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Local Leader Organizes Event to Enlist More Candidates

“Just do it.” That’s the message one of our New Leaders Project signers has for conservatives who are considering running for local office.

After watching several local election cycles in his Illinois community, Mike Shorten noticed that there often weren’t enough candidates running for all of the offices up for election where he lies in McHenry county. He explained, “Often the incumbent would run again and you’d be lucky to get another person challenging. Then sometimes no one will run for a seat, so someone has to be appointed to the position later.” He realized that a large percentage of the money he was paying in property taxes was being spent by people who were not elected, and not being held accountable by voters.

So Mike, who is a project manager for an office supply store, signed the New Leaders Project pledge in 2011. When the next local elections cycle came around in 2013 he ran for office and was elected to the board of Nunda Township Trustees.

Read the rest at the New Leaders Project.

17 Trained New Leaders Win In Vermont

In Tuesday’s election, 15 new leaders were elected to the state legislature who were trained and indentified by American Majority’s new leaders program. Two others were also elected as side judges.

“Congratulations to Tuesday’s winners and others who participated in our democratic process,” said Matt Robbins, President of American Majority. “Since opening our Vermont office this year, we have trained 252 new leaders and activists. American Majority Vermont is helping to ensure that candidates who believe in smaller government have the tools to be successful in their campaigns. We are thrilled to see these strong results in Vermont.”

American Majority works to build a farm team of new leaders at all levels of government, starting with local offices such as school boards, city councils, and state legislatures. By finding strong leaders at these grassroots levels, American Majority is helping to identify and support men and women who believe in the free market system and a smaller, more limited government, creating a pipeline of new leaders who will hopefully run for higher office in the future.

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American Majority is a non-profit and non-partisan political training institute that believes change must begin at the local level, through engaged citizens effectively implementing freedom. We believe that individual liberty is achieved through limited government and free markets. We believe in lowering the barrier to entry for citizen participation in our republic. By training candidates and activists to be effective today, we are enhancing America’s tomorrow.  Follow us on Twitter at @VT_Majority and @AM_National.

15 American Majority Trained New Leaders Win

For Immediate Release

MEDIA CONTACT
Matt Batzel, American Majority
Mobile: 920-917-5860
E-mail: mattb@americanmajority.org

November 5, 2014

15 American Majority Trained New Leaders Win

American Majority Helps Change the Shape of State and Local Government

Mequon,WI- Following last night’s Fall Election, 15 American Majority Trained New Leaders were elected. Congratulations to all of the winners on well run campaigns. The following New Leaders won their offices for the first time:

Devin LeMahieu                                                        State Senate District 9

Steve Nass                                                                 State Senate District 11

Terry Katsma                                                              State Assembly District 26

Janel Brandtjen                                                          State Assembly District 22

John Macco                                                                State Assembly District 88

Rob Brooks                                                                 State Assembly District 60

Cody Horlacher                                                          State Assembly District 33

Johnny Vander Leest                                                Brown County Clerk

American Majority works to build a farm team of new leaders at all levels of government. Our trained New Leaders include 2 State Senators, 12 State Assemblymen and Assemblywomen and 1 County Clerk. The farm team builds from the local and state levels of government.  These leaders are also the folks who will hopefully take the next step to run for higher office down the road, creating a pipeline of conservative public service.

Matt Batzel, the National Executive Director of American Majority, said “Congratulations to all the winners! Since opening our Wisconsin office in October 2010, we have trained 115 new leaders who’ve gone on to victory across Wisconsin. American Majority is helping to ensure that solid conservative candidates have the tools to be successful in their campaigns and we are thrilled to see these results in Wisconsin.”

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American Majority is a non-profit and non-partisan political training institute that believes change must begin at the local level, through engaged citizens effectively implementing freedom. We believe that individual liberty is achieved through limited government and free markets. We believe in lowering the barrier to entry for citizen participation in our republic. By training candidates and activists to be effective today, we are enhancing America’s tomorrow.  Visit us on the web at www.americanmajority.org or follow us on Twitter @WI_Majority.

Conservative College Students Mobilize in Vermont

Campus-Majority-Vermont

American Majority Campus Director Scott Ellis had the opportunity to visit our Vermont office to train students at Vermont universities who are leaders in new conservative groups on their campuses. These trainings took place at Lyndon State College, Castleton State College, Norwich University, and The University of Vermont.

The trainings worked to equip each group to grow its numbers, effectively utilize social media, and become an active force on campus. Scott encouraged students to grow their campus groups by selling their group to potential members on campus, even with different interests than their own. He encouraged students to create a powerful social media strategy  for their group and to use it effectively as individuals. He encouraged students to run for student government and become part of their school’s newspaper.

The students are tackling big issues. They are concerned about free speech only being allowed in certain zones, how student tuition dollars are being allocated, and getting other students engaged in political issues. Throughout the trainings they shared these frustrations and ways that they are working to make a difference in their school systems.

The Young Americans for Liberty Vermont State Chair, Michael Miley, was at the first training for his group at Lyndon State and then attended the other three trainings to see how he could work with the other schools across the state. After the week he said:

The American Majority Campus Activism training session was informative, entertaining, enlightening. It was a sharp, dynamic event that covered all of the important tools today’s campus activist needs in an engaging and concise way. I hope my campus group will be able to overturn our college’s speech codes, specifically, and raise on-campus awareness of liberty in general.

Through continued work with Michael and other students in Vermont, Scott, along with American Majority Vermont, hopes to continue to be a resource for growth amongst college campuses in the Green Mountain State.


How to “Go Negative” Without Getting Nasty

how-to-go-negative-without-getting-nasty-american-majority

Election season. Ah, it’s fun times. I always look forward to it, the palm cards, yard signs, door-to-door, fundraiser and sign wave craziness… but sometimes, I’m just ready for the negativity to end. Am I alone in feeling this way? At our training sessions, new leaders often ask how they can show contrast between themselves and their opponents without “going negative.” It’s a good question- and it’s a skill, so I think it’s important that we talk about it.

1. Don’t be afraid to illustrate differences.

Elections are inherently about conflict- there is good and evil, right and wrong, liberty and oppression, and voters must choose between them on election day. Showing contrast is an important campaign strategy, particularly for challengers. With the high retention rate for elected officials from the local level through Congress, as a candidate, you are asking voters to reject the person who they know, who they may have voted for previously, in favor of you. Choose the devil they don’t know over the one they do, so to speak. You must give them good reasons to vote for you. Part of that is illustrating the differences between them, the voting electorate, and the incumbent, or other candidate.

2. Hold them accountable.

In a republic where we democratically elect our rulers, it’s important to hold those rulers accountable. And even if your campaign isn’t victorious, discussing voting records and illustrating bad choices to the voters is an important part of holding government accountable.

3. Understand the strategy.

Incumbents or favored candidates will use the “incumbent” strategies, where they appeal to the trappings of office, their current title, their aura of prestige and power to illustrate their legitimacy. Challengers, however, must use a different strategy if they are to be victorious- they must draw the voters’ attention to the opponent’s record, and call for change.

4. Never touch the family.

In a campaign I worked several years ago, my family was attacked on the blog of a key member of the opponent’s campaign, so I can tell you from personal experience- this is not ok. Please, don’t do it.

5. Illustrate votes and stances on the issues.

If you keep your contrasting messages during your campaign focused on the issues and show the votes that your opponent made, you will be able to resist the personal mudslinging that can often ensue. And after all- aren’t campaigns supposed to be about the issues?

6. If your opponent attacks you, respond.

I once worked with the man whose firm created the Swift Boat Ads during the Bush/Kerry campaign and he told me something that has really stuck with me- he said the entire election might have been different if Kerry had responded to the Swift Boat ads when they first came out. Learn from this: if your opponent attacks you, respond. Now, I say that with a caution- measure the importance. If it’s a campaign ad shown throughout your district in which your stances on the issues are pulled into question? Probably ought to respond to that. If however the opponent makes an offhand snide remark about you on the local radio show- probably not important enough to respond to. You have to be willing to let some things roll off your back, or you’ll turn what was a one-newsday issues into a two, three, perhaps even four-newsday problem. But when an attack comes that must be answered, answer it.

7. Along those lines, answer in kind.

If your opponent takes out a full ad in the newspaper hammering you, don’t record a radio ad responding to it. You will likely hit different audiences, meaning that the radio audience now knows about the newspaper ad when they wouldn’t have otherwise, and the newspaper audience doesn’t see your response. Respond in kind, and respond quickly.

8. Be willing to use surrogates.

You might not be the best person to answer every charge from the opponent, or to draw every comparison. If there is someone within the community or your campaign who is better equipped than you, don’t be afraid to utilize their strengths.

9. Clarify what comes from you.

Sometimes a PAC or issue group will engage in negative campaigning on your behalf- because of federal laws, you as the candidate cannot be advised in advance of what their message will be, what form it will be in (mailer, radio, etc), or when it will hit. But you may take a backlash as a result. For example, in 2004 a PAC sent out a mailer that was very negative toward my candidate’s opponent, and we received a lot of angry phone calls and emails. In cases such as these, it’s best to simply make clear that your campaign had nothing to do with the attack, and try to move on as swiftly as possible.

10. Never, ever make a reference to your opponent’s voting record or issue stances unless you are 110% certain that it is true.

Credibility once lost is difficult to regain- do due diligence to know the truth before you speak it. You owe the voters nothing less.

If you’re looking for candidates to support, use these tips to help you determine who is running a more honorable campaign. If you’re helping a candidate you believe in, use these strategies as you work towards his or her election. Remember, talking about the issues and voting records is not negative campaigning- so let’s stick to that, and let the voters have their say.

Use AmazonSmile to Support Conservatives

Shop at Amazon SmileWith busy lives and tight budgets, it’s easy to find excuses to not contribute to our favorite causes and charities. At American Majority, we’ve found a way to help you support the conservative cause without taking an extra dime out of your wallet.

If you’re anything like me, you find yourself shopping more and more online. We’re proud to announce that American Majority is now participating in AmazonSmile. This innovative program allows you to direct a percentage of the cost of your online purchases to the conservative cause and American Majority without any additional cost to you.

As you know, principled leadership in America is needed now more than ever. By using AmazonSmile to support American Majority you can help us educate conservative leaders and activists across the country!

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The Twitter Government & Elections Handbook

Twitter Government and Elections HandbookThis month Twitter published a helpful 137-page guide for campaigners that details the do’s and don’ts of how to effectively use Twitter. As their managing editor states:

“All politics is local.” This time-honored maxim may never have been as true as it is today, when citizens across the country can connect directly and immediately with elected officials and the issues they’re most passionate about, simply by using Twitter.

The American Majority team is always looking to point you to new cheat sheets and guides — whether we write them ourselves or they are published by another team. Check out our campaign and activist resources here. And follow us on Twitter!

 

Campus Majority-Trained Mary Gainey Runs Successful Assembly Campaign

Campus Majority Trained

Races are heating up for November elections but some elected positions, barring a historic write-in campaign, have been decided through heated primaries earlier this year. The open 97th assembly seat in famous Waukesha County, WI was to be one of the most competitive races during the August 12 Wisconsin primary. Knowing that the primary winner would be unopposed in the general election, six candidates threw their hat in the ring. The eventual winner, Scott Allen, won the race through not only his own hard work, but that of his campaign manager, Carroll University senior Mary Gainey.

The American Majority Wisconsin team got to know Mary at the networking training at Carroll University on April, 22nd 2014. Originally from San Francisco, CA, Mary arrived in Wisconsin three years ago to study political science. She started out by looking for ways to volunteer or intern in the local political scene. In her words, “There’s no harm in asking. It’s one of the bravest things you can do to impress people.”

Through her search, she landed an internship and was hooked on Wisconsin politics. She started attending local political events to network and get more involved. Throughout different events she met many professionals, including Scott Allen. This connection ultimately led to her position as the campaign manager for his assembly race.

Mary’s summer consisted of the campaign day in and day out with little time for relaxing. Her typical day started at 6:30am by checking e-mails, meeting with Scott for 15 minutes to map out campaign essentials for the day.

Then she worked with the graphic designer and printer on campaign signs, apparel, and literature. From here she entered data for walk lists that Scott needed for doorknocking, often making new lists as he was going door-to-door. She worked on labels for lists, marked who needed thank you notes, yard signs, and which voters should be contacted next.

She had to be ready for anything. Once she re-enter nearly 200 names and their information into the campaign system to make sure the walk lists weren’t thrown off. When all of this was over she would be back at home, going to bed, and the next morning would wake up and do it all over again.

When asked what the key to the campaign’s success Mary says, “follow-up.” Scott Allen did not raise the most money in the primary, but he knocked on doors, left notes for voters who were not at home, sent postcards, called voters who he had missed, and left voicemails for those who didn’t answer. The campaign revisited wards and checked if voters needed anything or had thoughts on the 97th assembly seat. Through this follow-up, the campaign took 34 percent of the vote to win the six-way primary.

Mary’s life is winding down after the campaign and ramping up with her final year of undergraduate work. For students who are interested in politics, Mary advises to not be intimidated by those you find in the political field. There is “politics in everything” so picking political science will give you the opportunity to do what you want with your degree.

Would Mary want to run a campaign again? “Yes, no question.”



30,000 Conservatives Trained in 45 States!

American Majority Trains 30,000 New Leaders and Activists

American Majority trained our 30,000th individual trainee last weekend at a Boot Camp Training in Atlanta, Georgia. That’s 30,000 new leaders and activists who have gone through American Majority’s cutting-edge trainings that equip them to be agents of change in their local communities. Many have gone on to run for state or local office, while many more found a way to use their unique skills to bring fiscal sanity to their hometowns and states.

American Majority trains 30KOur success is in part due to the radical idea that change does not begin in Washington, but in our state and local communities, where a significant percentage of government spending occurs. We believe that if enough people will organize at the local level, it will lead to a groundswell that will bring national, generational change. This belief has rung true for the tens of thousands who have attended one of our trainings in 45 different states.

Since our founding in 2008, we’ve held 862 live, in-person trainings, led by a great staff comprised of political veterans and grassroots experts. Nearly 1,500 new leaders have signed our New Leaders Project pledge to identify new leaders in their communities to run for office.

This summer we launched a new American Majority Webinar Training Series, at which we’ve trained 515 new leaders and activists how they can better connect with voters on social media, organize in their communities, and hold their elected officials accountable.

But it’s not the numbers that matter. It is the lives that have been impacted and the leaders who have been empowered. At the local level, we are seeing school boards and village boards flipped from liberal control to conservative control. Leaders like Scot Shumski are shaking things up on the Burlington, VT school board, and Brian Logue is challenging the status quo on his county board in Wisconsin.

Training on dozens of college campuses, we’ve also worked with conservative college students to invest in their development and effectiveness through our Campus Majority program. This spring we partnered with Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) to help train 1,716 students and activists at YAL’s state conventions.

We are incredibly proud of our trainees: men and women who don’t whine and complain, but who are actually doing real things to make a difference. We are just getting started at American Majority and we plan on doing much, much more in the years to come.

How Persistence Pays Off

In this continuing series, we explore the results of a survey conducted among more than 50 state and local new leaders asking for any voluntary advice they might give to new or inexperienced new leaders seeking elected office.  Part 9 can be found here.

In all things related to your campaign, keep trying. Be persistent! Is fundraising not going well your first four weeks? You certainly will not get anything if you give up. Calvin Coolidge once said the following:

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race (more…)

American Majority’s Kayla Gabrielse Named a 2014 Right Woman To Watch

Right Wisconsin has selected their 2014 Right Women to Watch and we’re proud to announce that American Majority Wisconsin Field Staffer Kayla Gabrielse is among them.

Excerpt from Right Wisconsin:

The Right Women to Watch will recognize conservative women who are on the rise and making a difference now in Wisconsin. 

This year’s Right Women to Watch are:

Kayla Gabrielse

Kayla Gabrielse is a Field Staffer for American Majority Wisconsin. Prior to her current position, Kayla led efforts for American Majority Action’s Sheboygan Liberty Headquarters in the fall 2012 election cycle. Since joining American Majority, Kayla has spearheaded American MajorityWisconsin’s Women Activist Trainings, which empowers women to expose the Left’s fake War on Women Narrative, learn how to tell their stories to change hearts and minds, and use social media effectively.

In the past year, she has helped American Majority to their most successful spring election cycle, with 42 trained candidates winning their spring elections. She has also taken part in “Insight 2014″ Young Guns Panel,  a Women’s Panel at the Wisconsin Conservative Leadership Conference, and explained why “The War on Women Won’t Work in Wisconsin” for Right Wisconsin.

Kayla is quickly becoming a conservative woman to watch as she continues to inspire and train the next generation of conservatives.

Read the rest here.

Writing a Winning “Thank You” Letter

In this continuing series, we explore the results of a survey conducted among more than 50 state and local new leaders asking for any voluntary advice they might give to new or inexperienced new leaders seeking elected office.  Part 8 can be found here.

No matter how you go about fundraising, one thing should always remain constant: providing thank you letters. There is some flexibility here; most ‘Thank you” letters can be generic, which allows you to let volunteers or campaign members send the letter without your signature. Personal friends or relatives and very large donors should still get a personal note or message. There is little that will sink future funding as quickly as an ungrateful candidate, especially if you have a primary election where you could ask for a second donation later in the year. (more…)

Do Your Homework

In this continuing series, we explore the results of a survey conducted among more than 50 state and local new leaders asking for any voluntary advice they might give to new or inexperienced new leaders seeking elected office.  Part 7 can be found here.

Think back to when you were in high school. This might mean a time before the Internet, computers, mobile phones and cars that went faster than 50 mph. Did you enjoy spending your precious time doing schoolwork for classes that you haven’t used since? Did you think it was a waste of time? Thankfully, the homework that you put in your campaign can pay off — big time. One of the most common questions a new candidate often has is “Where can I find willing financial donors?” This is where your homework comes in. (more…)

If You Can Mention Donations, Do It. Here’s How.

In this continuing series, we explore the results of a survey conducted among over fifty state and local new leaders asking for any voluntary advice they might give to new or inexperienced new leaders seeking elected office. Part 6 can be found here.

One of the most important things you will have to do as a candidate is raise money. In fact, the number one job for each candidate is to raise support. During your campaign, there will be many times when you will have the opportunity to say something for a closing remark: during TV or radio interviews, meet and greets, fundraisers, campaign flyers, even personal and professional relationships. These are excellent opportunities for putting in a plug for donations. (more…)

Running for Office? Be Prepared To Self-Finance

In this continuing series, we explore the results of a survey conducted among over fifty state and local candidates asking for any voluntary advice they might give to new or inexperienced candidates seeking elected office.  Part 5 can be found here.

First time candidates usually expect they will have to contribute something to their own campaign, but few realize exactly how much they will usually end up contributing. Because you will not be receiving many donations at the onset of your campaign, most of your initial expenses will have to come from your own wallet. (more…)

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