Lessons from last election: A big quote candidates should read

By Taxpayers Association of Oregon PAC

After the many surprises in the recent November election a few weeks ago, Chris Bedford, Common Sense Society Director, was on Fox News’ Laura Ingraham program to explain who was most effective and why.

“They [liberal candidates] did do some hard hitting adds. Talking about the real emotional things. They tried to do that in Kentucky, tagging with Joe Biden, but there was a popular governor, partially because he’s been so ineffective as a Democrat governor of Kentucky. The Democrats are really successful at pulling at the heartstrings these last couple of races we saw in Virginia and Kentucky, when they were talking about abortion, they had people who had been raped by family members talking straight to camera about this. The Republicans are talking about crime, they didn’t have the family and relatives who had been executed by MS13 [gang] in the state. They didn’t have the family and the relatives sitting there talking straight to camera. They were actors… [a]ds where they talk about the real victims and the real consequences of crime, people who are robbed and attacked by people who have been released by Soros prosecutors, that’s absolutely one way to go. And also look at Ohio, a place where the legislature passed a socially conservative bill. (On abortion) A place that has higher church attendance than most states in the union. How could they have passed this constitutional amendment…The way they did it was by through with the language of civil rights… Talking about the rights, talking about health, talking about life, and using these nice words, essentially, … They are very good at.”

We see this played out in Oregon,

– Liberal candidates tend to produce better emotional, emotive, relatable campaign messages
– Conservative candidates love to talk about crime, but rarely showcase either a crime victim or a crime authority in their messages.
– Conservative candidates love to talk about taxes, but seldom talk about how those taxes impact people’s everyday lives and actually hurt people.


Look at how effective these mail ads were on Oregon’s Measure 105


The No-campaign used real people and real media citations (and won).


Now take a similar hot button issue, taxes on groceries, and see how the no-tax side produced a bland mail piece. 

It is “food” focused and not “people” focused.  This measure effort failed.


Here is an Oregon campaign mailing that dealt with keeping taxes low.  The design is nice, but using stock photos instead of real people sharing their personal stories and no alarm messaging kept this mailer from having the power to push the measure past the finish line.  It failed.


Chris Bedford’s take on lessons from the November 2023 election are true for Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky as well as Oregon in the past.

The winner is the one who can best showcase strong emotional messaging as well as feature real people over actors and stock photos.

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