1. If an incumbent votes with you, you support him. His opponent may promise more than
the incumbent, but the opponent may be lying. If you do not support a politician who votes
your way, he will have no reason to stick with you and neither will the rest of the
2. If an incumbent votes against you, you oppose him. If you do not, he will receive no
meaningful negative feedback for his bad vote. It does not matter that his opponent may
turn out to be worse.
3. In open seats look for the good and the bad in the candidates for that seat. The NRA
questionnaire is useful and it puts the candidate on notice regarding our issues. However,
politicians lie. The most accurate record of what a politician will do is to check what he
has done in the past in another political office he has held.
4. Primary elections require fewer votes to win, and therefore each vote has a greater
impact than in the general election. This is an excellent point to weed out the bad
CANDIDATE You cannot beat something with nothing. If you wish to replace an incumbent
he must have a strong opponent who is willing to spend the money to communicate (usually
by mail) to all voters.
TIME - Each step in the political process has a deadline. Everything you do in a
campaign must be done before the election and on schedule. If there is one ILA failing, it
is timely, accurate two-way communications between staff and local KNOWLEDGEABLE
activists. The problem is finding good, knowledgeable activists and maintaining timely
two-way communication. For a typical state legislative race approximately 4 months
MONEY - You must have the money to spend on your communications to voter. This is
usually equal to number of households times postage plus printing.
PEOPLE - You need people to do everything that needs doing in a campaign. These people
will also be a visible demonstration that your campaign has the support of the people in
the voting district. The NRA Grass Roots program is a way to find the necessary people.
ISSUES - In a campaign, in order to win your must use ANY and ALL issue against your
NEGATIVE CAMPAIGNS - Negative campaigns work. However, the negative charges must be
made by a credible OUTSIDE person or group--NOT the candidate you wish to win, NOR his
party. This works best if the OUTSIDE person or group is local to the area and well-known.
We hope YOU can be this person. All politics is local.
LIES MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO STAND - Each lie or false charge in a campaign must be
answered promptly and answered directly to the voters in the district.
COMMUNICATIONS - Communications such as mailings only work if they arrive in a timely
fashion. There are three reasons to make them: (1) To spread the word about events and
proposals that the media will not broadcast. (2) To raise money. (3) To increase
membership in you’re voting bloc or interest group (such as the NRA). The persons you
are mailing to must be the ones who will vote your way with the information you give them.
You must get a list of such persons. The list of voters is one place to start. However
these are all kinds of people including anti-gun people. You can use list of
"customers" of your favorite place to shop for the thinks you like if the owner
will trust you.
RULES Some states have run-off elections and some do not. If it is a primary contest,
many fewer votes are needed to win.
SOMETHING TO REMEMBER At any time, about 66% of the people are of voting age. Of these,
50% to 60% will vote in a general election. This means that if the vote is split
fifty/fifty between two candidates, each candidate receives at most about 19% of the
available votes. Therefore, motivating only a few percentage points of the voters on any
issue can change the outcome.
FIRST CAMPAIGN EXAMPLE This is a campaign in which I was involved. In this case we had
a member of the state house of representatives who was introducing bad gun bills and
pushing them every legislative session. Right after the legislative session was over; I
got one other person to form a political committee with me. We filed with the state board
of elections. Here was our situation:
Time -- We had 4 months to organize.
Money -- We decided to split the cost of 3000 post cards and printing between us. In a
larger campaign you must ask your friends and fellow club members for the money to operate
the campaign. Do this by mail, and call and visit those who can give a little more.
People -- We used approximately 9 volunteers to clear an old mailing list. We gathered
the names and addresses of firearms owners from THOSE WHO HAD THEM. I worked each gun club
giving each secretary enough cards to cover all club members in the zip codes of the
politician we were trying to defeat. They would not give us the list but were glad to mail
Negative Campaign--We ran a negative campaign on the gun issue.
Communications -- We wrote up in 250 words the politician's bill and what it would do
to gun owners. We used his voting record and the bills he introduced and almost got
passed. It was a difficult job coming up with those 250 words. We stressed that violating
his proposed law would have subjected gun owners to a $1000 fine a year in prison and loss
of the right to ever again own firearms. Post cards have the following advantages: they
are first class mail, they do not have to be opened, and since people get so few of them
they read them.
Rules -- The campaign was in a Democratic primary in a liberal Jewish district. There
were 11 candidates. The top 3 candidates got the Democratic nomination. All three
incumbents were running, including the politician we wished to defeat.
Results -- We mailed the postcards a week and a half before the election. There were
11000 votes cast. The politician we were trying to defeat was number FOUR in the voting by
333 votes. He lost. We won.
SECOND CAMPAIGN EXAMPLE This campaign was in the rural South. In this district the
incumbent was strongly pro-gun, but he had won by only 77 votes in a special election. In
the voting district there existed a small pro-gun, conservative newspaper. The largest
newspaper was typical media garbage. In this election we decided to latch onto the small
paper's credibility. We got a group of volunteers to contribute money to the paper so it
could afford a special edition. In the mean time we had a volunteer use his computer to
strip out all black voters since they usually vote Democrat. (If I had found black voters
who would have voted for us I would have communicated with them.) Our opponent was a trial
lawyer, so we had the computer volunteer strip out all lawyers. Finally, we stripped out
all known friends of the opponent. Then we had our computer volunteer print out male heads
of households on labels. If the head of household was a woman she got the mailing. The
special edition of the paper contained a very good article on our candidate, a damaging
article on the opponent, and an article by me on what our candidate had done for gun
owners. We also posted signs for our progun candidate at a gun show the weekend before the
election. I posted one on every wall and pole facing the people at the gun show. I also
posted them in the men’s room on the door of each stall and over every urinal. Our
candidate won by 150 votes per precinct, with a final tally of 60% of the vote.
THIRD CAMPAIGN EXAMPLE This campaign, which I was not involved, was used against the
infamous anti-gun politician Roberti in California. The progun activists used a novel
technique. They mailed to gun club members and progun people, asking them for money and
for mailing volunteers. The volunteers were given a prepared information sheet and
pre-printed labels addressed to the voters in the politician's district, and were asked to
send copies of the information sheet to these voters. The activists found that they could
get much greater results with the volunteer mailers than they ever could by asking for
money and doing the mailings themselves. As well, the volunteers enjoyed it and this
campaign technique, repeated many times, brought down the most powerful man in the
California state senate.