Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Christine Quinn's Campaign Infrastructure Is A Joke

The NY Times has a story out today reporting that Christine Quinn is sending out troops of volunteer  workers and interns to carry her message to neighborhoods all over New York City.

The Times says Quinn has 1,822 volunteers and interns going door to door for the City Council Speaker.

Here is the response some of those Quinn campaign workers are getting:

In the Bayside section of Queens, a volunteer had barely begun her sales pitch for Christine C. Quinn’s mayoral campaign when the middle-aged man who answered the door cut her off. “She was the one responsible, in the City Council, for giving Bloomberg a third term,” he barked. “I hold that against her.” 

The volunteer calmly countered that it was New Yorkers, not Ms. Quinn, who “voted the mayor back in.” 

In Astoria, Queens, a woman in her 30s told another Quinn volunteer that the candidate’s sometimes brash personality had rubbed her the wrong way. 

The volunteer gamely explained that Ms. Quinn’s flashes of temper “come from a place of love and passion.”

Not exactly winning the hearts and minds of New Yorkers over.

But the Times goes on to report that Quinn's ground game is the most extensive and well-funded of any of the Democratic candidates and is built on the premise that if Mike Bloomberg could win re-election in 2009 by having his campaign workers knock on 600,000 doors, Christine Quinn can win election to City Hall in 2013 by doing the same.

Except that it is not true.

Quinn is paying none of these volunteers and interns, the campaign operation is barely funded and nowhere near as sophisticated as Quinn's people want to project, and the contact stats the campaign is claiming it is making with voters are phonied up

Here is how the Times describes the Quinn ground game:

Drawing from the city’s elite private high schools and upstate universities, the Quinn campaign has established an elaborate internship and fellowship program, complete with weekly seminars, guest speakers and a recommended reading list. Among the suggested books is “Get Out the Vote: How to Increase Voter Turnout,” by Donald Green and Alan Gerber. 

Since April, her team has recruited 622 interns and 1,200 volunteers, who have knocked on 412,000 doors and called 234,000 homes, aides to Ms. Quinn said. 

In keeping with the campaign’s penny-pinching ethos, workers make calls from their own cellphones, pay for their own transportation and are instructed to return every pen. Inside Ms. Quinn’s political headquarters, near the World Trade Center site, there is a reminder next to the light switch: “The campaign pays for our electricity; don’t waste it.” 

But meeting the campaign’s high-octane goals has tested the patience and stamina of some young volunteers, a few of whom complained in interviews of insufficient training, punishing hours spent alone in unfamiliar neighborhoods and a preoccupation with breaking previous campaign records.
Elizabeth Westrope, a petite 22-year-old, recalled being sent to the Fordham Heights section of the Bronx on her first day as a volunteer with what she said was cursory preparation. Her team leader set a goal of knocking on 100 doors in an hour, a rate of nearly two doors per minute, according to a copy of the text message he sent to her. 

While canvassing in the Bronx on her second day, Ms. Westrope said, she was surrounded by a group of men who made sexually explicit remarks to her. When she sought permission to leave her post, she was told by a superior to stay in the neighborhood knocking on doors, then encouraged by a higher-ranking volunteer to develop a “thick skin,” she recalled. 

Ms. Westrope eventually quit in disgust. “They don’t try to have volunteers interact meaningfully with voters,” she said. “It’s pure quantity over quality.” 

A former intern, who echoed the complaints about the campaign’s high-pressure focus on numbers, said that its rate of contact with voters was at times unusually low. An internal e-mail shows that on a recent day, when volunteers knocked on 16,000 doors, they spoke with voters 8.5 percent of the time.

Gotta love that - a campaign volunteer has a scary encounter with strange men in a strange neighborhood in the Bronx and when she calls for help, they tell her to get back to knocking on doors.

And the Quinn people are so cheap that they're making the "volunteers" use their own cellphones for campaign calls and pay for their own transportation - because there's nothing less winning in a campaign than exploiting naive high school and college kids.

The Quinn campaign says no one has this "extensive" or "sophisticated" a campaign infrastructure, but the Times article just makes the Quinn ground game sound bush league.

Weiner may have no one working for him, but if Quinn thinks she can beat anybody with an army of exploited volunteers and interns using their own Metrocards and cellphones as they go around the city trying to win people over to her, she's fooling herself.

This so-called vaunted Quinn ground game operation that is now exposed as a joke is just another example of why Quinn will not win the Democratic primary and may not even make the runoff.

Anybody who runs a campaign this badly cannot win.


  1. I agree and lets not forget how the campaign has responded to recent attacks. Remember how Quinn & Company tried to threaten ny1 with its license when the first ads from ABQ began their attack? Or the infantile response by her spokespeople when trying to justify the term limits rationale of the speaker? This Times article is as helpful to her campaign as the prosecution witnesses in the Zimmerman trial.

    1. They really are bush league. They're promoting their campaign apparatus like it's Bloombergian in scope and power, but it's run on a shoestring. Bloomberg paid EVERYBODY who worked for him, and the pay was good even for the low level people. Say what you will about Mike, he's no fool. He knows the love people feel for him is based upon how much money he's paying them. Quinn, on the other hand, does not seem to understand that in politics, unless you are an extraordinary figure, you get what you pay for.

  2. UFT phone banks are pretty formidable and have not yet been put into use. I won't work for Thompson, but a lot of other people will, and that will make a difference not yet reflected in the polls.

    1. Do you really think the formidable UFT phone bank will beat Chris Quinn's volunteer army of high school and college kid "interns" using their own Metrocards and cellphones as they canvass this city spreading Quinn's message?

      Well, you have a good point.

      The more I learn about Chris Quinn and her campaign, the more I think she will place third or fourth in this race.

      The Quinn campaign has all the earmarks of a losing campaign.

  3. My friend got a call from a UFT phone bank and she engaged the caller in a dialogue about Thompson's Tisch/D'Amato support and said she was voting for Liu or De Blasio. The caller said he agreed with her. He must have been there for the free sandwich.

    1. Why was he making calls for Thompson if he was supporting either Liu or de Blasio? Do they pay the callers? A free sandwich could not be enough to get somebody to phone bank, could it?