Tom Suozzi – Congress

Project Description

2016 Primary:

With Parkside’s strategic guidance, Tom Suozzi won a tough multi-candidate Democratic Primary and a heated General Election in a challenging environment.

That’s because The Parkside Group knows how to talk to voters about the issues that matter in their communities.

New York’s primary electorates are rarely homogeneous. It’s a state made up of distinct and unique communities. Winning elections in this kind of environment is one of TheParkside Group’s core areas of expertise – we focus on recognizing the real difference between voters and using advanced targeting techniques to communicate the right message to the right voter at the right time.

Background:

When incumbent Steve Israel announced he wasn’t going to seek re-election to Congress, a large and formidable cast of characters, both Democratic and Republican, lined up to run for a rare open seat in a swing district. NY-3 is sprawling in size and geography, covering parts of Nassau, Suffolk and Queens counties – and every one of the candidates who entered the contest had a base and a proven history of winning contested elections.

Our Approach:

Parkside’s strategy for the primary campaign was to segment the electorate into different mail universes based on geography.

1.) Queens
We decided early that we had to dominate in Queens, where none of the candidates came from and where we had the best local endorsements (although the two previous Democratic Congressmen, Steve Israel and Gary Ackerman, endorsed other candidates). We also knew Tom’s family roots in the borough and his immigrant story would make him a compelling candidate there.

2.) Suffolk
In Suffolk, we knew we had to finish a strong second to Steve Stern, the native son, and minimize his margin of victory there. Based on our polling, we determined using Suozzi’s environmental record and the platform was the best way to introduce him to this critical piece of the electorate.

3.) Nassau
With several candidates hailing from Nassau, the race here was more complicated. After considering a limited budget and other factors, Parkside made a tough, strategic recommendation: instead of focusing primarily on vote-rich North Hempstead, we doubled-down on Suozzi’s base of Glen Cove. It was a strategy with risks – but we had the data and the experience to make the right call.

Our Approach:

Our Primary strategy worked to a tee as Suozzi convincingly beat his opponents by close to 15%, despite two of his adversaries out spending him and advertising on cable television (a platform that was unavailable to us due to budget limitations.)
As we had planned, Suozzi dominated Queens with nearly 50% of the vote and ran up the score in his hometown of Glen Cove, where turnout was 3 times the average for the district and where he won 75% of the vote. As we intended, Suozzi came in second to Steve Stern in Suffolk.
The momentum from the Primary helped propel Suozzi to a 52%-48% win in the November General Election, despite the strong performance of Trump in the district and the popularity and high name recognition of his Republican opponent.

The Result:

Our Primary strategy worked to a tee as Suozzi convincingly beat his opponents by close to 15%, despite two of his adversaries out spending him and advertising on cable television (a platform that was unavailable to us due to budget limitations.)

As we had planned, Suozzi dominated Queens with nearly 50% of the vote and ran up the score in his hometown of Glen Cove, where turnout was 3 times the average for the district and where he won 75% of the vote. As we intended, Suozzi came in second to Steve Stern in Suffolk.

The momentum from the Primary helped propel Suozzi to a 52%-48% win in the November General Election, despite the strong performance of Trump in the district and the popularity and high name recognition of his Republican opponent.

2018 Update:

The 2018 election cycle represented Rep. Tom Suozzi’s first re-elect and it was shaping up to be competitive contest due to the nature of the Republican opponent (a former Navy Seal turned successful businessman) and the political atmospherics of the district (Trump’s high favorability ratings).

In designing a direct mail plan, we wanted to start the campaign with a memorable piece that would reintroduce Suozzi to the voters. In a decidedly anti-incumbent environment, Parkside knew that Suozzi couldn’t run from his profile as an established elected official – so instead we leaned in. We created an eight-page booklet with rich photography, extensive biographical details and a lengthy list of accomplishments to give him gravitas and remind voters of his deep commitment to the district.

Despite the strength of our opponent and Trump’s popularity, Suozzi was re-elected with 58% – a 5% improvement from his last election. In fact, it was better than the 55% longtime incumbent Steve Israel got in his last re-elect in 2014.

 

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