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Making the Transition from Primary to General Election

Expert Advice from Brandon Moody

It is July, and we are in the middle of an election year. Over half of the states have held their primary and selected their nominees for the general election. As these primaries come to an end, the nominees, and their campaigns, start shifting their focus to the general election, held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

Given this period of transition, I decided to reach out to an old friend and general consultant for another installment of PG’s Expert Advice series. In the first installment, I asked five top GOP consultants to contribute their advice on How to Hire a General Consultant.

Our guest expert and contributor is Brandon Moody of Right Line Communications. Brandon has a wealth of experience that includes stints at the National Republican Congressional Committee and as Chief of Staff work Congressman Sean Duffy along with work on over 100 campaigns.

I have great respect for Brandon and his advice. Continue reading, and you will see why.

PG Guest Expert Brandon Moody

Brandon Moody of Right Line Communications

Here is the question I posed to Brandon:

What should candidates and campaigns be thinking about while making the transition from the primary to the general election?

Here is Brandon’s response:

Good General Consultants will tell you to focus on what’s in front of you and “win the election you’re in.” But often the road to success leads through multiple elections with wildly different audiences. So, assuming you’re just coming out of a successful primary election – congrats! Now it can get difficult. The voters you’re targeting are different, the messages people care about change, and the money and focus is often much bigger and brighter.

Step 1. Plan Early, Know It Will Change. Very rare is the campaign that can continue the exact same strategy in the primary and win the general. So, take the time to assemble the team and re-tool your strategy. Do not wing it.

Make an effort to budget for increased voter contact and increased staff. Your spending should look like a hockey stick – huge spike at the end. Plan for attacks and responses. Project fundraising in realistic Good, Better, Best scenarios. The plans will change, sure, but don’t just keep doing the same old thing. You’re in a completely different campaign now.

Step 2. You’re the nominee, act like it. As the nominee you’ll have greater access to State Party resources, national party resources, joint fundraising opportunities and much more. Embrace that, don’t push it away because they were no help in your primary.

The relationship is different now – that’s a good thing. Make sure your team is prepared to handle those challenges. From press, to fundraising, to statewide voter ID efforts, it moves quickly. Experienced teams can manage the legal hurdles and bureaucratic hurdles to get better and more data, help on polling, on shared field staff, shared fundraising efforts.

"I’ll wager a bunch of people told you 'when you’re the nominee, this will be easy.' They were wrong. It’s always hard." - @brandonjmoody

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The goal of the Party is to elect their nominees. You’re now part of that group so don’t treat them like the enemy. So maybe they’re not your best friends – ok, fair enough. But fully embrace what the organizations committed to electing Republicans can do to help you. Bringing your race from primary organization to general election scale is often done only with Party and National Committee help.

Step 3. Work like no one is going to help you. The above statement and this one are not incongruent – but remember the onus still falls on you to get this done. I’ll wager a bunch of people told you “when you’re the nominee, this will be easy.” They were wrong. It’s always hard.

YES you’ll have some more help, more resources and certainly more prominence, but this is still a campaign that requires your full effort. It is no one’s job but yours to succeed. This is especially true in fundraising for the general election. The money can flow more easily, but the massive amount of work and organization required remains constant.

As the candidate, your responsibility remains Voters, Donors, Media. That’s it. Build the team and the staff you trust can handle the rest so you can celebrate a great victory in November.

Brandon Moody of Right Line Communications Brandon Moody
Founder
Right Line Communications
Twitter |  LinkedIn

 

Feedback

Please join me in thanking Brandon for his contribution. These campaign insights are timely and timeless. Send @ProsperGroup a message and let us know what you think. Also, send us questions you have or suggestions for future editions of Expert Advice.

About The Prosper Group

The Prosper Group is an internationally-recognized, award-winning digital marketing agency headquartered in Indianapolis, specializing in online media, strategy, and fundraising for Republican political candidates, advocacy organizations, associations, and non-profits. The Prosper Group's best-in-industry work has been recognized for awards dozens of times by prestigious organizations such as the American Association of Political Consultants and Campaigns & Elections.

The firm has worked in tandem with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Senator Ted Cruz, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, Congressman Will Hurd, the National Association of Manufacturers, Fox News, and many other candidates and organizations.

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