Mississippi House of Representatives: One for the history books

The Challenge:

Despite being a stalwart “Red State,” Democrats controlled a majority in the Mississippi State House of Representatives since reconstruction – nearly 140 years. The Democratic majority was defending the status quo of a broken system that was suffocating business efforts in the state. Innovative Politics was hired by a pro-business Political Action Committee to orchestrate a massive shift of the State House to be more conservative and business-friendly.

The Resolution:

Innovative Politic’s strategy unfolded over 3 years, starting in 2008 with intense research and targeting of vulnerable districts. We tracked the voting trends of each district that would either be vacant or held by a Democrat incumbent for the 2011 election. Those districts that traditionally voted Republican, but had a Democrat incumbent, were then targeted with opposition research to find weak voting records, unethical behavior and personal issues.

When the election approached, our tactical approach to the incumbents used hard-hitting mailers, television commercials and targeted telephone calls, while more mailers were sent in support of the conservative candidates.

The Results:

Innovative Politics successfully unseated over half our incumbent targets. Combined with the efforts of the PAC and other conservative organizations, which handled the vacant seats, Mississippi had a Republican Speaker of the House the first time since the 1860s.

Included among the unseated Democrats was a 24-year incumbent, who told the local newspaper that Innovative’s campaign was responsible for her unseating. “It was the money in the mailboxes.”