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Tammy Messina: Money can’t buy grassroots support, votes

Posted: June 8, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 8, 2012 2:00 a.m.

There are those that say that their vote doesn’t matter, and that he or she who has the most money wins the election. While it is true that it’s nearly impossible to run a successful campaign without significant financial backing, never underestimate the power of a group of highly motivated individuals working toward a common cause.

As evidenced by our two most recent elections, money is not the single determining factor in who emerges as the winner. The fact that many variables come into play was clearly demonstrated in both the City Council and Assembly races.

In the Assembly race, the top-two primary system added an additional layer to the mix. Given the party demographics of our area and the fact that only there was only one Democrat on the ticket, it was a near certainty that a Democrat and a Republican would make it into the general runoff.

This left three Republican candidates to duke it out for the remaining spot in the top two.

It definitely takes money to launch and run a successful campaign. Anyone who says that any person can run is just kidding themselves. And while it is true that “technically” anyone can run, it is not true that anyone can win.

With a small amount of money, you can file your candidate paperwork with the appropriate agency to get on the ballot.

It takes a lot more money if you want to include a ballot statement so that voters know a little bit about you.

But if you’re serious about winning, you need to become a household name, which, unless you’re a legacy to a beloved elected official with the same last name, means you’re going to need money, and lots of it, for signs and mailers.

If “he/she who raised the most money wins” were really true, clearly two different people would be advancing to the general election in November and Patricia McKeon would not be left with a third place position. So what happened?

In both the Assembly and City Council races, Scott Wilk and TimBen Boydston respectively had a small army of volunteers who were passionate about working for who they believed to be the right person for that office.

Neither of these candidates raised as much money as the so-called “experts” projected would need to be raised in order to claim a victory.

The next time you think your vote doesn’t matter and there’s nothing you can do about who is elected to be our representatives, look back on both of these races. Then get involved.

Donate a couple of hours to walk a precinct or make phone calls.

Volunteer to take pictures, write articles, deliver signs, or work an event.

Send emails to your friends and family to introduce them to your candidate and tell them why you’re supporting them.

It may seem like such a small thing to do, but when you add everyone’s efforts together, it often leads to victory.

Money can’t buy grassroots support. So get out there, get behind your candidate, spread the word, and continue to contribute money, no matter the amount, to those you want to see in office. It’s the best way to ensure you’re happy with the outcome.

Campaign Contributions:        Edward Headington   $46,304.91       Patricia McKeon   $240,729.56,                                                Paul Strickland  $13,339.50              Scott Wilk   $128,121.49

Source: California Secretary of State               


Tammy Messina is a resident of Santa Clarita, a local business owner, and a producer for The Real Side Radio Show. She can be reached Her column reflects her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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