One key factor in our report card grade was whether the candidate was considered a “Champion for Community Issues”. This was an area of weakness in campaigns--four of the five candidates scored only 2 out of 5 stars on this factor.
Being a champion for “community issues,” the issues that matter most to those least likely to vote, is one of the most effective ways for a Democratic Senate candidate to increase turnout in a Presidential election year. It’s how the candidate cuts through the noise and gives people a reason to vote who would not otherwise do so. That most of the candidates got such a low score in this category is very troubling.
Governor Strickland is taking some steps that may raise his campaign’s score. He is conducting listening sessions in the African American and immigrant communities. His campaign plans to use these meetings to help shape positions and stands.
We’re eager to see whether his listening sessions result in a better score from community groups when we do our follow-up report cards. (We develop the score by getting input from community groups that seek to turn out less frequent voters in communities of color.) Will they feel he’s become a better advocate for issues their communities care about? We’ll keep you posted.