John Brooks for New York State Senate

Project Details

March 16, 2017
John Brooks
Campaign Management

Project Description

The Parkside Group’s fiery direct mail can give Democrats the edge they need to beat the odds. Our hard-hitting and persuasive communications cut through the clutter and help down-ballot candidates spurn electoral trends and achieve victory.


The 2016 election cycle was a wave year for the Republicans. Although New York went blue, Donald Trump outperformed historical Republican candidates for President and won many regions of the state, including Suffolk County on Long Island.

One place where Democrats bucked the trend was on Long Island’s 8th Senatorial District, spanning parts of Suffolk and Nassau Counties. Represented by Republican State Senators for over five decades, this was not a place where Democrats were supposed to succeed, especially since there was a popular, well-funded Republican incumbent already in office.

The Candidates:

Although civically active in local community affairs, DEMOCRAT JOHN BROOKS had never run for State Senate before and had difficulty raising campaign funds. The Republican incumbent was MICHAEL VENDITTO, a former county legislator, whose father also represented the area as a Town Supervisor.

The Playbook:

Our client, the New York Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, was committed to helping elect Brooks, despite his own lack of funds and the fundraising prowess of the Republican incumbent.

1.) Venditto was Vulnerable Our polling three weeks before the election showed Senator Venditto was vulnerable, driven by a corruption scandal that had engulfed local Republicans (including his own father).

2.) Seize the Opportunity We saw the opportunity and began an aggressive mail program…

3.) Link Venditto to Scandals …linking the Republican State Senator to the negative headlines dominating the local news.

The Result:

Our strategy was successful, sending a Democrat to represent the 8th Senate District for the first time in anyone’s memory, despite Trump winning on the top of the ticket and the Republican incumbent outspending Brooks by more than 4 to 1.

Newsday, Long Island’s paper of record, reported that Brooks was “a major underdog over his well-known and better-funded opponent,” while other local newspapers described the Democrat’s victory as “shocking.”

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