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May 16, 2011, 2:47 a.m.

‘06 can­did­ate/ex-Stam­ford May­or Dan Mal­loy (D) “holds a slight lead over” ex-Amb. to Ire­land Tom Fo­ley (R). Mal­loy, “who has is­sued 72 pages of policy po­s­i­tions and long-term plans for the state, would start to ad­dress the” $3.$B “de­fi­cit fa­cing the new gov­ernor by first go­ing after top- and middle-level man­agers.” Mal­loy “said he will cut by” 15% “the ap­point­ments he would play a dir­ect role in filling,” and “he will ask the ju­di­cial and le­gis­lat­ive branches to do the same.” Mal­loy “also plans to re­duce by one-third state agen­cies, de­part­ments and staffed com­mis­sions.”

“A ma­jor dif­fer­ence between Fo­ley and Mal­loy is Fo­ley’s pledge to close the de­fi­cit without new taxes while Mal­loy said he will con­sider them” (O’Leary, New Haven Re­gister, 10/10).

Fo­ley “says he has a leg­al tool avail­able to him to cut the budget that he won’t hes­it­ate to use.” Fo­ley: “De­clar­ing a fisc­al emer­gency al­lows a gov­ernor to no longer be bound by the uni­on con­tracts.”

SEIU Loc­al 1199 pres. Car­men Boud­i­er: “Tom Fo­ley clearly has no sense of how gov­ern­ment works. … The idea that any gov­ernor could ig­nore pub­lic em­ploy­ee con­tracts is ludicrous.”

Want More On This Race? Check out the Hot­line Dash­board for a com­pre­hens­ive run­down of this race, in­clud­ing stor­ies, polls, ads, FEC num­bers, and more!

Fo­ley “said he would cut” $2B “through uni­on con­ces­sions, privat­iz­ing state ser­vices” and 10-15% of the $7B “spent on health care for Medi­caid re­cip­i­ents and for state work­ers and re­tir­ees. He would tackle the re­main­ing” $1.4B short­fall “through more as­sist­ance from Wash­ing­ton and rev­en­ue from ad­di­tion­al jobs” (O’Leary, New Haven Re­gister, 10/10).

It’s Busi­ness Time

New Haven Re­gister en­dorsed Fo­ley 10/10. CT “voters will have to close their eyes and take a bit of a gamble when they vote for gov­ernor. The elec­tion is a choice between someone with ex­tens­ive polit­ic­al ex­per­i­ence and a new­comer to state polit­ics.”

“Neither can­did­ate has a cred­ible, pub­lic plan for bal­an­cing a state budget.” “We have found Fo­ley to be the more forth­right of the two can­did­ates. … Fo­ley’s re­cord as a busi­ness ex­ec­ut­ive is com­mend­able. His busi­ness skills in in­creas­ing pro­ductiv­ity while keep­ing an eye on costs are needed in the gov­ernor’s of­fice” (10/10).

Fu­ture Journ­al­ists Of Amer­ica

Fo­ley “does not prefer Snooki to The Situ­ation.” “In fact, he told Led­y­ard High School’s news­magazine, The Col­on­el, he hasn’t had time to watch TV since he star­ted cam­paign­ing.”

Fo­ley’s “cam­paign agreed to a tele­phone in­ter­view” for this Thursday’s cov­er story. Mal­loy’s cam­paign “did not re­turn re­peated e-mails.” The in­ter­view “deals largely with Fo­ley’s bio­graphy and the reas­ons he be­lieves he would serve” CT well as GOV. “The ‘Jer­sey Shore’ com­ments came at the very end” (Col­lette, New Lon­don Day, 10/10).

One of the best kept secrets of Pres­id­ent Obama’s 2007-08 cam­paign was how much its struc­ture and stra­tegic fo­cus was in­flu­enced by the Bush-Cheney reelec­tion strategy. Obama wanted to cre­ate the same kind of voter data­bases and con­tact schemes. He marveled at the Bush op­er­a­tion’s abil­ity to identi­fy po­ten­tial sup­port­ers, learn their likes and dis­likes, and keep them mo­tiv­ated.

Obama’s team looked at the 2004 race with a mix­ture of re­vul­sion and awe. Bush’s com­pos­ite ap­prov­al rat­ing on Elec­tion Day was 48.9 per­cent (48 per­cent ac­cord­ing to Gal­lup). The coun­try was be­com­ing more du­bi­ous about the Ir­aq war. Bush’s Su­preme-Court-sanc­ti­fied pres­id­ency looked to be in jeop­ardy.

Bush’s chal­lenger, John Kerry, har­nessed every avail­able tool with­in the Demo­crat­ic Party to build voter turnout. Labor uni­ons and party act­iv­ists abet­ted those ef­forts with the most ex­pens­ive and far-flung get-out-the-vote ef­fort ever. And it worked. Kerry ex­pan­ded the Demo­crat­ic vote by more than 8 mil­lion — from Al Gore’s 50,999,897 to his 59,028,444. The only two com­par­able cycle-to-cycle boosts in voter turnout were Pres­id­ent Carter’s 11.6-mil­lion-vote gain over George McGov­ern’s lackluster 1972 cam­paign, and Pres­id­ent John­son’s 8.9-mil­lion-vote vault over Pres­id­ent Kennedy’s 1960 total. But Kerry’s was more im­press­ive. He took on a White House in­cum­bent, built off Gore’s 2000 plur­al­ity of 48.4 per­cent, and found 8 mil­lion new votes.

And lost.

Be­cause Bush was the bet­ter com­munity or­gan­izer.

Bush in­creased his vote by 11.6 mil­lion, also without pre­ced­ent in mod­ern Re­pub­lic­an Party pres­id­en­tial polit­ics. In the key state of Ohio, the pres­id­ent upped his vote by more than 500,000. Bush also won two states that he had lost to Gore: Iowa and New Mex­ico. The Bush ground game in­creased its cycle-to-cycle vote in Iowa by more than 117,000 (18 per­cent) and in New Mex­ico by more than 110,000 (41 per­cent). Neither state, un­like Ohio, had a bal­lot ini­ti­at­ive to ban gay mar­riage (which Demo­crats ar­gue ar­ti­fi­cially in­creased that state’s GOP turnout). Bush be­came the first pres­id­ent to win reelec­tion with a 48 per­cent ap­prov­al rat­ing — by or­gan­iz­ing a big­ger Bush-Cheney com­munity.

Obama and his team went to work on Bush’s get-out-the-vote ef­forts and mi­crotar­get­ing — a new meth­od of voter out­reach that com­bined con­sumer pref­er­ences with polling data to sharpen voter ap­peals and in­crease the suc­cess of dir­ect cam­paign con­tact with po­ten­tial voters. Obama also built per­man­ent grass­roots or­gan­iz­a­tions and har­nessed en­thu­si­asm for “change.”

The en­thu­si­asm for Obama now is not like it was then. But ground op­er­a­tions are ro­bust. In just about any big city, one can find Obama reelec­tion events. Take Las Ve­gas. From Tues­day un­til March 31, the cam­paign has 156 (you read that right, 156) events planned — meet-ups, voter-re­gis­tra­tion drives, phone banks, neigh­bor­hood walks, house parties, and cof­fees. An out­lier? The cam­paign has 63 events sched­uled for the same peri­od in Raleigh, N.C. Obama’s Chica­go headquar­ters builds aware­ness and con­nec­ted­ness to these events and reelec­tion mes­saging via Face­book (25.3 mil­lion likes), Twit­ter (12.7 mil­lion fol­low­ers) and oth­er so­cial-me­dia plat­forms.

“They have taken a ma­jor­ity of the voter-con­tact tech­niques that were the hall­mark of the Bush-Cheney cam­paign and the [Re­pub­lic­an Na­tion­al Com­mit­tee and] taken it in­to the data arena with so­cial me­dia,” said former RNC Chair­man Ed Gillespie. “They are stor­ing data and match­ing it up. They are very far ahead of the curve on this, and on the con­ser­vat­ive/Re­pub­lic­an side, we are dan­ger­ously be­hind. I don’t know why.”

Gillespie knows that Obama doesn’t need the turnout op­er­a­tion he had in 2008 to win. Obama won 52.9 per­cent of the vote four years ago, and he can slough off 2.5 per­cent and still pre­vail, even more if a third-party can­did­ate is in the mix. “They know they won’t have as much or­gan­ic turnout as they did in 2008,” Gillespie said. “So they are try­ing to off­set it with man­u­fac­tured turnout. I do ad­mire it.”

Phil­lip Stutts, who ran the RNC’s ground op­er­a­tions in 2004, said that the num­ber of or­gan­iz­ing events Obama’s team is con­duct­ing now may, in the end, prove to be wasted ef­fort. “Are they talk­ing to in­de­pend­ent voters or are they just talk­ing to them­selves?”

Still, Stutts con­cedes that Demo­crats “have over­taken” Re­pub­lic­ans in terms of state-to-state or­gan­iz­ing and voter mo­bil­iz­a­tion. The RNC is try­ing to play catch-up. On Thursday, it will an­nounce state dir­ect­ors in Flor­ida, North Car­o­lina, Ohio, and Vir­gin­ia, and will have dir­ect­ors in Col­or­ado, Nevada, and New Mex­ico by the end of April. In 2008 John Mc­Cain‘s pres­id­en­tial cam­paign didn’t de­ploy state dir­ect­ors un­til mid-June. Also, the RNC will, for the first time, de­ploy a His­pan­ic voter-out­reach dir­ect­or in every battle­ground state.

If the elec­tion is close this year, Stutts said that the value of Obama’s grass­roots or­gan­iz­ing and so­cial-me­dia ad­vocacy could turn the tide. “It’s go­ing to give them a field goal; it’s not go­ing to give them a touch­down,” he said of Obama’s ground game. “His so­cial-me­dia ad­vant­age, though, may give them an ex­tra safety.”

That’s five points in foot­ball. That prob­ably trans­lates to a per­cent­age or two na­tion­wide.  And that could make all the dif­fer­ence for the cur­rent com­munity or­gan­izer who doubles as pres­id­ent.

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