Guest post by Maggie, our resident office historian. She’s always digging up cool stories about campaigns past, and here’s a fun tidbit about one of them…
Working on the campaign team in Jack London Square provides me with daily lessons on the history of politics in this country and especially here in California, given Jerry’s amazing record of achievements.
Jerry Brown has served on the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees, as California Secretary of State, as Governor of California, the Mayor of Oakland, and the Attorney General of California. He sought the Democratic nominations for president in 1976, 1980, and 1992, and was a Democratic nominee for the United States Senate in 1982.
Throughout his campaigns, Jerry has always integrated creative tactics, and I am honored to be working with a team that has a long record of willingness to be innovative. The staff has been excitedly embracing new media; which is great especially since tools like Twitter were created here in our state.
In 1992, Jerry ran an “ultra-grassroots” campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. When he traveled around the country to speak, he often slept on the couches of supporters. With a small budget, the campaign embraced the emerging alternative media of talk radio and cable TV.
One of the more interesting tools he employed was the use of a toll-free number for contributions. He frequently recited the number at events and printed it on most of his campaign gear.
The line was mostly monitored by staff members, but Jerry sometimes answered the phone himself. He has always been interested in engaging with people in real-time and staying connected to voters (one of the reasons he loves Twitter).
The donations from the toll-free number were really successful, providing access to a wider audience of supporters and eventually yielding 120,000 contributions. In fact, we still use the same number in the office today.