Here’s an interesting tale of electoral alchemy, which is worth repeating from Suzanne Breen in the Belfast Telegraph…
The SDLP’s poll-topping north Belfast councillor Paul McCusker spent just £562 on his election campaign – significantly less than any of his rivals in the Oldpark District Electoral Area (DEA), new figures reveal.
Analysis of Belfast candidates’ election expenses returns in last month’s poll showed that some of the candidates who spent the most failed to be elected, while low-spenders like Alliance’s Michael Long, and the party’s former Lord Mayor Nuala McAllister, topped the poll in their DEAs.
Saving money where your candidate aligns well with the voters releases resources for opening new battlegrounds (in the case of Alliance, this meant picking new fights out west). All ambitious parties should prioritise such factors much earlier in their candidate selection process…
Borrowing from the start up world, only using money where and when there is a final need, frees the campaign manager to think about what needs to be done and who can do it with their time rather than playing experimental games with scarce party resources.
That said, sometimes you do have to spend where you need it. Not everyone is a Paul McCusker! ?
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty