On December 6, 2022, barely a month after CT Republicans failed to win any statewide or federal offices, the New Haven County Republican Assembly hosted a Round Table Discussion to review what happened in the elections and what we could do going forward. CT GOP Chairman Ben Proto was on hand to share his insider analysis of the events leading up to the election and what CT GOP is planning to do going forward.
Watch the full unedited video below.
Thanks for having me everyone. Topic for tonight is what went wrong. So I'm going to tell you what went right because a lot of things went right.
And I know it's hard to believe, I know it's hard to understand, but a lot of things did go right. First and foremost, I think it's important to understand the magnitude of what happened at the top of the ticket versus what happened at the bottom of the ticket. And in the middle of the ticket.
We came within six tenths of a point of electing a congressman. The first time since 2006 that we had a competitive congressional race in the state of Connecticut. The NRCC dropped $5 million into the state of Connecticut into the Fifth Congressional district. They are ready to come back and play in that district and they're also looking to play in the Third District because our friend Lesley DeNardis finally proved to them a point we've been trying to make to them for years, that an Italian from Greater New Haven in the Third District can win the district.
Now, it may not be to beat Rosa, but we also don't think Rosa is going to be running again in 2024. So the NRCC has found some interesting information from that seat and we thank Lesley for that.
And we have had a long conversation about Lesley and what she did. When we looked down the ticket for the first time in the history of the state of Connecticut that we could find, we had two underticket candidates, the treasurer's race and comptrollers race, Harry Aurora and Mary Fay, outperform the governor and the US Senate race.
That is unheard of. What that tells us is, one, there was a huge amount of ticket splitting so people were coming back to the Republican Party when they were not at the top of the ticket. And there was a reason for that was because the message we had at the local level, at the state rep, the state senate level was resonating with people.
We had at least three state senate seats that outperformed the governor and the US senate race and in two of those seats outperformed the congressional race. The hurdle was just too high to overcome.
The difference between twelve state Senators and 15 state senators is literally less than 2000 votes. We saw the same information at the state rep level there were we saw state representative candidates who were outperforming the top of the ticket.
Unfortunately, this is the first gubernatorial, republican gubernatorial race, that did not win the fifth congressional district since 1986. The difference between six tenths of a point loss and a point and a half win was literally the difference between a 13 point loss and a ten point loss.
Think about that for a minute. A ten point loss would have gotten us a congressman in the Fifth. So what we saw was the message at the local level, the state rep, the state senate level, was resonating with people. People were leaving Ned Lamont to come back down and vote for a state rep or a state senator or a treasurer or comptroller candidate.
Why were they doing that? Wasn't because they disagreed with our message. They had an issue at the top, but not as we went down the ticket. They liked their local people. They liked our underticket. And a lot of that had to do with what we were doing as a party and what we were doing as an organization with those folks.
Over the course of the campaign, we reached out and we touched at the doors over a million doors. We touched over 750,000 direct voter contacts through phone. We did close to 2 million text contacts that we did.
For those of you who might be from the Clinton, Westbrook, Killingworth area, Chris Aniskovich. The difference between Chris Aniskovich winning and losing was a huge amount of great work by Chris. But we came in on the last two days and dropped 12,000 get out the vote text messages into that district, and he wins by about 80 votes and flips that seat
We had in the 24th senate district, which is Danbury, New Fairfield, and Richfield, a Cuban American woman who when she came out of Danbury and new Fairfield, was up 450 votes. She lost the race in Ridgefield, once a dynamic Republican town, now a heavily Democratic town because of the people moving in from New York and New Jersey. But again, that was a lot of work there.
So what we were doing and what we were working on, and what we have been working on is building the infrastructure, putting in place the ability for candidates and volunteers to touch people, to talk to people, to reach people, to learn about people.
At the end of the day, folks, there are a number of things that matter in an election or a campaign. First and foremost is the campaign. You've got to have a good campaign.
Secondly, and most importantly, you have to remember what a campaign is. It's a job interview. It's a very long job interview, and you have to interview with everybody in the company.
But it's a job interview. But the most important thing about a job interview is in order to get the job, there has to be a job opening. One of the things that we did not do well, we did not give people a reason to fire Ned Lamont.
We just didn't give them a good reason to fire Ned Lamont. So if you don't give them a reason to fire the guy on the job, there's no job to get hired into. That was a problem that we have. We just didn't give them a good reason to fire Ned Lamont.
The other thing that we learned was that people do not blame their governor for the economic woes and the financial problems we have in any state. If you're not sure - if you disagree with me - across the country, only one incumbent governor lost. Democrat, Republican. Only one. No United States Senate incumbent loss, Democrat or Republican.
So people look at the governor much differently than they look at their state rep and their state senator. The governor is a much more of a 30,000 foot view for people, whereas your state rep and your state senator is much closer to the ground and in reality, have a far greater impact on your life than the governor does. He's the governor - he can't propose legislation, can't pass legislation, can't do a single thing without your state rep or your state senate.
So those are some things that we've learned as we looked at this and we saw what was happening. And I think that provides us great lessons as to how we move forward in the future and how we address issues in the future and how we address particularly incumbent in the future. Now, I don't think in 2026, I don't think Ned Lamont will be seeking reelection. I just don't see him doing a third term. So we have that issue of, now we're back to an open seat where there's a job open.
How do we now convince people to hire us for the job? So, some of the things that we did
from the party, as they talked about the various voter contests, we opened ten field offices across the state of Connecticut. We had 20 to 25 staff people on our payroll who were out knocking on doors, making phone calls, putting up signs, working in those field offices. Every candidate, every campaign had access to Campaign Sidekick, which is our voter contact application, for no charge.
They had access to GOP Data Center, which is a billion dollar database that the RNC has developed over the last number of years, that we utilize. The RNC for the first time in probably well over a decade, if not longer, invested heavily in the state of Connecticut.
We had our community center in New Britain that they opened, that they staffed, that they housed, that they paid all the bills on. They provided us in 2021 with about $300,000 in cash.
When I first came in, well, just before I came in, when we were literally broke, the RNC infused $150,000 into us in March, and after I became chairman, they infused another $150,000 in cash. Over the course of the 2022 cycle, they probably infused another close to $150,000 in cash, plus about $200,000 in manpower.
In regards to the New Britain office, the NRCC, as I said, was in for close to half a million dollars in George Logan's race. They spent some money in the Second District, and they're prepared to come back.
So, yes, we were very disappointed with the outcome. And yes, there are things we can do better. And it's easy to dwell on the things that went badly and went wrong, but we also have to look at the things that went right and we also have to learn from the things that went wrong and do them better. And learn from the things we did right and do those even better.
So while nobody in this room is happy about the outcome, nor should we be happy about the outcome, I can tell you that it's not as dark as you think it is. It looks that way, but it's not as dark as you think it is.
We're coming into the municipal cycle. We have right now about 109 towns that are controlled by Republican mayor or First Selectmen or Republican led legislative bodies. We will increase that number this year. I truly believe that there are towns we can pick up this year that will put us in a good position going forward.
We're looking at various changes to the structure of the Party. We've just spent literally a year working on our bylaws to bring our bylaws into what I call the 21st century and doing things to change how we go about working with candidates, how we go about nominating candidates, what we do after the convention with candidates, how we can provide things for them.
I've had a number of conversations. Next week, I'll be having lunch with Nancy DiNardo. Who's the Chair of the Connecticut Democratic Party. She and I are going to talk about things that she and I can do together with our legislature to change our election laws because she sees problems with our election laws. She sees problems with our campaign finance laws. She sees problems with our CEP program. So, yes, they're our enemy in November, but there are times when we have common interests, and she and I are going to work together to see if we can't change some of those things to make our election cycles better, to improve our nominating process. She doesn't necessarily like the process any more than I like the process.
There are things that I think we need to do. For instance, I cannot understand - I've never been able to understand why minor parties get to nominate their candidates in September when we have to nominate our candidates in May. Everyone should be on the same calendar, all parties nominated the same time.
Quite frankly, I don't understand why minor party candidates get less CEP money than the Democrat or the Republican candidate. If we're going to have this program then it should be fair and equal across the board.
We just adopted a constitutional amendment to go to early voting. Now, many of you in this room may not like that. I can tell you Republicans do better in early voting than Democrats do. In early voting, not absentee voting. We do better in early voting. There's a difference. There's a big difference. Because the thing about Republicans and people who support us, they do. Our folks like to go stick their ballot in the machine. Doesn't matter where you live, Republicans and people who support Republicans like to go vote. They don't vote absentee.
Absentee is another issue now, I can tell you this year we had a huge absentee ballot program. We put out over 150,000 absentee ballot applications. We had a huge push and chase program. We are always going to lose absentee ballots. But here's the thing. I had candidates and I had incumbent senators and representatives calling me this year saying, I can't believe I only lost absentee ballots three to one. I'm used to losing a five and six to one. In some places, we lost them three to two because we put a different program in place to chase those ballots, to push those ballots, to get people to come vote. And you're right, we need to find better and stronger ways to address that issue.
One of the things that I've said to our legislators, now that we've adopted early voting, please explain to me why we need no excuse absentee balloting. If you can't show up three or five days, two weeks before an election to vote because you're going to be out of town on election day, I understand you might get sick on election day or you might be permanently involved, stuck in your home from a disability or an illness, that's different.
But with early voting, there's no reason why people can't come to vote. They don't need to have no excuse to vote for an absentee ballot. And our folks agree with us on that. And I think Nancy agrees with me on that. We've had that conversation as well.
So there are a lot of things we're going to look at. I think we can get some support from the other side to make some changes within our election laws, which I think are dramatically needed. I've said before, there are laws on the books that were written 50, 60 years ago that address a two party system, a Democrat and a Republican. And that's it. That is not the system we have today.
We have multiple candidates, we have multiple parties. We have a much larger ballot than we had back then. And we need to bring those, put all of our election laws together and make sure they're consistent and they work together before we implement a new way to vote.
So those are some of the things that we're doing, some of the I think the good things that came out of November.
Of course, again, we are disappointed in the outcome.
So, Jeff, I have to take a couple of questions. I know you want to get on to that, so I don't want to take too much of Dr. Wharton and Dr. DiNardis's time and hopefully Senator Markley will join us. But if there's some questions, I'm happy to answer.
Q: Yes, Greg Scalzo from Madison, Connecticut, do we know what the percentage of turnout was registered Democrats, Registered Republicans?
January 9th is the deadline for the registrars to submit their "who voted" into their system. Many registrars have already begun to do that or have completed it, particularly the smaller towns. It's a little bit easier for them. But January 9 is the deadline. We are in the process now of reaching out to all of our Republican registrars and asking them to send us their head moderator returns for each polling place. And we're going to collect the vote totals and the data by polling place, not just by town, but by if you have ten voting places, we're going to get the data from each of those polling places in each of those districts. And then once we are able to get the who voted the turnout, we're going to take that. And we have a firm that we've been working with who's going to do a complete voter analysis for us on turnout, on who voted, when they voted, where they voted, things along those lines. So we're working on that. We just have to wait for the registrars to do their thing.
Q: Is there any early trends?
We know that there was about a quarter of a million fewer votes in 2022 than there was in 2018. Across the board, across the state of Connecticut, about a quarter of a million fewer Democrat, Republican, unaffiliated, all the little minor parties. We know that the turnout in the cities was much lower in 2022 than it was in 2018.
And we know our percentage of the vote in the cities increased. And that tells us two things. It tells us, one, that the Democratic base in the cities is not happy with what's happening in Hartford. They just couldn't come to bring themselves to vote for us yet. So their choice was to vote for what they're not happy with or vote for someone they don't trust yet or not vote at all. They chose not to vote. However, if we look at the vote totals in those places, we were able to convince some of those folks that you needed to come over to us because we had a better idea. We had a better way of doing this.
We saw better voter turnout in the Hispanic communities, and we knew we were going to see better voter turnout in Hispanic communities. We spent a lot of time in the Hispanic communities. We had a number of our - George did a number of ads, both television and radio, Spanish television, Spanish radio. We had a number of state rep, state senate candidates who did Spanish radio, Spanish television.
Lesley, you did some stuff in the Spanish community, I think, right? She was on the ground, but we actually went into the cities, and that was part of the whole RNC community outreach center, was to go into the Black and Hispanic communities and have conversations with them because we understand we're not going to convince them in one election to come support us. It's going to take time.
And one of the things that I'm committed to and I've asked the Committee to be committed to is, simply because the election is over doesn't mean we stop going to those communities. We got to keep going to those communities. We know the Hispanic community in particular is very closely aligned with our principles and values. They're family oriented. They believe greatly in the Christian Judeo ethic. They're conservative for the most part. They're church going folks.
We see the same thing in the South Asian continent community, the Indian, the Pakistani, the Bangladesh communities, and we see it in the Asian communities.
The African American community is becoming, I think, more and more moving in our direction. Not so much maybe on those issues, but they're beginning to understand after generation and generation to generation are being lied to and not getting what the rest of us are getting, they're understanding we need to figure out a different way to do this. They just can't get themselves to us yet. So for some of them, it's like, I'm just going to stay home and that's my message and maybe people will get it.
I don't think they will in Hartford or in Washington on the Democratic side. So it's our job to now go show them how our principles and values align with theirs, and together we can be helpful to each other.
Q: You mentioned they just haven't been able to give us a chance. What would you say is either one, two or three biggest thing that gets in the way of them deciding?
I think human nature to some extent.
Q: They've been told we've been racist for forty years
That's part of it. The other part of it is you need to understand what voting is one of the problems that we have on our side, we try to convince people to intellectually support us. That's not why people vote. People people don't vote intellectually, and that's not because they're dumb or stupid.
Voting is an emotional action. You vote because you're happy, you're sad, you're mad, you're pissed, you're angry, you're scared. Whatever it is we spend more time talking about budgets and tax policies and pension liabilities and contracts and $500 billion and a billion dollars here.
And at the end of the day, the Democrats are there saying we're going to make sure that you got your sneakers. That's a big part of it. Now, I'm not saying we should go into those communities and do what the Democrats do and promise them the world because the Democrats haven't delivered them the world. They'll never be able to deliver them the world, nor can we. It's not our job to deliver them the world. It's our job to deliver them the opportunity to go grab the world. That's the difference between Democrats and Republicans.
And so I think some of it is the devil you know versus the devil you don't know. I know the Democrats are going to screw me. I just don't know how badly the Republicans are going to screw me. So I'll just stick with the one and I know how much it's going to hurt. That's a human nature kind of thing and it takes time. And we're beginning to see more and more of it. We're beginning to see as particularly the black and Hispanic communities begin to acquire wealth, acquire assets, move into the middle class and the upper middle class.
Their attitudes change much like our families and our parents attitudes change as they moved out of - if they were here, if they traveled here from another country or they grew up in the Depression, they bought that first house or they bought their only house, their kids got better than them and our kids got better than us. And so they're beginning to move into those directions. It's just taking them longer to do it. It's our job to help them continue to make that move.
Q: As far as having a convention and primary, I know by law we got to have the convention. We can probably go into a room and convene a convention and be done with it and let it go to primary. But we can beat ourselves as Republicans with primaries and I don't know how we can get around that. I know there are many candidates that want to send out their messages. Don't waste your money with the conventions and let go of primaries. And let the primary kill itself.
I like you. I have argued for a long time, long before I became chairman, I would like to see us do away with the convention process and go to a direct primary. Well, but the other part of it is -
Q: Are we going to trust the unelected electorate to choose our candidates? I don't think so.
Well, that's what happened this year. That's what happens in every primary and we're seeing more and more primary. Look, let's go back to 2018, right? The guy who we nominated at the primary told us to go screw ourselves at the convention. I've advocated for moving to a direct primary system. I think it would provide better opportunity for candidates to get their message out earlier.
Now, the problem you have with that is our citizens election program is broken. It is completely broken. It doesn't work particularly at the state level. It barely works at the state house and state rep level. And if you happen to be in a primary, you don't get your money until June. If you're lucky. If SEEC decides that you have all the periods in the right place and all the commas in the right place and all the zip codes match the credit cards and the people's names are spelled correctly and they didn't miss a box.
We had candidates, we had at least three state senate candidates who submitted their qualifying paper the end of May and got their money in August. They just kept kicking it back, kicking it back, kicking it back. So the CEP system, in my opinion, is broken. If we're going to have the system, it needs to be fixed and it needs to provide money sooner, particularly if we're going to have a convention system, then you need to have money to run your convention operation.
Q: Have we started talking to candidates for two years from now?
Q: Hopefully that we don't have to deal with primary.
Well, the system is structured in such a way that I know everybody says we have the 46th hardest ballot to get on.I disagree with that. I don't think it's really hard to get on the ballot in the state of Connecticut, particularly in a primary if you really want a primary, nor is it very hard to get on a general election ballot if you're not through one of the parties
One of the things that we wanted to do this year, and unfortunately we weren't able to with the Logan race, we wanted to challenge, and I'm still having conversations with the RNC we want to challenge the concept of fusion voting in Connecticut. And for those of you who don't know what fusion voting is, that's taking all the votes you get on all of your lines. So Ned Lamont was on three lines and you add them all up.
If you want a strong third party minor party system in your state, then you don't do that because Working Families are going to keep nominating the Democrats, the Franks, Griebel Ticket or Griebel Franks or whatever the hell it's called, is going to keep nominating Democrats, although they lost their opportunity to nominate.
So we are one of only four states in the country that allows fusion voting. I believe it's unconstitutional and I think it causes a problem for voters in a lot of ways. If we want to create a strong third party system in this state, I have no objection to a strong third party system in this state. I think it provides better opportunities to get your messages out and to show a contrast between people.
Then we got to stop doing that and let the Working Family parties go out. The nominated candidate, who's a member of the Working Family Party, who's going to run on their platform, who's going to talk about defunding the police? Who's going to talk about bringing in more socialistic ideas? Who's going to talk about stronger labor markets?
That's fine. If that's your position, God bless them. Knock your socks off. I will do everything I can to help you get that message out right. But that's how you create a strong third party system. And we're seeing it more and more across the country as more and more states are finding more and more third parties getting on their ballot. And I think it helps us.
So, putting politics and Republican Democrat aside, I believe it helps the electorate. It provides them with more choice. It provides them with more contact. It provides them with more of an ability to make a decision as to who they want to support or who is more closely aligned with their values. At the end of the day, that's a voter's job. And I think the more opportunity they have to do that, the better our system is. And that's not Democrat or Republican position. That's just my belief in our electoral system.
I'll do one more, and then I know you want to get going. Ahead.
Q: Ben, first, I just want to know - Ed Boughton, North Branford RTC Chair. As far as what you were saying, there was kind of like two things you mentioned that I thought were pretty pointed. One is the state party absolutely did a great job of developing get out the vote efforts, absentee ballot programs and a lot of mechanics involved with that. But one of the points that you also made was that our voters, our candidates may not have made an emotional connection like you just talked about to the voters. And people don't vote with their brains. They vote with their hearts.
And with that in mind, would it not be a good idea in absence of an elected party leader, say a governor or senator or something like that, to develop a communication committee or communication part, albeit a message or a platform? Scary word. That's something that the Republican Party could sell 365 days a year and combat the emotional connection that the Democrat party has from the gate with their voters. You know, we spent all this effort on getting out the vote in absentee ballots and all this money to do so. And in 1 minute Lamont can get in front of a camera and say that Democrats support women's rights. And because of our lack of defining message - boom - they've already done what we had to spend all of our money and effort to do. Do you not think that that would benefit us to develop and craft a message to sell?
I do. It then, of course begs the question of the message and is the message an issues based message or is the message a principle and values based message?
Q: Well, I guess my point is both because I feel like and I know a lot of people who think the way I do are frustrated because if you went out and asked the average voter, even Republican voters, what the State Party stood for, what its message was, I don't think anybody can answer that.
I can't tell you they can tell you the Democratic Party stands for.
Q: They do. They know instantly that Democrat Party's for women's rights, that they're for gay rights, that they're for any number of things, that they've been drilled into, that we have to combat.
And I think that argument is more recently developed than it has been in the past. And I think Dr. Wharton and Dr. Dinardis will probably talk about this in a little bit, in that the old saying that all politics is local is wrong. It just doesn't apply. It doesn't apply. All politics is national.
I mean, I was I'll give you I was at Uconn Law School last night. I spoke with the Vice Chair of the Democratic Party, Adrienne Billings-Smith. She and I had a great time together. We had a young gentleman with us who ran as a petitioning candidate for state rep. Three of us talked in his class for about 2 hours. And, you know, we we talked about that and we talked about when I asked him a question. I said how many of you in this room watch channel Eight, channel Three, channel 30, or channel 61?
No, I don't. Now, they're all younger for the most part.
How many in this room watch channel Eight, channel Three, channel 30, or channel Six for something other than the weather?
How many watch MSNBC, CNN, Fox, or CNN, CNBC?
I know who most of you watch, but you all understand that's not news. It's not news. It's all talking heads spouting opinions. And usually all of their opinions are wrong, but they're driving a point. And the point that they're driving, particularly if you live on this [cell phone], which everybody under the age of about 90 now lives on, right? And we get our news from here, and we get our updates from here, and we get our opinions from here, and we get our TikTok on how to fix your carburetor from here and everything else.
Here's the thing, and I said this last night to these kids. If I can't get your attention 7 seconds, you flip to the next page, and after 15 seconds, you're gone entirely. So the reality is that we all get our news from different places, and in most cases, it's not news, it's opinion, and it's somebody else's opinion. It's not even our opinion. And when you do go to a news site and I had this conversation with an NBC News.com reporter earlier this year, anybody know what a reporter's job is today in the media market?
Get clicks. You know why? You know what happens when you click on a story? A banner pops up. That's right. Money going to sell you soap. A reporter's job is to sell you soap. It's not to give you news. It's to get you to click on their story so the banner will pop up. So you will buy Tide or whatever it is on the banner that's popping up.
And they will admit to that because they are being told by their editors and their publishers, you need to get the story up fast. So what does that mean? No more double sourcing. In some cases, very rarely single sourcing. And they get it wrong. You know why they can get it wrong? That they couldn't do it a newspaper that they can do with a digital story, they can fix it. They can go in and change the words and they get a whole new story up. They can't do that in a newspaper.
So the way we collect our news and the way we gather our news and quite frankly, the Democrats are just better at it. They are better at it digitally, they are better at it messaging, and they are just better at the grassroots and the boots on the ground, primarily because the difference between a Democrat and Republican is very, very simple.
For Republicans, no, for Republicans, for everybody in this room Politics is an advocation. It's not what you do for a living. For Democrats, It's a vocation. It's what they do for a living. And here's the thing. If I came after any one of your jobs, if I came after the way you put food on your children's table, how you keep a roof over your family's head, you would do everything you could to stop me. That's what they do.
And that's hard for us to get out of because we all go to work every day in our jobs, whether a white collar job, a blue collar job, a stay at home mom job, I don't care what it is. We actually have non government jobs for the most part. For the most part. There's some in the room who have government jobs, but most of us have non government jobs. We don't rely on a taxpayer job or as Scarlett would say, the kindness of strangers. We don't rely on the kindness of the governor or the kindness of the legislature.
That's hard to overcome because that if I came after your family, you do everything you could stop right. And you would be right to do so. So I don't blame them for what they do because we would all do the same thing. We just have to figure out a better way to work that mousetrap.
I'm going to take one more because you have your hand up for a long time.
Q: Paul Crisci - I ran for State Senate District Twelve
And did a great job, Paul did a phenomenal job.
Q: So I do marketing and consulting and anyone that knows me knows I have no problem, I have no filter. And I say the way it is. We spend more time with paralysis by analysis than we do actually doing our jobs. Okay?
We are good at being second place because we're so busy being angry and defending ourselves that we don't have a master plan. We're not splitting atoms here. I do marketing for a living. I look at the analytics all the time.
Leora Levy, who some people felt was very conservative. got 500,000 votes, she lost by 200,000. There were over 300 to 1,000 votes from my town I could be off that didn't come out and vote. This is not Republican Democrat. This is north and south. There is a majority in this state that we do not acknowledge called unaffiliated we need to start identifying and having a message.
Trump was impeached before he even won the election because they didn't stop singing from the same songbook. We're fragmented. They can't be just the Proto's job. They can't be all of these different things. There has to be a way they are grooming their people. They sing from the same songbook. I watched in my district - the state reps speaks the same way during a debate. I saw us sometimes apologize or agree with another opponent.
Instead of having a master plan, we can't be talking about whether there's a surplus or not without dissecting it and finding out why it shouldn't have been a surplus in the first place and it was real. But to Mr. Proto's Point, they've figured out, get the elite on your side and tell them what they want and give them what they want. Give the lower class that they need.
And we're too busy work all day long and they've got two thirds covered. But the fact of the matter is if you say something enough time, people will start to listen to it. So the problem is our message. Simple, concise, clear, point. Sneakers as an example.
But at the end of the day, what do people want? My opponent in five weeks said we need more abortions. I'm going to get you more abortions. For anybody that was at my debate, I told her, go read a Bible that went over really well. But at the end of the day, because she was talking about she was talking about assisted suicide. At my debate, they never once asked about crime. They never asked about economy. They never asked about anything. Why were the Women's League of Voters dictating when we have a debate?
We need to start working together to call out our opponents who manipulated seven days before the election. I have no business. I lost my election, but I took $300,000 out of my own pocket. I didn't have a fundraiser and I took less than $3,000 in donations that people gave that I didn't even know. I put my money where my mouth is in. At the end of the day, we're going to be a real party then we need to define who you are because right now you have a group of people that told me they weren't going to vote for me unless that I'm going to support 30 round magazine. There needs to be a conversation about absolutes and negotiables, what is going to get us in power so that we can then move forward and put proper values into place.
But if we're constantly swinging for the fences, we're going to have a problem. I'll leave you with this. Anyone that's a football fan, the reason why - people have heard me say this before - the reason why Bill Belichick and the Patriots win all the time is because he's never worried about what the other team is doing. He's worried about his game plan. Seattle Seahawks lost 3ft away from the goal line because they got cute because they were trying to outsmart Phil Belichicks. The Atlanta Falcons were up by 28 points and lost in eight minutes because they were trying to be cute. We need to stop worrying about what the hell they're doing. We start worrying about what the voters want.
Control what you can control and don't worry about what you can't.
Q: Start Today and not six months before because with all due respect to do this absentee, I have a different approach. Why do we have to turn around and forfeit to them to say that they have absentee ballots? The problem is we didn't start talking about absentee ballots until June. I was at a meeting. I was like, Are we late? And everybody was like, no, we're in a good place. And then guess what? Amy Stefanowski said, well, my daughter got an envelope with a stamp on it to my daughter getting the ballot ahead of time. We were late. We just got to a better plan. Preparation before I need a plan.
I'm going to leave you with a baseball analogy, and this is the analogy that I told a number of candidates. My favorite movie is Bull Durham. I love Bull Durham. For those of you who watch Bull Durham, it's a great movie. There's a great scene in Bull Durham when the team is playing very badly and the manager comes in, throws the bats across the shower floor and calls the wall lollygaggers. And he says to them, baseball is a simple game.
You hit the ball, you catch the ball, you throw the ball. I told that story to at least three statewide candidates and then asked them this question why are you trying to do something else with the ball?
There's only three things you can do with it. Hit it, catch it, or throw it.
Politics is a simple game. We overthink it. It is not rocket science. It's basically talking to the person on the other side of the fence from your yard. That's all politics is. It's not this. It's not TBS. It's just talking to people. It's selling a product. It's a contact sport. It's connecting with people. It's networking with people, and it's getting people to like you. If they don't like you, They're not going to vote for you. They may not vote for you if they like you, but we know for sure they're not going to vote for you if they don't like you.