Political Consulting

There’s a broad definition of “political consulting.” Not everyone’s services are the same or provide the same quality in each area. Some focus on TV and media. Some focus on message. Some focus on graphic design. Some focus on voter lists. Some focus use “mostly” full service. There are varying levels of quality with all of those. The question each candidate should ask is this. “What will help me win? How will this help me win?”

While I have consulted in all aspects of a campaign outside of broadcast media, there are three things I do better than most.

  1. Campaign finance compliance.
  2. Absentee strategy
  3. (In Michigan) Political demographic analysis

I’ve been in the shoes of a candidate, campaign manager, and a consultant. There are three things more than anything else outside of the candidate him/herself which are the most valuable assets to a candidate committee. 1. Family and close friends. 2. Time. 3. Money. Numbers 2 and 3 are quite scarce. In your campaign, I can save you time, and possibly save you money as well.

Campaign Finance Compliance – Campaign finance laws and regulations are difficult to understand, time consuming, and a pitfall for fines and headaches. Most candidates either do the campaign finance reports themselves, or have some volunteer do them.  When it comes to these reports, you usually get what you pay for. Fines add up quick, and sometimes run over $200,000. Sec of State Ruth Johnson has gotten very strict there. Beyond the fine scares is the time. Most of these reports are due 11 days before the election. Candidates rather would be talking to voters than stuck behind a computer working on these reports.

Absentee strategy – Many elections are won even before election day. If the campaign is not up and running in June or September, then that campaign is in trouble. Unlike Donald Trump, most people do not have 100% name recognition going into a campaign.

Political Demographic Analysis – There was a little known Canadian TV show called Mantracker where a search and rescue expert chases two contestants to the finish line in a race. The theme “Know your land. Know your prey.” Candidates need to know where the favorable voters are and the issues important to those voters. One thing heavily overlooked was the impact of NAFTA and these trade agreements to many of our voters in Michigan. Trump understood this, campaigned on it, and won Michigan.

My fees vary depending on the services requested, the type of race, the amount of work necessary, and what the candidate committee can afford. For a “State Rep” sized race regarding campaign finance compliance, I generally charge $600 for a primary and $600 for a general (two separate campaigns) unless the campaign raises 80,000 or more (then it goes up to $1200 since it is more work).

Beyond candidate committees, I do work for PACs, ballot questions, and other committee types as well. If you are interested, please contact me a dwholihan@danwholihan.com and put “Campaign Finance” in the subject line. Thank you.