"The wonderful thing about small town politics is that it doesn’t stay small for long."
Watching the way campaigning evolved in 2016 was exciting, scary for some looking in for the first time in 4 years but exciting nonetheless. If you were involved in a local race or served as a consultant on one of the top races last year, you couldn’t escape the pressure that came with campaigning. One person who knows a thing or two about campaigning and better yet, winning, is Victoria Napolitano.
Having successfully been re-elected to Moorestown Council in New Jersey back in November, Napolitano knows how to put in the hard yards. Named the youngest mayor in Moorestown history and the youngest female mayor in NJ state history when she was elected to the position in 2015, Napolitano’s work goes far beyond campaign season.
Serving as the incumbent Deputy Mayor back in 2016, Victoria was third to be elected back to the Council with her fellow Republican running mate Mike Locatell, tasting victory first time out.
"It's humbling to be sworn in for the first time," Locatell said. "I hope to live up to the expectations of the people who voted for me, and to win over those who didn't."
We were lucky to speak to Napolitano in the weeks after the election and get her thoughts on the importance of canvassing, how the Ecanvasser technology helped her and her running mates and the Presidential election.
Q. Back in 2012, you ran for Town Council and topped the poll by getting around 5,600 votes. Is it true you knocked on over 5,000 doors and how much do you owe your success to canvassing?
Victoria: I absolutely attribute my success to canvassing. When I started my campaign, I was virtually unknown. Canvassing gave me the opportunity to meet thousands of people face to face, and they remembered me when Election Day came.
Q. Fast forward to 2016, and you opted to use Ecanvasser to help streamline your ground game. How do you think our technology helped in getting elected this time around?
Victoria: Ecanvasser made it much easier for us to track which doors we had already hit, especially when having multiple canvassers out. It was a relief not to have to wait on people to get handwritten lists back to us, and then decipher handwriting or mistakes. Having everything digitally made it exceptionally easy to send follow-up postcards to the households we canvassed. The geo-mapping feature was extremely helpful in planning efficient walking routes and making sure we hit every door on our list.
Q. Had you a clear strategy in place beforehand about how you were going to segment your voters or were you focused on hitting every door?
Victoria: Yes. We already had our voters segmented.
Q. The technology around campaigning has improved enormously in the past few years but is far from perfect. What improvements would you like to see in the coming months and years in this area?
Victoria: The biggest thing we'd like to see is real-time syncing between canvassers. When having multiple canvassers in one area, it's still necessary to decide ahead of time who is knocking which doors using the current technology.
Q. After Trump’s victory using very few of the accepted wisdom on technological campaigning, what do you think we can learn from his campaign?
Victoria: Trump's campaign was an anomaly, and it's very hard to compare a presidential campaign to a local, county, or state race where personal contact is more possible and goes a lot further. I think what we've learned is that voters appreciate candor, but I don't think there's much to be learned from a campaign strategy aspect, at least at the local level.