Confounding the Conventional Wisdom With Victories In Hawaii and Michigan

The Mellman Group congratulates three clients who achieved big victories in Hawaii and Michigan. One turned around a 45-point deficit and was a huge upset by any measure. Another upended conventional wisdom by getting voters, including those in Macomb County, to support a tax increase. And the third followed Sun Tzu’s advice by winning the war before the battle was engaged.

First, we congratulate Tulsi Gabbard on overcoming a massive deficit to win the Democratic nomination in Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District by twenty points (54%-34%). Four months ago the Star Advertiser poll showed Tulsi, a largely unknown City Councilwoman with an amazing story, trailing former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann by 45-points. Working closely with Tulsi and her campaign team, we helped develop a message focused on her background as a distinguished combat veteran who would bring a fresh approach to Washington, defining a clear contrast with her much better known opponent. Tulsi’s focus on Hawaii’s middle class, protecting Medicare and Social Security, and keeping jobs here at home sharpened the distinction.

We were honored to be part of a terrific team, put together by an outstanding candidate, with an amazing future ahead, that included Campaign Manager Max Glass, Devin Bull, EMILY’s List’s Peggy Egan, Joe Trippi, Sterling Clifford, Thomas Rossmeissl, Thomas McDonald, Joshua Morrow, Mark Nevins, Chris Esposito, James McCoy and Barbara Tanabe.

We also congratulate The Detroit Institute of Arts on passing a new local levy-in an effort that garnered national attention. As the New York Times noted, the millage tax puts this world class institution “on secure financial footing for the first time in two decades.”

Passing a tax increase is never easy – particularly in an area that has been rocked by a tough economy.  And it’s just supposed to be impossible in a place like Macomb County.  We have been working with the DIA to develop a winning approach in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties for nearly two years.  We were proud to have worked with the staff and board of DIA including Annmarie Erickson, campaign manager Eddie McDonald, media consultant Jill Alper of Dewey Square and media buyers Mundy Katowitz.  Together we found a winning message that delivered a clean sweep with majorities in all three counties. 

Once again, we are pleased to note that accuracy was the foundation of our strategic research.   Our last tracking poll foresaw the tightening of the vote in Macomb County and was within two points of the actual percentage in both Oakland and Wayne Counties.

Finally, we offer congratulations to Dan Kildee for his success in securing the Democratic nomination in Michigan’s 5th Congressional District.   Kildee made an impressive showing in this primary election, garnering nearly twice the number of votes as the district’s two Republican candidates combined. His assiduous and effective work in politics and public service enabled him to prevent a Democratic primary. Kildee received even more votes than our client, and Dan’s extememely popular uncle, Congressman Dale Kildee, received in the 2010 primary. All of that bodes well for Kildee’s chances in the general election, and we are proud to be able to do our part for this distinguished leader.

Whether winning for you means getting more votes than your opponent, selling more product, changing public policy, raising more money or generating more activism, The Mellman Group transforms data into winning strategies.