Perdue Consultant Explains How the Senate Runoff Was Won

July 24, 2014 8:00 am

by Jon Richards · 41 comments

Former Political and Executive Director of the Georgia GOP and consultant to the David Perdue campaign Paul Bennecke tweeted his thoughts on why Perdue won the Georgia Senate runoff by a narrow margin.

Here are his additional factoids, each released in its own tweet:

2. Only bought 1 cable net the entire primary/run-off – Fox News – except for one week on the golf channel back in April for The Master’s.

3. Only bought talk and Ag radio – no FM.

4. We ran a voter ID program from Feb 1 – July 21. Every day.

5. Bonnie Perdue wrote over 3,000 hand written notes in the final 3 weeks to absentee voters. She also made hundreds of undecided calls.

6. Our broadcast buy in the runoff targeted 55+ voters. So did our volunteer calls. So did our hand-written postcards.

7. Most importantly, person-to-person contact still works. A real grassroots operation focused on the right voters with the right message.

The Perdue campaign offered a simple message: “If we want different results from Washington, we have to send a different type of person to Washington.” Contrast that with the Jack Kingston campaign, which offered a six point plan to renew America, similar to the Contract with America that helped elect a Republican majority in the House — 20 years ago.

saltycracker July 24, 2014 at 8:35 am

As pointed out on PP many of us voted for Perdue for a change in DC and his opponent had to own his endorsements. That’s history and the next hill is to differentiate himself with some clear positions and proposals even if they don’t fit the mold. I love America, we need to fix that and my opponent is misguided/bad is a political repeat leading us no where. What, specifically, are we going to do ?

tribeca July 24, 2014 at 9:25 am

To me there’s nothing inherently brilliant about this strategy, he could truly summarize it in 3 points:

1. Recognize that your likely voters in an off-year primary and runoff are going to be old people, people that watch a lot of Fox News, and people that listen to a lot of talk radio (note: I recognize that categories 2 and 3 are made up, nearly exclusively, of old people).

2. Target old people in ways that old people like to be contacted: face-to-face and handwritten notes/letters. Young people find face-to-face conversations to be odd and uncomfortable and 99% don’t even know what mailboxes are for, if you try and contact them via these means they will passively aggressively complain about you on Twitter.

3. Profit (and/or win your campaign)

How Kingston didn’t come to this same realization and use the same strategy is beyond me.

ETA: I’m legitimately excited for this Senate campaign. Nunn & Perdue strike me as capable of having grown-up discussions about actual issues. They cynic in me knows they won’t actually have these discussions… but I’m allowing myself to hope a little bit.

TheEiger July 24, 2014 at 9:36 am

“To me there’s nothing inherently brilliant about this strategy”

You are right. Nothing brilliant about this strategy. It’s called having your act together and not pissing money away like the Kingston camp did. There is no reason to get two different mail pieces from the same candidate on the same day. That’s called throwing money away.

Perdue’s folks and Loudermilk’s team ran the two best races of this year’s primary season. Congrats.

ChuckEaton July 24, 2014 at 12:00 pm

“Young people find face-to-face conversations to be odd and uncomfortable.” I really hope, for the sake of humanity, this isn’t the case. We’re all going to be walking around, with our Google glasses, talking to ourselves.

FormerRepub July 24, 2014 at 11:12 am

My first call from the Kingston campaign I explained in a polite but emphatic way why I would NOT be voting for Kingston but instead Michele Nunn. Evidently they would not take “NO” for an answer. I continued to get at least 7 more calls from the Kingston campaign. Persistent but totally a waste of time and money to call me repeatedly after I told them “No.” Plus, Kingston had some of the worst political ads I have seen by any candidate.

gcp July 24, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Excellent Perdue strategy and he needs to change nothing in the general; however he will have to guard against making any goofy statements.

Nunn, so far, is nothing more than an empty pant suit; but it’s a problem without a good solution because if she talks issues she loses and if she doesn’t talk issues she loses. Also she risks the fatal democrat flaw of ignoring Ga. north of Atlanta and yes Ms. Nunn there are restaurants in N. Ga. where you can shake hands. And yes you should do interviews on local N. Ga. radio stations. Perdue regularly did such interviews.

Bridget Cantrell July 24, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Alright, I’ll play along…

Which radio programs in Deal Country do you think would host an interview with Michelle Nunn?

Which restaurants do you think would host a meet-n-greet?

Do you think she’s likely ignoring NGa or not pushing herself into places that wouldn’t currently welcome her?

gcp July 24, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Joel Williams on WDUN Gainesville anytime 6:00 to 10:00 AM

check with Loretta’s also Gainesville

She has made no attempt in N Ga.

The Last Democrat in Georgia July 24, 2014 at 3:13 pm

None has made no attempt in N Ga because up there she would instantly be exposed as the Northeastern liberal elitist that she most obviously is.

MattMD July 24, 2014 at 4:08 pm

“None”. You are so clever, just how do you come up with this stuff?

The Last Democrat in Georgia July 24, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Okay, I admit it….It’s inspired by the empty suit, no-position thing that Ms. Nunn is currently doing to hide her Northeastern liberalism until after she gets elected.

MattMD July 24, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Exactly what is “Northeastern liberalism”? Is it different from “Western liberalism” or “Pacific Northwestern liberalism”?

The Last Democrat in Georgia July 24, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Nunn’s Northeastern liberalism comes from her growing up in Washington DC and attending schools like UVa, Harvard and Oxford.

gcp July 24, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Also Poole’s in Ellijay she could use google mapping to find it just a suggestion

Harry July 24, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Poole’s, that’s a great suggestion.

The Last Democrat in Georgia July 24, 2014 at 3:07 pm


The Last Democrat in Georgia July 24, 2014 at 3:10 pm

Michelle None: “Poole’s? Ellijay?….Never heard of it.”

The Last Democrat in Georgia July 24, 2014 at 3:03 pm

gcp, July 24, 2014 at 12:11 pm-

Good comments….None absolutely should be targeting voters in rural North Georgia, but won’t because her main targets are (squishy) moderates in the expansive Atlanta suburbs (particularly moderate suburban female voters).

gcp July 24, 2014 at 3:18 pm

I guess she does not want to “broaden her base”. Strangely, that’s a common criticism of Republicans.

The Last Democrat in Georgia July 24, 2014 at 3:28 pm

If None and Carter can win in 2014 then they’ll take it, but overall 2014 is mainly about “priming the pump” for an attempt at a Hillary-driven demographic wave election in Metro Atlanta with white female and minority voters in 2016 (and beyond).

gcp July 24, 2014 at 3:35 pm

And if Poole’s and Loretta’s are too far maybe she could just hit Cracker Barrel off 985.

The Last Democrat in Georgia July 24, 2014 at 3:44 pm

No, she needs to take your advice and spend a lot of time getting to know the owners and patrons at N Ga spots like Poole’s and Loretta’s….Though we both know that’s not going to happen because she’s too scared to do what her father likely would have done.

griftdrift July 24, 2014 at 4:57 pm
The Last Democrat in Georgia July 24, 2014 at 5:01 pm

I still don’t trust her…and Rome is not exactly rural mountainous North Georgia (Ellijay, Blue Ridge, north of Gainesville and the like).

griftdrift July 24, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Yes. I know. She obviously fears to tread outside the liberal havens like….Rome.

tribeca July 24, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Stop ruining the narrative, grift. People need to think Michelle Nunn is an elitist snob and they should vote for a Georgian that gets what its like to be just “regular folk”… David Perdue. We know he’s down to earth, look at his suit made entirely of denim.

gcp July 24, 2014 at 5:51 pm

Darn. Guess I missed her N. Ga. tour. I am sure she hit the Smith House and all those other places but it was just sort of hard to see an empty pant suit.

And that WDUN interview, well she has been too busy meeting all those N. Ga voters for the past three months to do a phone interview. I understand.

tribeca July 24, 2014 at 6:36 pm

The empty pantsuit line is trite, I’m glad you were able to dust it off from the bin of used Hilary Clinton cliches.

Nunn hasn’t had to take stances on any issues because she’s been running (virtually) unopposed on the Democratic side since the start. Why provide her opponents with sound bytes to spin? I’m sure she’ll actually talk substantively when the general gets rolling in full force. For the record, let’s not pretend Perdue and Kingston were engaging in substantive debate (cliches don’t count) over the course of the past few weeks.

I guess, by your logic, we’ve got an empty pantsuit running against an empty redneck tuxedo.

griftdrift July 24, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Maybe we should come up with a list of restaurants Nunn should visit so she can show she’s just like her diddy.

Harry July 24, 2014 at 7:04 pm

A list of NY and DC restaurants would be more appropriate. She’s more familiar with those.

Three Jack July 28, 2014 at 1:41 pm


If Nunn is an ’empty pant suit’ reluctant to talk issues even though there has been no reason for her to do so yet, what is Perdue who just went thru a hotley contested campaign without talking issues?

gcp July 24, 2014 at 7:23 pm

Well I am a little curious about her views on those pesky unimportant issues such as tax policy, the ACA, and our involvement in Iraq. She seems sort of quiet when it comes to issues and policy but I guess she is still “formulating” her views.

Dave Bearse July 24, 2014 at 9:40 pm

I voted for Kingston in the primary, and Perdue in the runoff.

None of those 7 items had anything to do with my change of vote.

Harry July 24, 2014 at 11:15 pm

Don’t leave us in suspense, Dave. What had to do with your change of vote?

Dave Bearse July 25, 2014 at 8:21 pm

I thought Perdue improved as a candidate, e.g. fewer gaffs. Upon more thought about the candidates since May, I realized it was unlikely Jack wouldn’t do anything different than he’d already done. I’ve long been a fan of Grift’s “side of the river story”, so the Tea Party and others lining up for Kingston was a cue to go to the other side.

Harry July 25, 2014 at 9:19 pm

Let’s hope you’ll be lining up for Perdue in November.

jmacs12000 July 26, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Travel a lot and just got a chance to read all this. I voted for Perdue in the primary and Kingston in the run off. I live in Metro Atlanta. Why?
1. To win we need a stand out, out spoken realist, who appeals to taxpayers (okay, MAYBE only 50-51% left)
2. Minority voters and libs are going to show up and vote big time for the goodies and cause, big time (don’t kid yourself).
3. Where’s his base? Libs are not going to vote for Perdue in the general so why appeal to them?. Moderates perhaps, but he disinterests many of the GA Republican base because he appears to be another “lets all get along type” so that may be a wash.
4. Nunn is an empty suit but will follow the party line – Perdue appears to be an empty suit Republican -collect a paycheck and enjoy a big ego trip, but avoid all clear positions – no change – why vote for that? So, no large turn out of taxpayers will happen and he loses.
5. The big shot Republican GA hierarchy says “try and slide in” – avoid strong positions -don’t offend anybody – but it will not happen or if it does we end up with nothing gained- no change, just another pol of the ruling class, voting to spend more of our money wastefully with bigger government and more federal power for them.
6. Okay, not everybody is a Reagan, but Perdue must have some ability and managerial skills to get where he got – lets hear about this. For God sakes let’s stop trying to trivialize a US Senator seat as a popularity contest. There are so many clear and dangerous threats out there to the country that need thoughtful, articulate people who must be able to demonstrate some iota of knowledge, maturity, vision, logic, etc., etc.

WeymanCWannamakerJr July 27, 2014 at 2:36 am

Could I interest you in a pup tent?

benevolus July 28, 2014 at 4:01 pm

What is a daily “voter ID program”?

bkeahl July 28, 2014 at 7:16 pm

I would think it would be a few things rolled together:
1) Use vote history to identify likely voters.
2) ID friendly voters (positive phone/canvass response).
3) Check early/absentee voting and contact those who haven’t – nudge to absentee/early vote.
4) Follow up with those who requested absentee but not returned.
Go to step 2.

My bet is the “ID” part is every step of the process with focus on early/absentee voting. Once that vote is cast it’s all yours :).

benevolus July 29, 2014 at 8:48 am

OK. Just too obvious I guess. I would think every campaign does this “every day”, but maybe I’m wrong.
NOT doing it seems like a likely way to lose!

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