Mississippi House of Representatives: One for the history books
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.
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.
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.”