What is your role in Tomahawk?
I serve as the Creative Director and one of our Principals in the firm. I lead the creative department, overseeing our digital, print, and radio production, and also help on communication efforts like speech writing and scripting. My goal is to find the candidate's unique brand and develop it through compelling messaging and digital production. One thing you will never associate us with is running casual races. We run hard-hitting campaigns that control the narrative and deliver the win.
Our focus is on creating The New Standard in how campaigns are managed. We're a younger company but in a lot of ways, we are here to challenge the status quo - within political consulting and with the campaigns we manage - and I think that is a big reason why liberals and establishment republicans will see Tomahawk Strategies as a force to be reckoned with. Our mission is to elect conservative leaders who will stand on principle and defend America's greatness.
What was your most rewarding campaign?
Without a doubt, Lt. Col. Steve Russell's first race for Congress (OK CD-5) in 2014. It was a special election to fill James Lankford's vacated House seat as he ran for the U.S. Senate, and the primary election was five months away from when Col. Russell filed his candidacy. I served as the campaign manager in charge of implementing the ground game operation.
At that time, internal polls were showing Steve's name recognition around 2% in the 5th District. We later discovered that it would be a 6-way republican primary, to include a well-known State Senator, a Corporation Commissioner, and we would be outspent 10-1.
Everyone involved knew this would be a huge race, and it was truly an all-star campaign team I had the privilege to serve alongside, with decades of experience and huge efforts being done behind the scenes. It was a dead sprint through the primary and runoff election.
Our days typically ran 12 hours, 6 days a week. Most days involved 50-100 calls to/from volunteers or campaign staff, hosting door knocking teams or phone bank events, coordinating groups of volunteers to pass out campaign literature at upcoming events in the 5th District, and ending the night with a sign blitz.
Needless to say, Congressman Russell's incredible story of service and sacrifice won over the voters. He went on to win the republican primary, the general election, and secured his seat in Congress. Our team of 300+ volunteers and their hard work even won recognition by the McCarville Report for the "Biggest Grassroots Win" of the 2014 election cycle.
Could you explain the process of creating campaign content?
Absolutely. We know from cognitive psychology that audiences tend to forget up to 90% of the information in political ads. Our job on the creative side is to develop memorable content that stands out and influences decisions. It's about creating an atypical avenue for communicating a message, so the audience doesn't quickly tune out the familiar campaign-style noise.
It's important to lead with a simple and powerful campaign theme that's unique to the candidate, speaking strongly on issues that voters feel need to be voiced, and simplifying the message as much as possible. If you have heard the phrase, "If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter," then you get the importance of consolidated themes and hard-hitting campaign narratives. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Powerful campaigns rely on compelling stories.
What is the biggest challenge you see in politics today?
The political class. Every major problem in Washington DC is tied to them. Our Constitutional Republic was designed to be led by citizen legislators. People who built their careers in the private sector, and later, contributed their knowledge and experiences to improve how government serves the people.
What we have today is a form of corporatism, where establishment elites who have built their career in winning elections align themselves with big business to secure big donations and by extension, reelection. It not only disrupts our free market economy, it's essentially embezzlement by fiat. They spend our tax dollars by the trillions on entitlements, special interest groups, and corporate welfare, mostly without our knowledge or consent.
What's worse, Congress received a 95% reelection rate in 2016 while sporting a 17% approval rating. Something is really wrong with that picture. Thankfully Americans are more tuned into Congressional action today than at any time in the last 50 years. We are making progress. Our generational fight will be to identify and remove them from office one by one. It's time to return to a government that's truly by, for, and of the people.