Congressman Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land) is not running for reelection this year in a district that once leaned heavily Republican, but has become more competitive in recent years as Fort Bend and Brazoria Counties have become more diverse.
On March 3, Republicans and Democrats will go to the polls to choose a nominee from each of their parties to compete for this position in the November election. Party primaries require a different type of campaign. The voters tend to be fewer and more partisan – really Republican Republicans and really Democratic Democrats.
Choose one of the candidates and design a campaign to win the primary election. Write this assignment as a 2 – 5 page memorandum (memo) (with cited sources) from you, the campaign manager, to your candidate. Outline the race for them, how much money you think they need to raise, how you will raise it for them, what you propose to spend it on, what issues they should talk about, how you want to deliver their message, etc.
Some things to keep in mind:
· Remember, party primaries are only for that party’s voters. If your candidate’s a Republican, you’re only campaigning to Republican voters. If your candidate’s a Democrat, you’re only campaigning to Democratic voters.
· On the other hand, Texas has an open primary – voters can choose either one all the way up until the moment they walk into the polling place.
· Donald Trump carried this area in 2016 over Hillary Clinton 52% – 44%.
· Ted Cruz carried it over Beto O’Rourke in the 2018 Senate race, but not by much: 49.9% – 49.3%
· If nobody in your primary race gets a majority (50% plus one vote) of the vote, the top two finishers will go to a runoff election on May 26, so if you can’t win it outright, you at least need to be in either first or second place.
· Not everybody who lives in District 22 will vote in this election. Some are under 18 years old, or they’re not U.S. citizens. Some simply won’t register or show up. Some voters just don’t vote in party primaries. How do you target people who are going to vote in this election?
· What sort of people live in your candidate’s district? What motivates them?
· What is your candidate’s background and experience? What will be his or her key issues?
· How much money will you need? How will you raise it? How will you spend it?
· How will you get your message out? Be cautious about television. Remember – anybody who lives outside District 22 can’t vote for or against your client. You’ll waste a lot of money if you use TV. Same with radio, although radio is a lot cheaper, so some candidates think it’s worth considering. If you use direct mail, you can mail only to people who are registered to vote. Or, you can be more surgical – only people registered to vote who voted in the 2018 general election, for example.
This can be a challenging assignment, but it can also be a lot of fun. Keep in mind that campaigning is more art than science, and that there are few absolutely right or wrong answers. If I asked five campaign professionals to do this assignment for the same candidate, I would probably get five totally different campaign strategies (and they’d charge me a lot of money).
Hint: Remember, this is a memo to your client, not an essay about your client. Talk to your client. Do not spend the first page telling them where they were born, where they went to college or how many kids they have – they know this already. Talk to them about your strategy to win the election for them.
Submit in Word. Cite your sources.
Here are the candidates: Choose one from either party
· Pierce Bush
· Jon Camarillo
· Douglass Haggard
· Aaron Hermes
· Greg Hill
· Matt Hinton
· Dan Mathews
· Diana Miller
· Troy Nehls
· Brandon T. Penko
· Shandon Phan
· Bangar Reddy
· Howard Steele
· Kathaleen Wall
· Joe Walz
· Chris Fernandez
· Sri Preston Kulkarni
· Nyanza Davis Moore
· Carmine Petrillo III
· Derrick A. Reed
Here’s where you can find links to all the candidates’ websites (Remember, it’s a 2020 “federal” election for U.S. Representative District 22 – one in each primary): https://candidate.texas-election.com/Elections/getQualifiedCandidatesInfo.do (Links to an external site.)
Ballotpedia has some good background information about the district: https://ballotpedia.org/Texas%27_22nd_Congressional_District_election,_2020 (Links to an external site.)
Houston Public Media has this article about the race: https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/in-depth/2020/01/15/357415/once-solidly-republican-tx-22-now-a-toss-up/ (Links to an external site.)
Wait…what’s a “memo?” https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/subject_specific_writing/professional_technical_writing/memos/sample_memo.html