Thank you for visiting the City Campaigner blog! Building this site has been a great experience. I have made a lot of new friends and had some great opportunities.
It’s been a month since the 2014 Ontario Provincial Election and awhile since I posted to this site. Recently, I was celebrating a great election with a two-week vacation in and around Rio De Janeiro. If you have not been to Brazil I highly recommend it.
I want to share with you a new direction for City Campaigner. The easiest way to do that is start with what it was, what has happened and where it is going.
The Original Vision
The original plan for this site was to provide some free advice and resources to municipal election candidates while I virtually managed some campaigns for a fee. I set up a membership portal where I assumed I could scale campaign management, providing detailed advice online and complementing it with some custom work like budgets and database set-up. Unfortunately, that really does not work for campaign management. I can scale providing certain services or teaching specific things but start to finish campaign management is far too unique from candidate to candidate.
What Actually Happened
Things started off slowly in 2014 and then around August the Ontario Municipal Election craziness started. It seemed all of my candidates where starting on the same day and needed everything right away. I agreed, as I was pushing some of them to start as early as the spring. I wanted to help these people first as they were my family (like my sister Lynn who decided in the end not to run), my friends (like Councillor Arif Khan) and my paying customers. Obviously, with my time already over-stretched, something had to give, so updating this site with free content was it.
In the end I buckled down and really helped six candidates. Some got a lot more help than others. This unbalanced help came because some knew more than others (incumbents vs. challengers) and some were in tighter races than others. I do wish I could have helped people more but time just slipped away. However, in the end this approach worked for everyone. I am happy to say that out of the six candidates I dedicated time to, ALL SIX WON THEIR ELECTIONS! For most of these candidates I was their Campaign Manager and for a few I was just a volunteer advisor who made time to talk when it was needed the most. I have not lost a municipal election since 2000 when my sister ran for the first time at the age of 20 and I was just 16 – maybe great campaign managers are not ready in grade ten. This success is solely based on great, hard working candidates. I am not some sort of Municipal Election Rainmaker, even though Keith Davey and I have the same name.
I do not have any municipal ninja tricks. Most of what I know anyone could learn through training, reading, and experience. I simply choose to work with candidates who are serious about winning and willing to spend the time and money it takes. There are people who ask me to work or volunteer on their election campaign that I politely decline because I do not believe they are serious about winning or I simply do not have enough time.
I will conduct a small debrief interview with all six candidates so we can learn from our strengths and identify areas for improvement to build on their success. If they are willing, I will share this information on this site. I do not hold campaign manager debriefs where I brag about my contribution or strategy. Elections are about the candidate and issues not the strategists. If there is a learning opportunity I will share it but it will not be all about me.
What is Next
I am going to share all the membership site information on this blog for free! Some of the downloads may require an email opt-in but anything I have created to date I will be giving away. There are no municipal elections for Ontario for four years but this could be helpful for candidates in other jurisdictions and applicable to federal and provincial elections.
I struggled with this decision for a bit as I thought I would be feeding some of my current and future opposition with my knowledge. Then I was listening to a podcast where a guest said everyone knows they can do sit-ups to get a six-pack, but they usually need a trainer to help them reach that goal. That is when I realized that even though my knowledge base is large, my expertise and unique offering is not in the knowledge it is in the execution. So I am confident that come election battle time I will still put up a good (clean) fight.
Enjoy the free resources. Since this has gone from a money generator to a hobby, the posts may be slow going up. The order of the posts may not always flow since I am pulling stuff from the membership site. So there may be a post from the spring about budgets and an instructional video on it this winter, but if you are looking for category specific information just use the post tags and you will be ok.
Thank you for following and supporting City Campaigner.
I will be focusing my time on my consulting business related to government where I help people win contracts not elections. If that interests you just follow along on Twitter@strachansystems and visit my site SellToPublicSector.com. If you do have a political project I would be happy to hear about it and maybe even help. You can reach me using the contact page.
I’ll leave you with this awesome photo I took on top of Sugar Loaf in Rio.