Tom Suozzi for Congress
DateMarch 17, 2016
New York’s primary electorates are rarely homogeneous. It’s a state made up of distinct and unique communities. Winning elections in this kind of environment is one of The Parkside Group’s core areas of expertise – we focus on recognizing the real difference between voters and using advanced targeting techniques to communicate the right message to the right voter at the right time.
When incumbent Steve Israel announced he wasn’t going to seek re-election to Congress, a large and formidable cast of characters, both Democratic and Republican, lined up to run for a rare open seat in a swing district. NY-3 is sprawling in size and geography, covering parts of Nassau, Suffolk and Queens counties – and every one of the candidates who entered the contest had a base and a proven history of winning contested elections.
The strategy of the primary campaign was to segment the electorate into different mail universes based on geography.
1.) Queens We decided early that we had to dominate in Queens, where none of the candidates came from and where we had the best local endorsements (although the two previous Democratic Congressmen, Steve Israel and Gary Ackerman, endorsed other candidates). We also knew Tom’s family roots in the borough and his immigrant story would make him a compelling candidate there.
2.) Suffolk In Suffolk, we knew we had to finish a strong second to Steve Stern, the native son, and minimize his margin of victory there. Based on our polling, we determined using Suozzi’s environmental record and platform was the best way to introduce him to this critical piece of the electorate.
3.) Nassau With several candidates hailing from Nassau, the race here was more complicated. After considering a limited budget and other factors, Parkside made a tough, strategic recommendation: instead of focusing primarily on vote-rich North Hempstead, we doubled-down on Suozzi’s base of Glen Cove. It was a strategy with risks – but we had the data and the experience to make the right call.
Our Primary strategy worked to a tee as Suozzi convincingly beat his opponents by close to 15%, despite two of his adversaries out spending him and advertising on cable television (a platform that was unavailable to us due to budget limitations).
As we had planned, Suozzi dominated Queens with nearly 50% of the vote and ran up the score in his hometown of Glen Cove, where turnout was 3 times the average for the district and where he won 75% of the vote. As we intended, Suzzoi came in second to Steve Stern in Suffolk.
The momentum from the Primary helped propel Suozzi to a 52%-48% win in the November General Election, despite the strong performance of Trump in the district and the popularity and high name recognition of his Republican opponent.