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Getting Out the Message: Kentucky's Primary Election of 2019

Now a week out from the 2019 primary election in Kentucky for governor and other constitutional officers, all the candidates are in the final phase of their fighting for voters.

If earlier years are any guide, this year will be a very low number of voter turnout. The Kentucky Secretary of State is predicting a voter turn out of 15 percent. As low as this seems, it is normal for off year statewide elections held in non-presidential years.

Hickman County has 6 precincts with a total of 2,357 Democrats and 1,161 Republicans in them. Another 149 other and 46 independents round out the total voters to 3,713. That means only 354 Democrats and 175 Republicans out of 3700 will vote.

To reach these precious voters, statewide candidates usually mount and run their campaigns in seven different yet often heavily integrated operations.

These seven basic phases to running a statewide political campaign in Kentucky include: (1) strategic plan (2) fundraising (3) staffing (4) regional and local organization (5) projection of power (6) get the message out and (7) drive voters to polls.

Getting the message out is one of the top goals from day one of any campaign. Without a clear and simply message, the voters will not know "why they should vote for a candidate."

Television is the most expensive and comprehensive in its impact on the media landscape. Usually at a cost of several hundred dollars per second, television campaign requires "buckets of money" to be spent. Social media, websites, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, and email blasts play a larger and larger part of the media landscape. Next in line is radio for its regional impact. Much cheaper then television, but limited to only sounds (voices) not images (as in TV).

Most political campaigning research proves that for the average voter responds best to television ads (simple, images, direct link to voter mind).

In the last two weeks of the 2019 Democratic primary, the three Democratic candidates will have aired a total of 8 separately designed 30 second and sixty second spots of local and regional television out of Paducah, Ky. Sometimes these ads are aired 10 to 20 times a day. The best spot for reaching the most potential voters is to wrap the ad in and around the local news shows. This market serves and reaches potential voters in about 12 West Kentucky counties.

Adam Edelen, Rocky Adkins, and Andy Beshear have used humor, heartbreak, family roots, and scandal to frame their TV messages.

Sometimes overlooked, but very important, in intense political campaigns is the power of pushing the "message and campaign" past the front door and into the voters' hands. This is the direct mail strategy of the campaign.

In my household, only one candidate for governor has conducted any direct mail campaign. Candidate Adam Edelen has sent 4 large cards and small poster style of paper fold outs with multi space for his entire campaign messages to inform me and my family of his stand on primary issues.

Of the some 20 candidates running for statewide office (governor, sec. of state, treasurer, auditor, attorney general) only messages and thoughts of Adam Edelen has been delivered, by mail, into my hands.

Editor's Note: In the mail same day we ran this story, Mr. Potter's "household" received a mailer from Rocky Adkins.

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