Getting Out the Vote, Perry Style

Those of us who like to know how successful political campaigns are run – OK, wonky geeks, if you like – will enjoy a book out today. It’s called “Rick Perry and His Eggheads: Inside the Brainiest Political Operation in America.” The author is Sasha Issenberg and the book is available at Amazon’s Kindle Store to download for .99 cents.

Issenberg was interviewed this morning on Fox & Friends and also in an article in the New York Times. This e-book is a prelude to his larger work, “The Victory Lab,” which will be published next year. Since Rick Perry has taken the early lead among Republican presidential nominees, Issenberg has released this section.

Issenberg detailed that Perry has four eggheads: Donald Green, Alan Gerber, Daron Shaw and James Gimpel. They helped him in his 2006 and 2010 campaigns. Green and Gerber wrote “Get Out the Vote: How to Increase Voter Turnout.” Perry campaign manager Dave Carney read the book and asked them for analysis in 2006. Their findings “dramatically changed how Carney prioritized the candidate’s time and the campaign’s money when Perry sought re-election again in 2010 and will inform the way he runs for president now,” Issenberg writes.

What the eggheads found out was that meeting the candidate in person produced better results than anything else. Satellite interviews done from Austin did almost nothing for him; personal appearances did. “By 2010, the campaign operated under the principle that having Perry set foot in a coffee shop or BBQ restaurant – even if there was only a small crowd to witness it in person – was the best media strategy available.” Their results also showed that mailings and robo calls did very little.

Issenberg, who predicted in 2007 that McCain would be the Republican primary victor, says of Perry, “He’s basically built for this primary, this year. He is ideologically in sync with the Republican energies of the moment, has the country’s best claim to successful economic stewardship and a long record of governing and winning elections that can convince primary voters he wold be a credible nominee to challenge Obama.”

Whether it translates nationally will be an interesting thing to watch.

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