The partners of Silver Bullet have worked across the country on a myriad of grassroots political efforts, big and small. No two campaigns are alike. And some, we just can’t even talk about. Here are five case studies as example of the kind of work Silver Bullet is capable of accomplishing.
- 1.2 million Signatures in Michigan
- California Indian Gaming Referendum
- Hillsborough Florida Bush/Cheney Get-Out-The-Vote
- Oklahoma 65% Solution Initiative
- Pennsylvania Republican Voter Registration
- South Dakota Naked Short Selling Initiative
- Washington State Insurance Referendum
- First Class Education
- SOS Ballot
- Miami-Dade Mayoral Recall
1.2 Million Signatures Gathered in Michigan in 60 Days
Silver Bullet was able to gather over 1.2 million signatures total, from all 83 counties in Michigan in 60 days placing two issues on the ballot for November 2012. The first issue was “The People Should Decide” Initiative, which allowed the people of Michigan to vote on whether they wanted to build a new international toll bridge, costing the tax-payers of Michigan hundreds of millions of dollars. Silver Bullet was able to gather 609,220 signatures. The second issue was the “Michigan Alliance for Prosperity” initiative that requires any new taxes must pass with a two thirds majority – eliminating or greatly reducing the possibility of a fully partisan tax hike. 613, 379 total signatures were gathered.
California Indian Gaming Referendum – Setting the Record: 2,800,000 Signatures in 49 Days
Sometimes the partners of Silver Bullet have a chance to accomplish what seems impossible. Such was the case with our efforts to refer simultaneously four Indian gaming compacts to the ballot. The challenge was to gather a total of 2,800,000 signatures, split evenly among four petitions in less than 50 days. We put together a unique bonus system that not only encouraged volume, but consistency with all four drives. In the end, the signature gathering differential among the four petitions was less than 1%, all four qualified for the ballot and we set an all-time record for the most number of signatures gathered in the shortest period of time.
Hillsborough Florida Bush/Cheney Get-Out-The-Vote – The Swing that Swung Everything
Michal Barone, dean of the Washington DC political observers and author of the political bible, The Almanac of American Politics, said on NBC on election night 2004, “George Bush lost Hillsborough County Florida in 2000 by 3% and he’s winning it tonight by 4%. That’s the difference in Florida and that’s the difference in the election nationally.” The partners of Silver Bullet were pleased to help make it happen. Tossed into chaos in this incredibly important county at the end of the campaign, we quickly organized the plan, focused the targeting, motivated the volunteers and ensured everyone knew what to do. And on an election day with record high temperatures and voters with short tempers in long lines, our decision to buy every bottle of water at every Target, Wal-Mart & Sam’s Club in the Tampa area, distributing these at Republican-leaning polling places probably made the difference.
Oklahoma 65% Solution Initiative – Doing It Right When Others Didn’t
With strict rules and a short 90-day window, Oklahoma can be a difficult place to gain ballot access. Just ask the backers of the anti-affirmative action and the taxpayer bill of rights initiatives. Oklahoma law clearly states that petitioners must be Oklahoma residents. We took the law seriously, recruiting local petitioners well in advance of the beginning of the 90-day window to gather signatures for the 65% initiative. We completed the effort a week early and scored the highest signature validity rate in Oklahoma history. Our competitors with the TABOR initiative got cute and got caught, and are now facing serious felony charges and potential jail time. Our competitors with the affirmative action petition didn’t plan well and couldn’t make it either, wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars of volunteer contributors.
Pennsylvania Republican Voter Registration – College Campuses Count
Pennsylvania has more colleges than any state in the country. Many of these students are unregistered or are registered other states, making their voting unlikely in November. The partners of Silver Bullet put together an aggressive plan targeting Pennsylvania community college students for first-time registration, and out-of-state students at four-year institutions to re-register so they could vote in November. We worked with fraternities and sororities and conservative leaning student organizations throughout the state to host registration parties. End results: 20,000 additional Republican registrations in only 30 days.
South Dakota Naked Short Selling Initiative – New Rules for the Stock Market & Initiatives
With the turmoil on Wall Street, the term “naked short selling” and its potential threats may be known and understood today…but it surely wasn’t the case in he spring of 2007. The partners of Silver Bullet went to South Dakota, recruited a former state Attorney General and several State Legislators to be the public face of an issue next to no one knew anything about. More importantly, we devised a door-to-door signature drive effort that allowed petitioners the time with voters to explain the issue. This coincided with South Dakota’s new rules prohibiting out-of-state petitioners and per-signature pay. We became the first petition qualified under the new rules while setting a record for signature validity rate.
Washington State Insurance Referendum – On-Sight Management
When the insurance industry in Washington State wanted to overturn a new pro-litigation law, it had to act within only 90 days. With the stakes high and wanting to ensure success, it insisted that management be on the ground. So the partners of Silver Bullet rented a home and spent the time day-in and day-out ensuring the campaign was on track, on time, and on budget. The press and the opponents thought the referendum would likely be hard pressed to complete the effort in the compressed time. We finished two weeks early and easily qualified for the ballot.
First Class Education – Offense on Education Spending Accountability
No matter how much money is allocated, the K-12 Educational Establishment always cries poverty. So how could candidates show themselves as pro-education and pro-taxpayer? By discussing not just how much was spent, but how much made its way to the classroom. Nationally only 61% of K-12 education money was making its way to the classroom. Raising that to 65% in the classroom would mean billions more for teachers, textbooks and tutors – all without a tax increase. Dubbed by George Will as “The 65-Cent Solution” we pushed the idea nationally in 2005-2006, passing a version in four states. Governors Perdue (GA), Pawlenty (MN), Crist (FL) and Perry (TX) all made the issue the subject of their first political ads, and many others ran on the issue at all levels, having finally an issue that teachers and parents could agree upon. Not surprisingly, the NEA and others spent millions against the issue. But by making the discussion how the money was spent, the NEA and their allies could not actively promote their agenda seeking more money. Ballot measures increasing education spending and taxes dropped by 2/3rds from 2004 to 2006 because of our ability to change the discussion.
SOS Ballot – Killing the “Idea” of Card Check
In 2008, with the win of Barak Obama and greater Democratic control of Congress, it looked like “Card Check” was inevitable. So while Washington business lobbyists spent millions inside the beltway on a fight between Big Labor and Big Business about something called EFCA, we took the issue back to the States, made it about the fundamental right of individuals to vote by secret ballot, and made sure the issue was ultimately decided by real voters. The Save Our Secret Ballot effort was born. The idea was to kill the bill, but to kill the “idea.” In spite of Big Labor fighting and suing SOS Ballot in multiple states, we placed the constitutional right to a secret ballot for ALL elections, including union organizing elections on the ballot in four states, represented by four different Federal circuit courts. On election-day 2010, Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah all passed SOS Ballot with margins ranging from 60% to 86%. End results – the lame-duck session of Congress dropped the issue and the new Congress can’t spell EFCA. We didn’t just kill the bill in Congress. We killed the idea of tampering with the secret ballot with the American voting public.
Miami-Dade Mayoral Recall – 2nd Biggest Recall, America’s Biggest Recall Victory
With the voting public “Mad as Hell” in 2010, America saw 57 mayors facing recall efforts. The problem – most efforts never gathered the signatures necessary to qualify the recall, and even fewer beat the sitting Mayor once the recall election took place. That wasn’t the case for recall of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez. It takes roughly 50,000 valid signatures gathered within just 60 days to successfully make the ballot. Silver Bullet gathered 114,000 in just two weeks, for the second largest recall in US history. (Only the recall of the California Governor was larger.) Silver Bullet organized the election campaign, where both sides had roughly the same financial resources. Our side needed the always more difficult YES vote, while the Mayor had only to convince or confuse voters to vote NO, and had the powers of all the County employees, contractors and unions on his side. When the votes were tallied, 88% of voters said YES – with more voting to recall the Mayor in a special election than had voted to originally elect the Mayor in the previous general election. With 88%, the Miami-Dade Mayoral recall election enjoyed the biggest point win of any recall in US history!
What can we do for you?
Have a project that seems impossible? Want to ensure success? Need to settle the nerves of your supporters and contributors? The partners of Silver Bullet can help. Give us a shot. We’ll give you the best shot at making the ballot. Full Disclosure: The partners of Silver Bullet were the lead participants in each of these projects. The California and Washington projects were conducted through APC, the firm the partners of Silver Bullet were affiliated with at the time as equity partners.