Posted in its entirety after the jump.

November 11, 2010

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your incredibly generous support of the Ohio Democratic Party’s (ODP) 2010 Election effort.

Though last Tuesday’s election results did not go our way, your strong support allowed ODP and our Coordinated Campaign to nearly pull off an upset victory during one of the worst economic climates in generations.

How close was the election?

·         Gov. Ted Strickland’s loss margin (2%) was the closest in the country where Republicans picked up Democratic-held gubernatorial seats.  These states include: OH, WI, PA, IA, MI, KS, ME, NM, OK, TN, and WY.

·         In these other states, the Democratic nominee won an average of just 41% of votes cast. That margin would have meant a 647,033 vote loss in Ohio.  Instead, we lost by only 97,052 votes out of 3,749,792 cast.

WHAT YOU HELPED US BUILD
The program you helped us build made this election incredibly close. You helped us invest in polling, modeling, micro-targeting, smart programs, and more than 300 experienced, battle-tested campaign staff who dedicated themselves to holding Ohio for Democrats.
Our Research and Communications teams aggressively used our opposition research to define John Kasich and the GOP ticket, holding more than 250 earned media events across the state highlighting our opponents’ plans and records.
Our Grassroots Organizing team identified and engaged tens of thousands of volunteers, knocked on more than 1,775,927 doors and made 5,391,767 calls to voters in all 88 counties in the final six months of the campaign.
Our Early Vote program successfully pushed 111,810 infrequent-voting Democrats to request and return ballots during the 35-day Early Vote period.  This is nearly five times the 23,267 infrequent voting Republicans who voted early. In fact, 44% of early voters were Democrats while 31% were Republicans.  Our Early Vote effort gave Governor Strickland a 54,427 vote margin going into Election Day.
Finally, in a final four-day sprint, our GOTV Team blitzed targeted voters across the state, knocking on 586,858 doors and making 2,339,647 calls to get out our vote. In particular, our urban turnout program worked in many places: Exit polls show that 15% of the 2010 electorate was African American, 3% higher than 2006.

SO WHY DID DEMOCRATS LOSE IN OHIO?

As we said back in our initial strategic blueprint in September 2009, “Ohio Democrats face daunting challenges: a tough economy, a frustrated and angry electorate, and a nationwide dip in support for incumbent officeholders.”
And though Democrats in Ohio ran a strong campaign, in the end, it was not enough to overcome voter frustration and anger caused by job loss, economic insecurity, and relentless GOP messaging that blamed Democrats for the economic crisis the GOP created and we inherited.
The fact that Republican policies at the state and federal levels had cost Ohio hundreds of thousands of jobs (many of them shipped overseas) didn’t matter to the greater part of Ohio voters.
In fact, the economically hardest-hit rural counties had the most dramatic turnout declines compared to 2006. Rural voters who turned out in large numbers to support Gov. Strickland in 2006 stayed home in 2010.  That, combined with smaller turnout declines in selected urban areas and moderate gains by the GOP in their strongholds, ultimately cost us the election.

THE LASTING VALUE OF YOUR INVESTMENT IN ODP

Though we might not have had the success we wanted on Election Day in Ohio, your investment in the Ohio Democratic Party remains a smart one that will pay dividends for years to come.

First, you helped us build a new model of State Democratic Party, one that invests early to build a robust political infrastructure that competes in all 88 counties. Already, other states nationally are asking us to help them with their Party-building efforts heading into the 2012 cycle.

Second, Ohio’s strategic importance will only increase for 2012. Senator Sherrod Brown, a true champion for working families, is on the ballot and his re-election is crucial for Democrats to retain a majority in the U.S. Senate. Similarly, the road to the White House will once again run through Ohio. In fact, Democratic losses in 2010 in Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania only increase Ohio’s importance and the groundwork you’ve helped us lay this year will make us better prepared to win in 2012.

But most importantly, your support of the Party and our candidates paved the way for Ohio to make considerable progress during the past four years under Gov. Strickland, Lt. Governor Lee Fisher, our statewide officials, members of Congress, and our other Democratic leaders.  During this time, we expanded job opportunities and job training programs. We took on big corporations and held Wall Street accountable. We expanded health care coverage. We made drastic improvements to Ohio’s elections system.

We saved taxpayer money by making wise investments. We brought more balance to our courts. We have made Ohio a national leader in education and we made it easier for families to send their kids to college. And we lowered taxes for Ohio businesses, seniors and middle class families. Your support of the Party and our elected officials made this progress possible and for that we will be forever grateful.
While this election may be over, the larger battle continues. And the Ohio Democratic Party will continue to stand up for Ohio’s working families. We will continue to aggressively articulate and defend our Democratic values. We will continue to build the farm team of future elected officials. And we will continue laying the groundwork to be victorious at all levels in 2012.

Again, thank you for your generous support of the Ohio Democratic Party and our 2010 election efforts.

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  • Ian

    It’s odd isn’t it? The memo suggests we did everything possible, but for the fact that the darned national economy and state job loss held us back. Baloney!
    The fact remains the party completely failed to reach its under riding and most critical goal of a political party: Get the Base Out. That’s it – get the base out to vote. Instead of focusing on the base, they focused on Infrequent Voters. ODP’s ED answered the question as to why they didn’t have Dem Base canvasses, direct mail, phone call programs and general outreach: “Because we already have (your) vote.”
    Hello? We’re Democrats and if you know anything about the Democratic Base (ANYTHING), you know that you have to work with, educate and motivate the base. You do not take them for granted.
    I wish the memo had actually addressed that we had the greatest loss of the party in decades, and that we had a plan. But I think had I read that, I might have cringed thinking back to this year – where I know they hadn’t a clue.

  • Anonymous

    But the reality is Ian, that those frequent Democratic voters DID vote. So we didn’t lose because they didn’t target highly likely Democratic voters. They didn’t target independents, they targeted Democrats, but Democrats who first voted in 2006 or 2008. They still stayed home. We lost. It’s realy that simple.

  • Ian

    The Party targeted infrequent voters. The ED even said, ODP wasn’t targeting dem Precincts because “we have your votes.”

    Frequent voters do not constitute the entire base. Additionally, across the state we are seeing data in which the Dem Precincts were dramatically low. Dems hold a 1M voter advantage in Ohio. We had a 500K reduction in total voters that turned out this year compared to 2006. Dems fail to get out, we lose.

  • John Ryerson

    We, meaning ODP and activists, failed in two areas:

    1. We had no message.
    2. Our tactics failed.

    Let’s address them both ASAP.

    ODP has to be open to other voices and opinions. In our county, the ODP representative could not/would not listen to our ideas, the ideas of people who had been on the ground for 20 plus years. How did that strategy work? We got wiped out.

  • progressive dem

    No message??? How about steady leadership, support for education, fighting for everyday people. We lost because the economy was bad and because our turnout failed in the Northeast. We should have won Portage and Stark Counties. We needed 30-40k more votes out of Cuyahoga, 8-15k out of Summit, and a similar pattern across the Northeast part of the state. Ted Strickland land came through. The home of another..ahem.. candidate didn’t.

  • Ian

    John, you’re absolutely right. And Progressive Dem, sorry, I like Ted Strickland, but what exactly was the message (Wall Street’s bad and so’s John Kasich)?
    To win, you must not only stand FOR something, but communicate what you stand for repetitively and convincingly. What’s more, you have to have a program that will reach out to your base and activate them.
    With over 27 years of campaigns, I am tired of the excuses of
    we couldn’t win, it was the economy. The fact is we could win, but some folks in ODP and the Strickland Campaigns (while quite possibly wonderful people) screwed up in strategy and tactics). You want to win again, figure out what happened, why it happened and implement the actions that were successful again. Choose not to and wander the darkness as we did in the 90’s. There is a way to win. John’s right, we’ve been here for a long time, we know the terrain, listen to your base and stop being a bunch of smug/arrogant asses… and we can win again.

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