Afraid of this: reading reports that Martha Coakley is considering running for Governor – far too many of her ‘campaign staff’ got hired by Markey

This will be short and sweet.

If Martha Coakley is ‘considering running’ for MA Governor because some of her former campaign staff are ‘giddy’ because they just came off working in the Ed Markey campaign which was ‘successful’, and she’s getting phone calls from some of them saying :’We know how to run a successful campaign now Martha!, Let’s try again, come on! It will be better this time, you’ll see’.

She better not seriously pick up these calls from these jokers – some of the activists on the South Shore had to ‘endure’ remnants of her campaign staff, who, for some totally unknown reason, but most possibly in my opinion it was because this state is in election overload and the truly BEST campaign operatives decided to take a ‘break’ after November of ’12 and the Coakley remnants found themselves with the opportunity to do something that most people who had previously failed so spectacularly seldom get a chance to do: get a  second chance to prove themselves.

A few proved themselves alright – proved again why Martha Coakley lost, and in a few short weeks managed to alienate an entire region South of Boston for Ed Markey.

Ed Markey won despite these ‘remnants’ –  one of which introduced himself as having worked for Coakley at a very early organizational meeting to activists on the South Shore. I could have saved myself a lot of aggravation by walking out of the room at that point, but I believe in Ed Markey , truly like him, and his voting record.

Activists on the South Shore put up with far too much  to put ourselves through that again. Or at least THIS activist did.

If she jumps into this race for Governor and she hires the same people we just had to deal with, this will be an EASY decision for me – I’m volunteering for someone else or I am blogging.

Easiest activist decision I have ever made. Ever.

Martha, there were certain people whose phone number you needed to lose and whose calls you should refuse to take. Permanently.

One more question: why do this Martha? You are a good Attorney General. You could be Attorney General for life – I don’t think I have ever seen an elected position and a person mesh so perfectly. Please stay where you are.

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15 Responses to Afraid of this: reading reports that Martha Coakley is considering running for Governor – far too many of her ‘campaign staff’ got hired by Markey

  1. Janet Alfieri says:

    My experience with the Markey campaign was disappointing. (I have no idea what campaign the staff came from, but there was definitely a strong whiff of the Coakley campaign.) The tv ads were corporate and gave no impression of what kind of man Markey is. Markey rarely held an appearance on the So. Shore that was not a fundraiser. The literature we handed out was useless. The canvassing maps were unworkable. I eventually stopped canvassing or calling altogether because it was so poorly organized. The volunteers were not treated well or respected. I have worked for many campaigns in the past ten years and this one was, by far, the worst.

    My only conclusion was that the Markey campaign had given up on the South Shore and decided to concentrate on western Mass and the cities. Well, that strategy worked out for them. They were lucky that Gomez was such a weak candidate. I don’t think it will work out so well for the gubernatorial race.

    • Susan Haley says:

      Your comment is dead on accurate Janet.

      I could add some choice tidbits about the campaign experience, but I am saving those for more blogposts.

      For your larger point, I would dispute one thing – I don’t think they concentrated on western Mass – I think they took them for granted. I saw too many Facebook comments from activists in western Mass that seemed to echo what we were experiencing. I think the focus was 100% on the cities and just numbers.

      Voters were thought of as numbers by this staff:’we need these numbers on the doors’;'how many numbers of calls were made by this many number of volunteers’ who they consistently disrespected.

      As I said, I’m saving most of this for future blogposts – I have material for months to work with.

      I have consistently wondered if he, Markey, ever thought about firing a large chunk of this staff but I thought he must have worried, justifiably so, that by firing them he would have had to deal with ‘campaign in disarray’ stories.

      I am serious about not putting up with this ever again from any campaign.

  2. Susan Haley says:

    For the record – I did 14 door to door canvasses, 12 in Hingham, and 2 in a neighboring town, 4 visibilities~ one for which, we, 5 of us doing a 30 minute visibility for Markey prior to heading into Hingham’s Town Meeting at which 3000+ CITIZENS/VOTERS of our fellow citizens of Hingham were present, were so disrespected by a campaign staffer , I should have walked off the campaign at that moment except I knew how vital this position of US Senator was. I also did 2 shifts of pollwatching for this campaign.

    Oddles of things to write about – all with the motive so that we activists can learn from this experience.

    I know there are more than a few who would prefer that we just keep quiet about things like this – not me.

    If we don’t speak up – these idiots take it as :all their methods are ‘golden’ because they have a victory under their belt.

    Uh huh, too many mistakes were made, there are lessons to be learned, and far too many ways to improve.

    Especially around here.

  3. Megan says:

    Frankly, considering what a joke of a candidate Gomez was, Markey should have won by an even wider margin. There’s no doubt in my mind that his rude, incompetent, impossible-to-work-with staff hurt his campaign. How could it not have? I’ve never seen a campaign so poorly run.

    • Susan Haley says:

      As I have written, they left an endless supply for oodles of blogposts.

      If I turned it into a book, it would be a comedy – although in real life, it felt like a tragedy in the making.

  4. Barbara says:

    Susan: while I am willing to grant you that you
    might have had a bad experience with this campaign
    Pls don’t be so arrogant to assume that we all had a similar
    one. We had a fantastic group that worked well together
    and felt respected by the campaign staff. We canvassed
    every weekend and the packets were well done and our
    efforts appreciated. Sounds to me as though you thought you
    should have been in charge. You weren’t and clearly are not
    a team player.

    So remind us again the margin by which you won
    Hingham for Elizabeth Warren? What was the margin in Norwell?
    Cohasset? Scituate? Maybe that’s why no one came to you
    to run this one?

    Next time perhaps you might try to imagine that
    Others can have viable ideas too.

    I cant imagine why you think Martha should take
    advice from someone who can’t be a team player.

  5. Barbara says:

    So clearly only posts permitted are those that agree
    With yours.

    • Susan Haley says:

      Besides the fact that you don’t know of all our experience in the South Shore, besides your own – and I don’t recall you being present at the organizational meeting held in Weymouth on 3/3/13, you should check the results for Markey in Hingham during the primary:we won, despite having to argue for the right to canvas during the week when that was the only time we could volunteer.

      That’s micro-managing to the nth degree.

      As far as allowing comments – blogs get spam from all over the world and each day, sometimes twice a day, we have to wade through posts for generic drugs and sales on prom dresses etc, I think you get the idea – so when we get a response to the post written, we’ve waded through them – there is a slight delay.

      Your comments are posted.

      Better watch for future posts because this staff was the worst this area: Weymouth, Hingham, Hull, Cohasset, Norwell, Scituate, Duxbury, Marshfield ever worked with and you would know that if you had read my previous post regarding how they ‘broke, ignored, dismissed’ the political organization that was already in place: SSDC.

      Came to me to run the campaign? Hah, clearly you don’t know my personal circumstances – but I DO know who ran the region for Warren and I know that State Committee people were ignored, Town Committee Chairs were bypassed in this Special causing senseless delay in outreach effort.

      We have lists and emails to back up what happened here – volunteers were insulted regularly.

      Only makes me more determined to expose it so it won’t happen again.

  6. Susan Haley says:

    If you care to check out the Facebook page of the MassDems you would see similar complaints from other regions of the Commonwealth.

    Additionally I have emails from Chairs of other Town Committees whose lists I am on from the Cape and Islands area acknowledging the struggle to get the tools needed to have an effective outreach.

    We have MAJOR elections coming up in ’14 and if you seriously think that certain staff should get a free pass because Markey ‘won’, I shudder to think what will happen.

    This campaign staff was horrible – ask a certain St Rep in our region what the response was after they called to volunteer for Markey after the Primary( had supported Lynch) – brutal, causing senseless mis-communication and alienation.

    If you think a ‘win’ means everything was rosy and now this is the model we should follow and these people should get hired again……then I say, get ready for a GOP Governor.

    We won in Hingham in the Special Primary because we ignored the micro-managing and insults that rained down upon us – and we knew that Hingham was not going to go Markey in the Special General ; I was asked to canvas subsequently in Hull and did so twice- we won in Hull. – But here again: canvas Hull on the weekend with Memorial Day approaching – told them we would get ticketed – had to ARGUE to get to canvas during the week down there.

    It’s not grassroots when you don’t listen to the people who live in the area and are doing the actual work and who know what works, what’s effective, what’s allowed( like parking on streets or not without a sticker) and what doesn’t work.

  7. Barbara says:

    Seems the margin was the same as in the Warren campaign.
    So didn’t do so badly. In fact they had a superior operation
    that included members of several DTCs and lifelong Dem
    Activists on the South Shore. Just one Democratic activist to
    another: Some of us enjoyed the fresh blood and
    new ideas.

  8. Susan Haley says:

    Let me ask you something – have you ever, in your political volunteer life experiences, ever heard of turning down volunteers?

    There were people who were rudely dismissed and told’That’s not the volunteer activity we want’ – being willing to do a morning visibility at 7 am.

    I kept all the canvas maps of the homes I knocked on – I estimate I knocked on between 700 and 850 doors through the Special Primary and General. I understand some peoples’ reluctance to knock on a door( I’m not one of them) but to turn away a volunteer? Consistently, over and over again? Especially when the outreach to an opponent’s defeated supporters( Lynch voters) – it – allowing them to do a visibility, could have been the ‘activity’ that brought them back into the campaign?

    Have you seen the results from Weymouth?

    If every Lynch voter had voted for Markey in the General voted against Gomez – Markey would have won by 419 votes.

    INSTEAD, Gomez won by 985 votes in Weymouth.

    Now, I am sure there could be multiple reasons for this – it was hot, polls showed Markey winning which could have suggested to a voter that, maybe, they didn’t need to vote.

    But too many people tried to volunteer , to do the activity that they felt comfortable volunteering to do and were rebuffed, too many people( Lynch voters) were not reached out to effectively and I include among these, elected official who supported Lynch. The Markey organization was compartmentalized rigidly and the catch phrase ” I’ll pass that on to politicial.”, became a standard joke among those of us activists who had to deal with the hired staff.

    Activists like me, I was not the only one, trust me,from the South Shore, told the Markey staff that many of the elected officials on the South Shore – State Reps, Mayors, Selectman, and County officials who had supported Lynch in the Primary LIKED to do visibilities – and that the surest way to get them on board was to ask them to do one or 2 of these at commuter rail and T stations or the commuter boat. If you are asking me to believe that this ‘outreach’ happened – then I have to believe a State Rep who I have had long conversations with over the campaign is not telling the truth – their offer to help was rebuffed immediately following the Primary.

    I want to reiterate the general point made above.

    Are you happy with the results from the Primary – of people who pulled a Democratic ballot for either Democratic candidate, failing to vote for the person who won in the primary – Ed Markey – in the General?

    Of the whole region of the SSDC – only Hull pulled out a win and I am proud I canvassed there in the General; we knew Cohasset and the communities that border Cohasset would go for Gomez, but the results in Weymouth are dismal. Even in Hingham – I am certainly not satisfied that 364 people who voted in the primary by pulling the Democratic ballot either failed to vote for Markey or voted for Gomez.

    [Another disclosure :I was the Secretary for the Hingham Democratic Town Committee for 6 years and Hingham's Democrat of the Year in 2008 so I think I know who the activists are in our region - fresh blood, aka new activists - I love - turning down volunteers? I hate it and refuse to do it - I welcome all levels of volunteering and would hope that you would as well]

  9. Alice says:

    Worst. Campaign. Ever. Speaking to exactly what happened in Weymouth–and make NO mistakes, it will happen again if we don’t get our act together and push back against abysmal campaigns like this last one–Markey’s loss in a predominantly Democratic leaning (registered dems outweigh registered repubs like 2 to 1), labor union heavy town like Weymouth speaks volumes about the kind of results this data-driven, screw-the-grassroots type of campaign will produce. Due to personal circumstances I was personally unable to help very much, but I would have been far more inclined to devote what little personal time I had available to a campaign that gave a rip about how the “locals” operate a campaign. Forget about how rudely many were treated, forget about how dismissive this campaign was to the people who delivered Weymouth to Deval Patrick in 2006–but remember the words of the great Tip O’Neill…”all politics are local.” I sure as heck don’t need someone from out-of-town telling me what works and what doesn’t work in Weymouth. And, clearly, it didn’t work!

    Barbara, would LOVE to know what town you are from. Would love to hear an experience that was different from every other one that I have heard thus far.

    And, just to disclose, I like Markey. I used to live in his district. I just do not have a clue as to what happened to his decision making ability when it came to hiring a campaign staff. Still bothers me….

  10. Barbara says:

    So if it was about “outsiders”, then why did Elizabeth Warren lose Weymouth as well, Alice? (Scott Brown 15,115 vs Eliz Warren 12,723)? Any hypothesis needs to take account of all the data not just what supports one’s personal theories. Weymouth failed
    to deliver Democratic wins in two consecutive elections. What factors might have accounted for the trend in the past TWO elections? Need to work together to figure it
    out. Not alienate people of your own party who have the same aspirations for elected
    officials as you do.

    • Alice says:

      Two completely different elections. Scott Brown was a seated senator that had union member backing in his first election. We knew from the get-go that we needed to keep Brown’s “win” in Weymouth under 10 points…it ended up at 8. And remember–if you were around–that the desperately terrible Coakley campaign delivered Scott Brown unto us. The regulars in this area were ripping their hair out begging that campaign for help–none came.

      The Markey people had the opportunity to co-opt the LARGE number of Lynch people to help or at least vote for Markey. They DID NOT. They ignored the unions, they ignored help from local elected officials–even to the point of insulting some of them.

      And yes, Barbara, the “regulars” for the most part ran the Warren Campaign in Weymouth. There were similarities in the Warren and Markey campaigns. The most onerous one being top-down, disrespectful micromanaging. But the Warren Campaign “caught on” and let the locals do what they do best, run their towns. Markey should have won in Weymouth. No excuses on that one. If Markey runs this same campaign in 2014 against a Scott Brown or even a Dan Winslow, he will lose the state.

      And, Barbara, let me be clear: the volunteers who have worked in these towns for decades for the Democratic Party do it for one reason–we believe that our Democratic values speak for all Americans. We believe that corporations are not people; we believe in protecting the sick, the young, and the old; we believe in equal access for all…etc., ad nauseum. This is not a game to us; nor is it a way to get a job with some politician or with the state party. But we have lives outside of politics and volunteering. I can think of a million different things to be doing other than having my town and my intelligence insulted by someone I do not even know. I can think of thousands of causes that would welcome a volunteer instead of insulting a volunteer. I can name dozens of local and state politicians who would welcome with open arms the army of volunteers that can be mobilized from the DTC’s , the unions, the PCDL, and the SSDC. We can work for campaigns that work with us and for us.

      The coordinated campaign run out of Weymouth in 2010 was part of the concentrated efforts to elect Dems to every office–and we succeeded. This is a “red” district, but that does not mean that the campaigns should write us off. If they continue to do that, they can just write off the state. In the way of Mike Dukakis, yield no ground, yield not one precinct. And never, ever, ever turn away a volunteer. Even if all that volunteer wants to do is hold a sign or sharpen a pencil.

      And as far as “alienating” people of my own party….I would never do that. So why is it being done to us by people who have no history with us? You do not identify your town, so you are anonymous to me.

      In the finality, this infighting is being propagated by “the top” and is destructive to us all. The newbies are being told that they are the end-all be-all and that the new ways of campaigning are the only ways. We here in Massachusetts are very traditional people. The old ways are the known ways and they work. Add the new ways to them instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Work with the organizations already in place instead of trying to reinvent the wheel with a group that apparently does not know that wheels are round.

      We do not have to waste one single second trying to figure out this “trend.” The groups listed above already know the demographic, the voting habits, and the opinions of their towns. Just ask us. We will be happy to tell you what will work and what we need from the campaigns achieve the win….or at least the closest margins we can get. Ask Hull–they were pretty much left to their own devices–and they took the town for Markey. These campaigns can go around with their top-down ideas for the rest of eternity if they wish….at their peril. And, sadly for Massachusetts and the American people, at ours.

  11. Susan Haley says:

    The easiest way to analyze differing election results is to compare and contrast ‘wins’ from ‘loses’ and then figure out if the outreach effort was different, at the same time allowing for variables such as weird election days i.e. ‘Specials’ versus regular General elections; one could include in the variable, polls leading up to election day – did they show overwhelming support for one candidate over another which may account for a ‘lazy voter’ to say – ‘ I don’t need to vote’ : ‘so in so’ should win, or weather condittions etc.

    I am going to stick to what I know and feel very comfortable commenting on: Hingham specifically, although I do feel comfortable commenting upon the communities in the South Shore Democratic Caucus as well, there are others who have a more direct knowledge of their specific community within this region.

    Hingham was very successful in 2006 and 2008 and what I KNOW was an outreach tool that was used then was signs and visibility~ for Deval Patrick in ’06 and Barack Obama in ’08 – the signage was so unique for Obama in Hingham we called them ‘Obama dots’ which the HDTC paid for and they were used as Flamingoes are used for sports in this town when a lawn is ‘flocked’. We did this for a suggested small donation which supporters made out to the HDTC so we could help elect Democrats and support our local regional campaign offices. We have gotten away from their use – signs – in the elections since that time at the specific direction of hired campaign staff – evidently ‘science’ suggests the use of signs is ‘negligible’. All I can note is without heavy use of sign and visibility, we have lost Hingham.

    We have still canvassed door to door, we have used the ‘new’ hub-dialer which goes all over the state to get volunteers – but when we used our own phones which show a Hingham number to a Hingham voter, we did better in Hingham.

    When we poll watched on Election Day and then called our known Hingham supporters and left messages after 4 pm, effectively saying ‘you have 4 hours left to vote, your polling precinct is X and it is located at the High School’ we did better.

    Lately, on election day, we have been asked to use hub-dialer( which goes all over the state) and NOT leave messages – only speak to someone who answers the phone. Our candidates – like Elizabeth Warren, and Ed Markey might win the state, but we are not winning in our community.

    Lately, on election day, we have been asked to leave door reminders – by running around town hanging ‘reminders’ that ‘Today is Election Day’. Is that really an effective use of a volunteer’s time? Or is poll-watching more effective? In Hingham, poll-watching is by far more effective if we are to compare the results since 2006. We keep a list of supporters, get volunteers to watch the polls and then we are able to cull the lists to reach out to voters who have not voted up to a certain time in day. We were willing to leave a message on an answering machine~reminding them that the polls are open until 8pm and that we need their vote, reminding them where their precinct is and where the polling station is located.

    I think we are fully cognizant of the need to ultimately get our candidates into the winning column but what seems to be ‘working’ statewide is not effective here, in this region: the easing off of use of signs and visibilities, the statewide phone-banking via hub-dialer rather than localized to our specific communities and my suggestion is that if we want our region and towns back in the blue we need to do what worked in the past and try that ‘recipe’ again.

    If that alienates the campaign staff because they want their volunteers doing something else or concentrating on a different region – the cities? – then it really isn’t grassroots campaign , is it?

    I want to win and I realize that every vote goes into the ‘total’ pot but we are creating an atmosphere here, in this region, that demoralizes Democrats and encourages Republicans.

    I certainly do not think that signs and visibilitites will hurt, nor will poll-watching. But some people are impressed with ‘hired guns’ that get a paycheck who then sign on with another candidate in another election cycle – their advice, that some are so enamored with, have left losses in this area. I think that is what Alice meant by ‘data-driven’.

    Admitting that will do much to correct the problem.

    We had a lot of supporters in Hingham in the most recent election who collected signatures, canvassed, and phone-banked – getting volunteers did not seem to be the problem. We won the Special Primary;we did seem to have a slight problem of getting volunteers on Election Day – but it was brutally hot and school had been out for the year allowing people to start vacation time and were away -we still had poll watching ( there were a lot of absentee ballots according to Hingham’s Town Clerk which I did witness for myself), we had people hanging door reminders, but no phone reminders. After running around in the heat of election day or sitting in a gym with no ac and 2 fans I can see why people stopped at 5pm . They needed to rehydrate.

    Because I know how hard I and others worked, it is not easy to see all the red on the map.

    I want us to trust what worked in our communities in the past and take the best of what’s new with the reliability of the old and effective outreach.

    That’s grassroots.

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