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It Takes A Good Man ...
After our success in defeating the Charter question the 'Committee' approached us to work on a campaign for State Representative, supporting a young attorney who had just moved into Town. We believed the incumbent Democrat was very strong, and that such a race would not be successful.
Nevertheless, one day we were installing marketing materials at the site of a new condominium development and up came Peter Morin, who introduced himself and asked us to consider taking on his campaign.
The project was simple -- defeat a well known, strongly supported liberal Democrat who had been in office for years with a young, relatively conservative Republican newcomer. Our District had historically been Republican, but in the last decade or so it had turned increasingly Independent, with a growing number of Democrats.
Peter, like Jeff Wilson, was a man of great personal integrity. Within a short time he split with the 'Committee', and for the second time in as many years, against the wishes of the 'Committee', we chose to support an independent person of character.
Peter was an ideal candidate -- starting with decency and sound common sense, he worked hard, took advice and raised a lot of money. He was willing to run an aggressive campaign, spending his weekends knocking on doors all over the district, meeting voters and hearing their concerns.
Our strategy was to portray our candidate as a decent, down to earth Republican and our opponent as a big spending liberal, out of touch with his district. One of our most successful radio spots in this campaign started out "Peter Morin likes cornflakes ... ", and one of most successful mailings was a check showing how much our opponent had voted to raise State income taxes.
Our first hurdle was getting on the ballot. We had started late, so we needed to run a 'write-in' campaign. We developed and distributed to all Republicans in our District detailed instructions on how to 'write-in' Peter's name on the ballot, including a sticker to place on the ballot envelope.
The sticker campaign was successful and we were on the ballot for the general election. From this point our campaign was a combination of Peter's hard work, press releases and fundraising events (such as our very successful "Reggae Moonbeam Cruise") to finance our radio spots, newspaper ads, extensive distribution of our campaign brochures and two special items.
The first was the above mentioned mailing of a hard hitting brochure detailing how our opponent had voted to raise State income taxes, and by how much.
Needless to say, this piece caused considerable controversy. Our opponent responded with outrage, and as a result our campaign received a great deal of press coverage. This was a very successful mailing, permanently establishing the image of our opponent as supporting higher and higher taxes in a state already known as 'Taxachusetts'.
Our second piece was a newspaper style 'compare and contrast' brochure inserted in the local weekly papers the week before the general election. This brochure was unusual in that it had a picture of our opponent on the cover and selectively detailed his record, contrasting it with what Peter would do in office.
Again, this piece caused a firestorm of controversy. Our opponent didn't contest the facts portrayed in the brochure, but rather the timing of its release, claiming it did not offer an opportunity to respond.
When Election Day came, we had a fantastic party, but Peter did not win. He had come close enough, though, that he was regarded as a strong contender in the next election, whether or not the incumbent chose to run.
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