Project Wonderful

Monday, November 24, 2014

What I Wish I Had Known At 30 With Lucinda Guinn

Lucinda Guinn, 34, WOMEN VOTE! Director at EMILY's List

This post came in a few days before my 30th birthday, but there was that whole election thing, and then vacation and then I was sick and now it's now. Still I could not deprive you of the wisdom of the campaign powerhouse that is Lucinda Guinn. Lucinda and I worked together for about two weeks when I first moved to DC, but even from that short time she is someone whose advice and insight I value immensely. Take it away, Lucinda!

1) Tell us a little about your career path.
I was always interested in politics. My dad was the county chair of the local Republican party in the town I was born in (hissss!). In college I started volunteering for the local Democratic Party and they liked me enough to start paying me. I thought, “hey, that’s neat!” So I stuck around for a while. I tried to escape politics once to work in high tech PR (that is really funny for anyone who knows my relationship with technology) and even though it was a great experience I didn’t leave work at the end of the day feeling like I had done anything to make the world a better place. Lofty? Yes. But we all get into this business because we have a strong belief system; we have the save-the-world gene. I’ll never be the type of person who can clock in for a paycheck, and in campaigns you have to be all in.

I moved to DC, realized very quickly that I needed to be on the road and spent the next several years working on campaigns all over the country. I popped back to DC a few times to work in direct mail and issue advocacy, where I learned a ton. Eventually I did 2 stints at the DCCC, once at the independent expenditure and once as the western political director. Most recently I was the Political Director at the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and am now the WOMEN VOTE! director at EMILY’s List.

2) What are you most proud of?
Reaching Platinum status on United.

3) What is the best advice you've received?
“Go on the road while you’re young.”

Someone once told me that the only 2 industries where twenty-somethings are able to take on big responsibility are the military and political campaigns. On campaigns you manage staff at a young age, raise and spend big sums of money and encounter all kinds of personalities. The amount of professional and personal growth you can achieve on a campaign is huge.

4) What is the worst advice you've received?
There are all kinds of good and bad advice out there but something to watch out for when job hunting is folks looking to staff up a campaign quickly and push you in a direction you don’t want to go in.
There is a shortage of good finance directors and field operatives out there, so when someone is a good finance director, for example, they often get pigeon-holed into that job and have a hard time getting someone to give them their first opportunity as a manager or as a press secretary.

I think it is important when a cycle ends and when you are looking at your next job in your 20's to think about what you want to do next. Consultants, committees and candidates will often push you into a role that they need to fill instead of taking a step back to think about what would be a good fit for you. If you have the flexibility, don't jump into something just to have a job. Think about what gets you to where you want to go.

5) What lesson are you still trying to learn?
Work/life balance. Has that been everyone’s answer to this question so far? (Editor’s note: yes.)

6) What was the best thing about being in your 20's?
Throwing everything in my car and driving to a new campaign. Living all over the country. 9:30PM happy hour with fellow campaign staffers – after call time obviously. Making life-long friends and inside jokes at 2am while cutting turf. Cutting turf. (Y’all don’t do that anymore. It’s called cutting turf because we actually used to copy then cut pages of a street atlas with a pair of scissors and highlight the turf. How’s that for a throwback?) Trying to explain to my parents what I do for a living. Wait. That still happens.

7) What one thing should I absolutely do before I turn 30?
Spend time nurturing yourself. That can mean a lot of things but find a way to take care of YOUR needs and do it. Stay in touch with friends and family, read non-political books, go to the gym, make that dentist appointment, travel somewhere abroad. I sound like my mother but she is always right.

8) What's the best thing about being 34?
There were times in my 20s when I didn’t know whether the grueling 15-hour days and the time away from friends and family was worth it. I had a lot of anxiety about what came next and doubted myself a little too much. I know now that every job I had from field organizer to campaign manager to western political director helped me grow and learn and I added to a collection of wonderful friends. I can say with confidence that the role I have now will help me grow in to the next step, whatever that may be. I’m not sure I could do that in my 20s. I’ve been lucky, but I’ve also worked hard and learned that screwing up a few times was worth it.

9) What are you looking forward to?
More winning.

10) What else?
Pick an airline and a hotel chain, be loyal and start building points and miles asap. Let points and miles pay for your vacations. If you're gonna be (F)unemployed between campaigns you might as well do it on a beach.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ask An Election Nerd: Organization for Time Management

I’ve been an FO/RFD working on three very different campaigns three years in a row to unseat three straight Republicans. The campaign I’m on now is the most thorough I’ve worked on and the most important I’ve worked on, and CampaignSick makes sense of every single thing I am doing on this race and why.

Here’s a question I hope everyone can help me out with: when going about day to day tasks, how do you manage your time in the most efficient way? What time management skills do you incorporate?

When we talk about time management, we're really talking about self management. For me that means managing my stress so that I can put all of myself into the task at hand. With that in mind, these are some organizational tips that have worked for me.

1) Turn off your cell phone.You can get to a point where everything feels like a emergency, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Once in a while, when it comes to a key strategy meeting, or sitting down to finally write a budget, commit to turning off phones, maybe even going off site, and being fully present. When you take a step back, way fewer things need an immediate response than seem to in the moment.

2) Prioritize being on time and keeping appointments. When you do things like constantly reschedule one on ones with your staff, or push back less than urgent meetings with your candidate, it creates a culture of chaos and makes people feel like like you don't value their time. Nothing unimportant should be on your calendar in the first place, and if you put it off now it will still be looming later. Things come up, and sometimes a shift is unavoidable, but the best way to make sure that your tasks are getting done is to meet them head on rather than consistently delay them for other priorities.

3) Keep a white board to do list. Paper to do lists get messy quickly and eventually you have to flip back 15 pages to make sure you got everything. A white board can sit on your desk as a visual reminder of what's on your plate both short and long term. At the beginning of the day (or better yet, the day before) look at what tasks absolutely must get done before you leave. When a new task arises in the middle of an old one, write it down and keep working. This can keep a task from distracting you while finish what you were doing without letting things fall off your plate. When you finish one task, scan your list for the next priority.

4) Create a daily checklist. Different from a fluctuating to do list, these are the things you need to do daily when you first come in or before you walk out the door. For a Campaign Manager on a small campaign this might include: Do you have the candidate's schedule set for the next day? Do you know who is staffing her? Is her car stocked with supplies? Have you gotten numbers from your field director? I also have a similar checklist for events so that in the rush to prepare for a big surrogate, little details don't get ignored.

5) Use a Google Calendar. (Or Outlook). Unlike a physical calendar it can't get lost, you can invite others to meetings, and you almost always have access to it.

6) Delegate. Tasks fall into three categories: those that must be done by you, those that you need to approve but that could be executed by someone else, and those that could be completed by someone else entirely. The things that fall into the first category should be your first priority.

You should consider empowering people you manage to do activities that fall into the second category. It may be difficult to part with these tasks, but remember that in delegating you're training the managers of tomorrow. You're also making smart use of your time by not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. Sometimes its more important to get a press release out there than to have it worded exactly as you would have worded it.

There is no reason you should be doing things that fall into the third category. If an organizer spends two hours every day doing data entry, it makes sense to spend an hour a week recruiting data entry volunteers instead. Campaign volunteers are invaluable in this capacity because they multiply your person power exponentially so take advantage of that and organize your way out of the job!

7) Do the most difficult tasks first. This is really about personal management, so if you're the type like me to let a stressful project loom over your day, why not get it out of the way?

8) Acknowledge requests as they come through. Make people feel valued by letting them know that you hear what they need and will get back to them by ____ day. Then set yourself a calendar appointment or put it on your white board.

9) Have a go-to activity for your downtime. Okay, "downtime" might be a little bit of a misnomer. I'm talking about those 10 minute segments between meetings when there's not enough time to start a new project but you don't want to just sit on your hands. I'm also talking about an activity for when you're so overwhelmed with to dos that you don't know where to start. For an organizer or finance assistant this might be just picking up the phone and making some calls. The activity should be something that's always needed and is a great (and kind of mindless) way to instantly feel productive. For a more senior position this might be working on part of your GOTV training, crafting a fundraising email, or checking in on key stakeholders who fall off the radar but occasionally need a little love.

10) Work smarter, not longer. Nothing sucks your motivation like sitting behind a computer staring ahead because you are "supposed" to be in the office. The same task that you're doing at midnight could likely be accomplished more efficiently at 10 am. Get some sleep! Get some exercise! Self-care is not selfish care. It is crucial to time management because it allows you to be fully present and your best self when you are working.

I hope that helps!

Campaign Love and Mine,


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I Need Your Help! Please Become A CampaignSick Sponsor!

Sponsorship update! Please consider supporting CampaignSick. I need your help!

Once I reach 50 regular donors, I will do a little MTV style cribs video is which something a few people have been asking for. And since it’s GOTV I thought I would offer a limited time promotion. If you donate $20 through PayPal this week (or sign up for a recurring sponsorship of $10/month) I will call into your conference call and say hi! These are both donor generated ideas, so if you have something you’d like to see as a thank you gift, submit your idea to

Thank you to everyone who has become a sponsor so far and thank you for all that you do!

Happy GOTV!

Campaign Love and Mine,


Make a one time donation through PayPal

Or Click Here to become a CampaignSick Sponsor!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Just this. Now.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Carl DeMaio is a Human Garbage Slug Who Should Drown In His Own Diarrhea

From San Diego City Beat
"Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio wants voters to know that he's down with the whole women's rights thing: access to birth control, equal pay, etc. But, behind the scenes, if you're a woman he disagrees with, you could be the subject of ridicule.

On Jan. 22, DeMaio sent an email to two members of his staff, campaign spokesperson Dave McCulloch and then-policy director Todd Bosnich (Bosnich has accused DeMaio of sexually harassing him and trying to buy his silence). The email's subject line is "Kate Lyon" and includes a photo of an overweight woman wearing a bra and eating what looks to be a Twinkie. (The woman in the photo is not Lyon.) Based on the email's metadata, it appears to be authentic.

Kate Lyon is the deputy campaign manager for Scott Peters, the 52nd District congressional representative whom DeMaio's challenging in the upcoming election. Earlier in the day on Jan. 22, she's responded to a tweet from McCulloch and was critical of a new DeMaio TV ad that compared Congress to Lindsey Lohan and cockroaches. "U thought ur boss's cockroach ad was representative of new type of [Republican], someone trying to change Washington? Typical," Lyon tweeted at McCulloch.

We checked with Lyon and the Peters campaign before publishing this. Spokesperson Alex Roth provided a statement:

"Kate Lyon is one of the most experienced and respected members of our staff. She previously worked as an attorney, and for NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood. It is disgusting and despicable that this champion for women’s rights, or any woman, would be demeaned this way. I wish I could say it is shocking, but coming from Carl DeMaio, nothing is shocking.""

I can barely type about this because it is so putrid. I sat stunned at my desk for a full 2 minutes with full on rage about this. On what front am I most offended? As a campaign staffer? As a woman? As a person who has struggled with their weight? I DON'T EVEN FUCKING KNOW.

As one commentor on this article observes, "DeMaio presumes fat female bodies are a punchline rather than recognize the proud, lived experience of many who live with dignity in a world that would demean them." Not to mention how completely classless it is to go after campaign staff. Not to mention the long history of sexualizing women in politics in order to take their power away. I won't republish the picture because who knows if it was even put on the Internet consensually (certainly not for this purpose) but it is easy enough to find. Carl DeMaio is disgusting in a lot of ways, but for me this takes the cake.

Supreme Court Allows Texas to Go Ahead With Strict Voter ID Law

Story here. Don't talk to me right now, SCOTUS.