Voters can probably expect to get inundated by postcards, phone calls and personal visits as candidates launch a wave of grassroots campaigns. Since Obama was swept into office by one of the largest grassroots campaigns in recent political history, candidates everywhere are playing a massive game of monkey see, monkey do.
In the race for the 5th Congressional District, Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell) has been running a successful grassroots campaign. Her campaign appears to be well-organized and looks to be supported by an impressive amount of passionate volunteers. Tsongas will have to find innovate ways to present herself as a different type of incumbent. Thus, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if her campaign focuses on her accessibility to her constituents, whom Tsongas credits as her inspiration for lightweight body armor.
Jon Golnik (R-Carlisle) and Sam Meas (R-Haverhill) are outpaced financially by Tsongas, though that doesn’t mean their supporters are any less enthusiastic. As they battle for the Republican primary, they will have to find ways to better appeal to voters. The notable differences between their economic policies are that Meas favors deeper tax cuts for small businesses and penalty-free early withdrawals on pensions. Since minorities will probably favor Meas, Golnik might have to work harder to persuade white voters.
Then there’s the competition between Chris Doherty (D-Lowell) and Eileen Donoghue (D-Lowell). Both are running grassroots campaigns within the 1st Middlesex District for State Senate. Doherty has been working around the clock with his volunteers and is a frequent sight within the district. Donoghue is also making her campaign known by hitting the streets to meet voters. Her dilemma is to appear as a part of the community without making herself look like a political insider. Doherty’s challenge is to prove he understands the public’s concerns and that he can bring their vote to the Senate.
A common challenge this election year is for candidates to find positive and creative ways to make themselves stand out from the crowd. This is easier said than done when it seems like all the candidates are trying to duplicate Obama’s campaign success.
For those voters who haven’t heard from any of the mentioned campaigns, keep an eye out. Chances are one of these candidates is just around the corner looking to speak with you.