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Inside a Democratic Campaign—Last-Minute Expenditures


Getting Out the Vote Campaigns

Candidates often turn to last minute expenditures in get out the vote efforts as a way to make effective use of campaign funds. This can include phone bank service, robocalls, and paid canvass. While I am not a fan of robotic phone calls, especially in the era of cell phones, many of these last-minute expenses are a way to try and make sure you bank votes for your candidates.

For Jessica Jones, these expenses are one of the last minute expenses she is planning on making. Jones has committed to join with other candidates in providing a full service phone bank and some funds for a paid canvass in her district to turn out voters. She’ll allocate whatever resources needed toward that effort.

Digital Campaigns Can Get Off the Ground Fast

While mail programs can take significant time to get approved, printed, stamped and delivered, a digital campaign can occur in a matter of minutes. Candidates may be encouraged to pay for increased content on sites like Facebook, Google, YouTube or anywhere else.

With video production cost low at the moment and small state campaigns looking for content they can help make viral, a digital ad campaign can be a solid last minute solution to build name ID and increase voter participation.

Making Sure Expenses & Bills Are Paid

One last minute expense that campaigns often forget is that bills still need to be paid. Campaigns often have outstanding debt to people who put service into a campaign. It is important that you try to pay all the bills you know are outstanding or have a plan to do so. Do not get surprised by a last minute bill you are unprepared to pay.

It is not unusual for a campaign to lose track of expenditures. This is why it is also important to make sure you follow up with vendors and staff who worked for the campaign. From mileage reimbursements to campaign loans, these are the kind of expenses you take care of at the very, very end, days before the election where there are few expenses you can make that will impact the voter totals in your district.

Final Thoughts

It may be only October 1, but candidates are already thinking of many expenses as last-minute planning. This is the time where you want to make sure that you are doing everything possible to bring home a win. Donors are okay with expenses that don’t work out. Many donors are not okay with campaigns that end up significantly in the black—they wonder why they gave money if you didn’t spend it.

Next Week: Media Responses.

Nuts & Bolts: Building Democratic Campaigns

Contact the Daily Kos group Nuts and Bolts by kosmail (members of Daily Kos only).

Every Saturday this group will chronicle the ins and outs of campaigns, small and large. Issues to be covered:** Campaign Staffing, Fundraising, Canvass, Field Work, Data Services, Earned Media, Spending and Budget Practices, How to Keep Your Mental Health, and on the last Saturday of the month: Don’t Do This!”** a diary on how you can learn from the mistakes of campaigns in the past.

You can follow prior installments in this series HERE.

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