Wholesale Retail
12-20-2007
It is not a particularly well-kept secret that candidates engage in retail politics on the campaign trail, not only to win over undecided voters, but also to collect as much free media coverage as possible, in order to reach the largest pool of potential supporters in a given media market.
 
As Politico reports today, Fred Thompson’s current bus tour of Iowa puts an interesting twist on this relationship between retail politics and media coverage, by scheduling a series of retail events around the state that seem self-consciously designed to generate free media attention, rather than to organize individual voters for caucus night. Reporter Jonathan Martin notes that Thompson appears to have few other options available, due to a shortage of campaign funds.
 
Nonetheless, this kind of broad retail strategy strikes me as better suited to a primary state, where it is less labor intensive to encourage individuals to enter the voting booth, than it is to organize them to caucus. A whirlwind bus tour might have actually worked well as an introductory Thompson foray into Iowa, but only if he had entered the presidential race much earlier than he did.


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