Campaign Memo: Ron Johnson Has Momentum In Final Two Weeks

To:      Interested Parties
Fr:       Betsy Ankney, Campaign Manager
Re:     Campaign Update
Date:  October 24, 2016

With two weeks until Election Day, the momentum is clearly with Ron Johnson. Recent FEC filings show that we have more cash than Senator Feingold, public and private polling show a race that has considerably tightened and is moving in our direction, and our ground game is firing on all cylinders, passing 2.5 million volunteer voter contacts. Add to that two strong debate performances by Ron where he wiped the floor a negative and lackluster Senator Feingold, and there’s no doubt that we enter the final two weeks of the campaign with the wind at our backs and Senator Feingold and his team on the run.

  • Senator Feingold’s bloated operation spent almost $7 million from July 1 through September 30, leaving them with just $4.8 million cash on hand at the end of the third quarter.
  • Ron ended the third quarter with $5.4 million on hand, leaving us with a cash advantage and the resources we need to execute our plan through November 8.
  • While we knew they spent a lot on ineffective TV ads, we did not realize just how inefficient their operation is, spending millions on operating and fundraising costs alone over the most recent three-month period.
  • In contrast, the efficiency of our operation has allowed us to put most of our dollars towards lead on the target – and the results are reflected in the numbers.


  • As I mentioned two weeks ago, our internal data has shown a consistent tightening of the race and continues to show Ron with a slight edge and independents breaking our way.
  • Multiple public polls within the past week have reflected this tightening of the race, with the latest Marquette poll showing this race within the margin of error.
    • Note that Marquette also shows Ron’s image has improved considerably, with his net image now more favorable than Senator Feingold’s.
  • I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — polling has been all over the map this cycle given the unconventional environment, which is why we rely on our proven data operation and feel confident about our numbers.


  • We’ve made over 2.5 million volunteer voter contacts to date, including knocking on over 1.3 million doors.
    • We made over half a million contacts in the last two weeks and that clip will only increase through election day.
  • We have 80 field staffers and 40 offices open statewide, with an additional influx of volunteers and deployed staffers over the next two weeks.
  • This is the largest field operation the state of Wisconsin has ever had, and in a tight race like this, ground game can make the difference of 2-3 percentage points.
  • In an environment filled with cookie cutter political ads and a presidential campaign that is increasingly negative and devoid of substance, our creative ads have cut through the clutter.
  • We’ve used real people telling their stories about how Ron has helped them, and Senator Feingold’s own words to demonstrate just how corrupt he has become.
  • He’s running a negative campaign devoid of any substance because he has nothing to run on. He’s a man without a core. Knowing that “politician” doesn’t poll well, he’s increasingly turning to false attacks against Ron and poll-tested “plans” that, like everything else in his 34-year political career, are nothing more than all talk and no action.
  • Senator Feingold, on the other hand, continues to run the same negative, false messages against Ron that no one believes, and continues to refuse to talk about his record during his 34 years in politics.
    • He’s run 19 ads since April, and not a single one has mentioned anything that he has done or accomplished.
  • We have more cash for the final stretch than Senator Feingold.
  • Polls continue to move in our direction.
  • In a tight race, ground game makes the difference, and there’s simply no comparison between our operation and theirs.
  • There’s simply no comparison when it comes to ground game – we’ve made over four times as many contacts as Senator Feingold’s team.
  • We have a message that resonates and our ads are cutting through the clutter.
The bottom line: With just two weeks left, the momentum is clearly on our side. People are taking notice of our comeback, and we have the resources, operation, and message to finish strong. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — no one will outhustle Ron and this team. Ron’s been underestimated before, and smart observers would be wise not to do so again.