Eber | Steve Frank Campaign Training Seminar

 

 

 

By Richard Eber, California Political News and Views

Stephen Frank

Its 11:05 on a Saturday morning at the activity center of Rossmoor Senior Living in Walnut Creek California.  Steve Frank patiently waits until the Stamp Collecting Club finishes their meeting; after which room “C” is turned over to a Republican Group who is sponsoring his appearance.

The diminutive Frank, who has been involved with Republican candidates since he worked for Barry Goldwater in 1964, was preparing to give a 4 hour seminar free to all who attended on the different steps, procedures, and strategies in running a political campaign. For this session, there are about 35 individuals present who are thinking about running for office or actually find themselves in the process of doing so.

A half hour later the seminar begins with a prayer, singing the National Anthem and a slightly off tune rendition of God Bless America.   All the feelings were sincere and no one was kneeling as might be seen by those in attendance at NFL games the following day.

Frank’s presentation is intended for those who have not run for office before and a kind of refresher course for those who have had past experience in this area.  He emphasized organizing each district breaking them down by precincts using volunteers within these geographical areas to communicate with voters.  That message is to be obtained by surveying residents of what issues are important to them.

With the advent of district elections in California, Frank advocates breaking down precincts with the goal of getting the required number of votes from each segment needed to win.  The key to all of this is precinct walking by the candidate and volunteers in the campaign.  Along with these town halls, meet and greets, an important part of the campaign is a short stump speech which discusses a short list of topics of local interest.

Frank emphasized that with a strong ground game, it is possible to win district elections without securing the support of special interest mega donors which is often required with at large contests.

He covered everything from lawn sign placements, direct mail, low cost newspaper advertising, press releases, putting together e-mail, lists, to developing a time line in a political campaign.  Frank  urged attendees to begin what amounts to a hybrid marketing plan some 10 months prior to a general election.

New people were pleased with the presentation which mentioned things that had not been previously thought of.  John Crowder, who is running for the Contra Costa County Education Board said, “Being brand new running for office it was great to learn about such things as lawn sign placement, slate cards, and finding different ways to engage the community.”

Jeff Belle, who is an incumbent running for reelection for the same board said, “Indeed, it was great to see so many young and diverse group of conservatives seeking to become a public servant. Steve Frank and Liz Ritchie provided an excellent forum for those who are willing to “play to win.” The fact is, renting an office is less costly than running for an office. Dr. Clyde Lewis, Eva Chao and others offer hope for a new paradigm in an old game of local politics.”

Those present were not high powered politicos who came to hear Steve Frank’s thoughts. Most of the individuals in attendance were ordinary citizens that have been upset the last few years about the poor way their government has operated from local school boards to the bowels of power in Washington D.C

With California in particular there was concern about

  • Low performing schools well below the national average
  • High crime rates and unreported criminal activity of illegal aliens crowding the state
  • The continuing loss of local control in making decisions in local government by the power elite in Sacramento.
  • The eroding middle class in California and a deteriorating quality of life.

Typical of those who attended this seminar is Clyde Lewis who is running for the school board in Antioch.   He said “As a parent in the community it is important for students to have proper support to move them towards their desired goals.”  Lewis wants the school district to judge different educational approaches including charter schools to put achievement before politics. John  Crowder agreed saying “students are so far behind they need better choices.”

Even though Republican registration is down in California to just below 25% of registered voters, those in attendance were not reluctant to proclaim themselves to be conservatives and members of the Republican Party.

Ellen Zhou, who previously ran as independent to become Mayor of San Francisco, decided to re-register as a Republican for the four year term election next year. Zhou, who immigrated from Canton China some 32 years ago said,  “I am tired of the crooks, insiders,  and the democratic machine that do not allow for others to compete against them in seeking elective office.”

Zhou, who came in a surprising 5th in the special election to emplace Ed Lee, who died earlier this year, believes that conservative Republican principles are held by the majority of Chinese voters in San Francisco who believe in strong family values.  We have to find a way to express ourselves and tell them our message that being a Republican is good for them”.

Such an attitude will be necessary from others who are seeking public office in California in the coming years.  This is one of the major reasons Frank has been crisis crossing the state from Tulare, San Jose, and Northern California to Pescadero and San Diego in the South.  His seminars are not only giving a road map for conservative candidates to win elections, but to revitalize the GOP of California to become a viable alternative to the progressive juggernaut that dominates the Golden State.

Frank hopes to turn a large number of declines to state voters who have left the party, disgruntled democrats and first registered folks, to join the ranks of the GOP.

Following the event at Rossmoor, Frank is soon driving down Hwy 5 to his home in Simi Valley where another week of similar meetings awaited him.  Walnut Creek is more to him than “just another town along the road.”  It is one of many key precincts that make up his informal electoral map in California.

Some day he dreams of giving the blue state of California a more purplish hue one candidate at a time.

Richard Eber studied journalism at the University of Oregon. He writes about politics, culture, education restaurants, and was former city and sports editor of UCSB Daily. Richard is president of Amerasa Rapid Transit, a specialized freight forwarder.


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