You’ve heard a lot from me about campaign yard signs: when they work and they don’t. But just like LeVar Burton said on Reading Rainbow, “but you don’t have to take my word on it.” To get a variety of opinions and discover more strategies that work, we’re asking elected officials, candidates, staffers, and other activists about their experience with political signs.
You ran for state Representative in 2010. Â Why did you decide to throw your hat into the ring?
The LCDC selection committee asked me to run. Â I declined the first time they asked, but they asked again just a few days before the convention and I decided to accept. Â They said they had about ten applicants but that they thought I would be a strong candidate and that this was a winnable race.
Did you order campaign yard signs? Â If so, why did you decide to order yard signs and how many did you ultimately order?
Ken Ralph ordered the signs from a company in the Midwest. Â Our original plan was to order 500, but pour fund-raising exceeded expectations so we ordered 750. Â We considered 1,000, but we decided that 750 was more than enough to saturate the district. Â That represented about 1 sign for every 50 registered voter.
Tell me about the design of your yard signs. Â What did they look like?
The signs said â??ELECT POLICOFF PA HOUSE 41ST DISTRICT.â? Â In large block letters. Â The background was blue, letters white, border blue inside white and white.
Where did you distribute the signs and why? Â Did you put them out along the highway or in voters’ yards?
All of the above. Â We put them wherever they were legal because we had more than enough. Â When we knocked on doors we asked people who seemed receptive if they wanted a sign for their yard.
Were you able to make use of all of the signs that you bought or, in hindsight, did you order too many?
We probably could have ordered 600 to 650, but we did get all the signs deployed before the election, including at most polling places. Â I donâ??t think weâ??d have ordered fewer signs if we had it to do over again. Â Everywhere I went people commented that they were seeing my signs all over the place. Â Perhaps I would have added the words â??Democratâ? and my web site url if I had it to do over again. Â I left that stuff to others.
Any parting thoughts about political yard signs or politics more generally?
I thought the signs were an important purchase because my opponent bought lots of them. Â It took quite some time to get an effective team put together because many people who promised to help went AWOL. Â Once things fell into place I really enjoyed running, and in a normal year I think I could have won. Â I got more than 30 major endorsements including the Intel, and I got excellent press despite running as a committed progressive in a red conservative district. Â I would consider doing it again. Â On the other hand I am disgusted that Obama has chosen to govern as a tool of Wall Street, and that the Democrats, after securing strong majorities in both houses of Congress, allowed the Republicans and Blue Dogs set the agenda.
I have no doubt that this is why we took such a pummeling in November. Â Many Democrats and Independents were fed up and decided to stay home while the extreme right wing of the Republican Party sensed an opportunity and turned out in force. Â I intend to work very hard to primary DINO Democrats, and I will very possibly withhold my support and my vote from them if they are nominated. Â Right-wing Corporate Democrats have seized control of the Party, and it is time to take it back.
* This goes without saying, but the thoughts expressed by Jerry are his own. Â Same goes with anyone else I interview!