Friend, What can be said about 2020 that hasn’t already been declared, muttered, cursed, or screamed by all of us multiple times this year? As a group exercise that doesn’t require Zoom, I invite you to verbalize your favorite/least favorite 2020-ism at this point …
Now that we got that off our chests, we at Convergence would like to express our sincere gratitude to our clients and friends who helped make lemonade out of lemons this year. You know it’s a strange political year when one of the most important actions in the history of our democracy since 1776 — defeating Donald Trump — seemed like a “meh” moment for some. And yes, there is much to “unpack” (another 2020-ism) about why there weren’t more victories this time. I tend to look for silver linings in political clouds, because if you don’t, then what the hell are you doing in this business? So here are a few I found, both personally and professionally, in the mire of this mostly-awful year:
After two hard-fought primary contests, CTC clients Mayor Heidi Campbell and Nikki Merritt are now the Democratic nominees in two of the most flippable State Senate districts in the south.
Heidi entered the race in February at a significant disadvantage to her opponent, who had been campaigning for over a year. Her campaign was run almost exclusively during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Convergence was a key partner in shifting our strategy to meet the moment at hand. From advising COVID-specific methods of voter engagement early on in the pandemic to adjusting our targeting to meet increases in voter turnout and the shifting methods of voting, we built a campaign that met the voters where they were at a challenging time in our history.
Nikki Merritt’s campaign had to pivot hard once COVID-19 became a reality in our race. Nikki had a robust field program already working in preparation for the primary election, and we had to adjust our plans for voter contact to take door-to-door contact off the table. Nikki’s team stayed nimble and was able to outwork her opponents, coming just shy of winning her three-way primary outright on June 19 and trouncing her runoff opponent, winning close to 66% of the vote.
We’re looking forward to continuing to work with these incredible candidates and their talented teams to flip these seats in November!
While all the votes have yet to be counted, Mondaire Jones is poised to win his primary in NY-17, replacing retiring Rep. Nita Lowey. Convergence partnered with Fight for the American Dream PAC to boost Mondaire’s bold progressive credentials, including his exclusive support of Medicare for All in a crowded primary field to voters.
Mondaire, along with fellow Democrat Ritchie Torres, are poised to become the first openly gay Black men elected to Congress. Mondaire’s life story of growing up in Section 8 housing and using access to great public schools to lift himself out of poverty is unique to Congress, and his experiences will be a valuable asset to moving policies that benefit all Americans.
Congress needs more Mondaires. We’re thrilled for his victory and the unique and needed perspective he will bring to Congress when he is sworn in. Congratulations Mondaire!
The vote totals have been finalized and we’re excited to report that Mark Conway has defeated his nine opponents and won his primary for Baltimore City Council District 4! Convergence was proud to be part of this effort, offering strategic guidance as we shifted tactics in response COVID-19 and direct mail.
Convergence was able to capitalize on late money and a late-breaking endorsement from the Baltimore Sun and had a piece of mail in the hands of voters focused on the endorsement within three days of publication. We’re confident our ability to communicate that endorsement quickly and effectively is what ultimately tipped the scales in Mark’s favor in this close contest.
Last night, Kylon Middleton emerged victorious in a hotly competitive primary for Charleston, SC County Council. Kylon, the pastor of historic Mt. Zion AME Church with a diverse coalition of supporters across the county, connected with voters by sharing his vision for Charleston and its need for strong, moral leadership guiding council decisions.
Convergence devised and executed a multi-media paid communications plan that included mail, digital and radio. Our expanded communications plan paid off, as turnout was almost double the previous primary in this district, and Kylon won the election by 238 votes. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with Kylon in the General Election in November!
Last night, two longtime Convergence clients — Mayor David Meyer and Councilperson So Lim —won their re-election bids in Fairfax City, VA. The election was rescheduled from its original date and took place predominantly by mail, a first for the City of Fairfax. Convergence worked with our clients to adjust the timing and content of direct mail, and employ digital advertising in the case of Mayor Meyer, to help our clients retain their seats.
Congratulations to Mayor Meyer and Councilperson Lim — we’re glad to know they’re at the helm, helping the City of Fairfax reopen and recover safely.
Convergence’s exceptional work in Phoenix, AZ continues to be recognized by our peers. We were awarded two Gold Pollies for our work last year on the No on Propositions 105 & 106 campaign, including Best Direct Mail Campaign- Ballot Initiative. Our strong creative concepts, outstanding use of targeting, and innovative tactics propelled this campaign to victory last August, and we’re proud that this work has been recognized at both the Reed Awards and the Pollie Awards this year.
We were also awarded a Silver Pollie for our work with our friends at Unite America to elect Suhas Subramanyan to the Virginia State House. This piece, designed to stand out in a crowded environment with its vintage throw-back design, was a piece of the puzzle that allowed Suhas to emerge victorious from a crowded primary in a safely blue seat.
Convergence has won awards for our municipal work every year since 2016. We’re honored that our peers continue to value our work in this area, and we’re looking forward to keeping the streak alive next year!
Our Wins- Pollie Awards
Gold Pollie Direct Mail Campaign — Ballot Initiative:No on Propositions 105 & 106 Best Use of Negative or Contrast — Ballot Initiative: “A Radical Experiment”
Silver Pollie Independent Expenditure Campaign — State Legislature:“Suhas GOTV”
At Thursday night’s Reed Awards in Atlanta, Convergence was proud not only of the four awards we won, but of what it says about our clients and our company’s mission. First, we won an award for our municipal mail for the fifth straight year, taking home a trophy for a large-format map showcasing Charleston, SC Mayor John Tecklenburg’s accomplishments across the city. Read some local coverage of this mail piece, and our award, at the Charleston Post and Courier.
We were also awarded for best cross-platform campaign for our work with Mayor Tecklenburg. True to our firm’s name, we brought together direct mail and digital strategies and executed both, pursuing the same message and the same voters across multiple media, as part of a successful re-election effort.
Finally, we were award for most innovative tactic in direct mail for our work in Phoenix, Arizona, where we sent more than 250 different full-color versions of a piece of mail highlighting local opposition and local impact of a pair of ballot initatives that we helped defeat last August.
An outstanding record of municipal campaigns; a convergence of traditional direct mail and digital advertising; a relentless pursuit of innovative new tactical and strategic approaches. Those are three pillars of our mission, and we’re pleased to have been awarded by our peers for it.
As an added treat, our mail for Mayor Tecklenburg was also awarded “Best of the Best” by the political mail team at the US Postal Service. Each year, their team reviews every submission to the Reed Awards and chooses a single entrant from across all categories that they feel is the best direct mail piece submitted. We’re proud to say that our work was chosen for this honor.
Our Wins — Reed Awards Best Mail Piece for Mayoral – Non-partisan: Re-Elect Mayor John Tecklenburg, “Map” Best Cross Channel Ad Campaign: Re-Elect Mayor John Tecklenburg Innovation In Direct Mail: No On 105 and 106, “Local Impact”
US Postal Service “Best Of The Best” Re-Elect Mayor John Tecklenburg, “Map”
Yesterday in Charleston’s runoff mayoral election, voters re-elected Mayor John Tecklenburg in a landslide 21-point victory. This was Convergence’s second campaign with John Tecklenburg, who will begin his second term as Mayor in January.
In the primary, Mayor Tecklenburg faced five challengers and led the field with 48% of the vote. Convergence communicated the Mayor’s accomplishments early and often. Through the mail, in print and in digital ads, we amplified Mayor Tecklenburg’s results on key issues such as flooding, development, and traffic.
To make our content especially relevant, we employed a series of maps and variable data so that readers can see where, exactly, Mayor Tecklenburg was making progress in their individual neighborhoods. We echoed this message through digital video targeted to an expanded universe, further articulating our case that re-electing Mayor Tecklenburg meant continuing progress for Charleston.
In the two-week runoff, Convergence delivered six mail pieces, as well as print and digital ads, highlighting the key differences between Mayor Tecklenburg and his opponent and making clear that re-electing the Mayor was the best choice for Charleston. On election day, voters overwhelmingly agreed, delivering a 61-39 victory for Tecklenburg.
Convergence founder and President Chris Cooper is a native Charlestonian. He, and the rest of the team, are proud to have been a part of Mayor Tecklenburg’s re-election campaign.