After 11 years as a police officer and 4 as a county constable, Steve Radack was elected to represent Precinct 3 on Harris County Commissioners’ Court in 1988, and has served there ever since. On the last day for candidates to file in December, 2019, Commissioner Radack announced he would not seek reelection, setting off a scramble of candidates for one of the most powerful positions in government.
The voters of Precinct 3 have leaned Republican over the past 30 years or so, but growth in the area’s minority population combined with the unpopularity of President Donald Trump among suburban and exurban voters have made this a competitive seat in a general election. Republican Donald Trump carried this area in 2016, despite losing Harris County, but Democrat Beto O’Rourke carried it in the 2018 senate race.
Before even getting to the general election, though, candidates have to compete in party primary elections to become their party’s nominee.
For this assignment. You are now the virtual campaign manager for a candidate for Harris County Commissioner, Precinct 3. If your client is a Republican, they’re trying to win the Republican Primary. If your client is a Democrat, they’re trying to win the Democratic Primary. Don’t worry about the November election yet. If you were in charge, what would you do to help your client get elected to this office?
Choose one of the candidates and design a campaign to win the primary election. Write this assignment as a 2 – 5 page memorandum (memo) (with cited sources) from you, the campaign manager, to your candidate. Outline the race for them, how much money you think they need to raise, how you will raise it for them, what you propose to spend it on, what issues they should talk about, how you want to deliver their message, etc.
Some things to keep in mind:
This can be a challenging assignment, but it can also be a lot of fun. Keep in mind that campaigning is more art than science, and that there are few absolutely right or wrong answers. If I asked five campaign professionals to do this assignment for the same candidate, I would probably get five totally different campaign strategies (and they’d charge me a lot of money).
Hint: Remember, this is a memo to your client, not an essay about your client. Talk to your client. Do not spend the first page telling them where they were born, where they went to college or how many kids they have – they know this already. Talk to them about your strategy to win the election for them.
Submit in Word. Cite your sources.
Here are the candidates:
Some facts about Precinct 3: http://www.pct3.com/Portals/45/about/about-pct3.pdf?ver=2019-10-14-085414-447 (Links to an external site.)
This Harris County Population Report has some useful information about Precinct 3: https://budget.harriscountytx.gov/doc/Budget/fy2020/approved_budget/FY20_Population_Report.pdf (Links to an external site.)
Here’s a more detailed map of Precinct 3 with all the county facilities: http://www.pct3.com/Portals/45/about/maps/pct3_map.pdf?ver=2019-10-14-085347-443 (Links to an external site.)
Liberal blogger Charles Kuffner spends a lot of time covering local elections, including posts of interviews with candidates:
Another local blog, Big Jolly Politics, has a lot on local elections:
Campaigns and Elections Magazine editor Ron Faucheaux has an article called “Writing your campaign plan: the seven components for winning an election”: