As part of their effort to position education reform among the top tier of issues being discussed by all candidates in the 2008 presidential campaign, a large education foundation approached our team to develop and execute a multi-state strategy that would use the presidential campaign as a platform to highlight the need for education reform.
Much like the presidential campaigns themselves, our activities focused on key states where we could have the greatest impact on the debate and convince the candidates to address education reform in their campaign platforms. Accordingly, we organized state chapters during the Spring of ’07 in the states which traditionally determine the nomination for each party (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina & Nevada) and shifted gears to focus on “battleground states” during the general election.
Our state-based teams recruited leaders from every campaign in both parties and worked with each campaign to host major kick-off events, followed by a series of monthly events in every key state. In addition, our supporters attended countless political and community events in key states – depending on the calendar – where they signed up supporters and generated visibility for the campaign.
Working with our local supporters, the campaign generated a variety of earned media and grassroots activities, such as media interviews, editorial board visits, op-eds in local newspapers, talk radio chatter and “intercepts” with key policy makers via personal visits, telephone calls, emails and letters. Despite external issues – such as the War in Iraq and the Stock Market Crash – as well as presidential candidates that spent in excess of $2 billion dollars, the campaign enjoyed remarkable success at elevating education reform as an issue of national importance and was even presented as a question in several presidential debates.