizations such as the California League of Conservation Voters, Defenders of Wildlife, Environmental Defense Fund, , the League of Conservation Voters, the National Wildlife Federation, Ocean Champions, and the Sierra Club.
While we of course did not win every race, we wanted to congratulate former Tucson Vice Mayor Rodney Glassman on waging a spirited challenge to U.S. Senator John McCain in Arizona; John White on a strong campaign for Honolulu City Council and a bright future in the state of Hawaii; and finally Bill Hedrick, who received the highest percentage of any Democratic Congressional challenger in California in his campaign against Republican Ken Calvert.
While we had a successful season, we took away several important lessons from this election that we want to share with you:
- With a large and increasing percentage of voters now casting their ballots early, “Election Day” in many states has now become more of a rolling multi-day election where voters make up their mind over the course of that period and cast their votes along the way. It is now imperative to communicate to voters as early as possible before they receive their ballots so you can still influence them prior to them making up their mind.
- As we observed in the primary, negative advertising again proved more effective than positive advertising, with a cynical and angry electorate more receptive to negative arguments and themes than positive ones.
- While the party in power always loses seats in a bad economy (except, it seems, in California), Democrats nationally must do a more effective job of developing a narrative on the economy and channeling voter anger. The electorate is engulfed in populist fervor, which Republicans successfully channeled toward government and Democratic leaders in Washington. To turn things around, Democrats must claim the populist mantle and redirect voter frustration where it belongs – toward the greedy special interests that continue to benefit from politics as usual in Washington while middle class families continue to struggle.
While the challenges Democrats continue to face are real, our experience in 2010 demonstrates that strategic research and a disciplined approach can lead us to victory on Election Day.
We thank all of our clients for the opportunity to work with them this cycle and look forward to an equally successful 2011!
The Tulchin Research Team