The Fallen: Lessons of Bachmann #3

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Today. Our continuing series on the Fallen, those who have dropped out of the Presidential race, the things they did well and what we learned from the mistakes they made. Some more on Michelle Bachmann.

A few years ago I was working in a Presidential campaign when the Treasurer called to say we had a cash flow problem. We didn’t have enough in the bank account to pay the workers, the consultants, the vendors and the highly paid campaign management team. I never forgot the response. “Tell the highly paid help they can wait a week or two. But make sure you pay the workers. They’ll talk if they don’t get paid.”

Evidently the Bachmann campaign had never learned that lesson. In late October, politico ran a story that asserted that Bachmann’s New Hampshire campaign staff had resigned en mass. Bachmann denied it. Then a staff member called ABC to confirm it, and politico then ran a story that some staff people had not been paid in over a month. And all the stories completely overshadowed anything else Bachmann had to say.

Which takes to the lesson to be learned. At some point or another, most campaigns have a cash flow problem. When you do, ask the consultants or the highly paid staff to suck it up and wait a few days or a week or two. Or ask some of the vendors who are making good money to wait a week or two. But never ever stiff the day-to-day workers. Most of them live paycheck to paycheck. And when they don’t get their paycheck, they talk. And when they do, it will throw your campaign off message. Worse, those donors who could be writing checks will slam the checkbook closed if they think they are being asked to invest in a sinking ship. In Bachmann’s case a lot of them did.

Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

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