CofC's 2010 gubernatoral campaign strategy forum


Being an adjunct professor in the College of Charleston's Department of Communication, I decided to do lunch sitting in on their latest event in their ongoing Bully Pulpit series. Today's event discussed the good, bad and otherwise of the 2010 South Carolina gubernatorial campaign.

Moderated by Robert Behre of the Charleston Post and Courier, the panelists were Trav Robertson, campaign manager for Democrat Vince Sheheen, Tim Pearson, campaign manager for Republican Nikki Haley, Democratic political advisor Phil Noble and former Sanford staffer Chris Allen.

Credit for the event is also due to Dr. Bethany Goodier, the Chair of the Department.

The freewheeling event covered a lot of ground, as is often the case at Bully Pulpit events. Those who subscribe to the Blogland's Twitter feed got a 44 installment play-by-play of highlights from the event.

Those of you who didn't, but want to see what was said just need to click on the "Read More" link to see who said what:


For closing Q, TP refuses to answer question about publicized text msgs with Will Folks. Student Q&A: Negative ads, business community role, role of student voters

Biggest mistake TP: "We were slow in transition from primary to general. We let Sheheen run July and August."

Biggest mistake TR cont'd: "I underestimated anger of voters in Congressional races". Names 2nd and 5th district races.

Biggest mistake TR: This was our race to lose, and we lost it. Democrats have done a poor job of communicating with swing and new voters

TP responding to PhilN: new media techology does move people to help ground game, but not large numbers of voters.

Robert Behre: Reporters around state email each other constantly about in-development stories so news travels fast.

TP: Used to think toughest campaign job was scheduler, now it's press secretary.

TP/TR agree again: New media has created a non-stop news cycle.

TP agrees with TR: "New media is a blessing and a curse".

TR: integrated new media approached boosted organizational development and fundraising. But created an "almost unmanageable situation"

Chris Allen: SC political twitters generate volume of information, but not winning over people.

Phil Noble: Didn't see a lot of impact by new media in 2010 race.

TP: TR's favorite ad "worked". Stopped growth of support for Haley and closed gap in polls.

Best TV ad: TR "questions about Haley". TP "three other candidates" primary, "direct address" spot in general.

TP: Sheheen ran 8 days of positive ads. High volume of negative ads backfired. "At some point, people want to know about you".

TR: We had a situation that Republicans were beating themselves.

Phil Noble shows chart of polling showing race closing, but points out best anti-Haley ads fell short due to lack of money.

TR: Congressional and national issues voting, not gubernatorial race, drove 2010 voter turnout.

TP: Haley talked about specific ideas and issues which generated enthusiastic responses among voters.

Chris Allen works to steer discussion away from Folks allegations.

TP: Folks allegations are not why Haley won nomination.

TR: we need more than one blogger feeding media. Gives Blogland a plug.

TR on Haley/Folks: We weren't going to get involved and we didn't know about it

Phil Noble to TP: It's clear you had a long relationship with Folks and Folks with Haley.

TP: media demands accountabilty but does not apply it to self.

TP: criticized news media for following Folks "without a shred of proof"

TR: late decision to go on air in g'ville market and avoiding robert ford's backyard made difference

TR: Rex folks did not realize how people resented their campaign approach using local issues.

TP seemed to think Barrett was one to beat. "We could deal with McMaster". No mention of Bauer.

TP: our goal was to get into run-off.

TP: when you're 4th out of 4, debates are good opportunity to punch through. Haley was aggressive to punch through, create alternative

TP: don't get married during a campaign. If you do, don't fly back quickly to avoid upsetting in-laws

TR: campaign created impression of large field team to rally support.

TP: Dems did a good job of overcoming fundraising disadvantages to get their message out.

TR: campaign made point to publicize fundraising progress to show viability while conserving money. "Money was show of power"

Tim P: "we weren't paying much attention to Dem primary". Trav R: "We were paying attention to yours"

Phil Noble's experience is allowing him to make some good assessments.

Phil Noble: Best description of race was from Tucker Eskew. SC is 55/45 GOP unless Dems change the game.

Chris Allen: 2010 race was like 2002 on GOP side, but not on Dem side. Outsider GOP nom, party regular Dem nom.

TimP: Keys to primary win: Romney & Palin endorsements, plays diplomatic "everything else is pretty well documented" w/o elaborating.

TravR: Key moments in Dem primary: Riley endorses, Mullins McLeod dropping out

Robert Behre, Post & Courier moderating event.

At the CofC 2010 gubernatorial campaign recap.

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