Flashback Friday – Campaigns & Elections

I thought it would be fun this Friday to revisit a couple old Campaigns & Elections articles I shared over the past year or so.

I’ve always been a huge fan of Campaigns & Elections and it’s been fun getting the opportunity to share insights for their great publication.


Back to Basics with Campaigns & Elections:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

AI Gets Top Billing in New GOP Incubator Investments

Happy reading!

Martha Waffles and Nicole Schlinger at another event.

Nicole Schlinger

Things I’m Into Lately…

Here’s a roundup of great things I’m digging these days.


Have you seen that Sen. Ted Cruz started a new podcast called “Verdict.” This is a good listen, always enjoy what he has to say.


SBA List endorsed Sen. Lindsey Graham. 

Lindsey Graham Nicole Schlinger



And finally, a little dose of Daily Stoic

This was eerily fitting. You have to put yourself in the position that Epictetus said we must be in—the only position that lets you greet adversity with the expression, “You are precisely what I trained for.”

Nicole Schlinger Daily Stoic


Thanks for stopping by,

Nicole Schlinger

Good Riddance

Nicole Schlinger Lord & Taylor
On my very first election night, 1994, I wore a Lord & Taylor suit purchased at the Carousel Mall in Syracuse, NY. That night, Republicans took over Congress for the first time in over 50 years. I considered it my lucky suit.
I wore that suit on Election Night in 1996. Mike Mahaffey lost.
I wore that suit on Election Night in 1998, as Finance Director of the Republican Party of Iowa. We lost the Governor’s office for the first time in three decades.
I wore that suit on Election Night in 2000, the 2002 Dumpster Fire, and 2004.
Loss. Loss. Loss.
Finally, in 2006, as the clock ticked past 5 pm, I left the office and thought about putting that suit on one more time. I knew Jim Nussle would lose. Bill Dix had already lost his primary. Jim Leach was in serious trouble. The notion of putting on that suit, now out of style and ill-fitting as I’d gained weight, was just unbearable. I wouldn’t be in the room with any of those candidates. They had people t whose opinions they valued more than mine. I’d be milling around with a bunch of activists and a few donors, likely the highest ranking and most experienced person roaming the floor of the election night “victory” party with people asking me to explain why this was all happening yet again.
I left the suit in the closet and stayed home. No one missed me. And yes, they all lost.
There had to be more to life than this. And there was.
I still have that suit, and if fits again. The shoulder pads are monstrous. If you have a candidate you REALLY want to lose … let me know, and I’ll wear it to see if the old magic works.

“We solemnly pause and remember the fallen”

Nicole Schlinger 9-11

On the 15th Anniversary of 9-11, Sen. Cruz shared this:

On September 11, 2001, the world briefly stopped turning while people from across the globe stood in horror as our nation faced one of its darkest hours. As we watched the planes crash, the buildings crumble and thousands of innocent lives lost in an act of pure evil, we also saw the very best of America – strength, patriotism, and courage.

Through clouds of smoke and rubble, firefighters, law enforcement officers, first responders, and Good Samaritans rushed into harm’s way, some making the ultimate sacrifice, to save the lives of so many.

And since then, our brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces have continued their mission to ensure that justice is served and our freedoms are protected.

Today, we solemnly pause and remember the fallen. We remember each and every American who showed up during our country’s time of great need. And we express our profound gratitude for all those who have sacrificed and continue to serve in our ongoing fight against terror.

May we never forget September 11.

We will never forget.

Happy Labor Day from the CHQ Team

Nicole Schlinger Labor Day

The days are flying by and it’s hard to believe it’s already Labor Day. We all know what this means – the final sprint to Election Day.


We know there’s still so much to be done, that’s why we’re here for you this weekend. We know the days are numbered and we haven’t got that much time to get you across the finish line.


We know you won’t take a break and we won’t either. What can we get started for you?


Nicole Schlinger

Working Backward – Marlys Popma

Our CampaignHQ team is one that is hard working, reliable, extraordinary at what they do and truly experts in politics. Senior Campaign Director, Marlys Popma, knows what it takes to win and lead successful campaigns. Here’s a quick write up she put together for our clients, sharing her expertise.


The 2020 election cycle will be my 34th year working to elect conservative candidates and uphold conservative principles.

After this many election cycles, I’ve seen a great number of promising candidates fail through a lack of planning. Conversely, I’ve also seen candidates many “experts” wrote off win an election with grit, determination, and a sound voter contact plan.

So how do you begin crafting an effective voter contact strategy?

Start by working backward. What is your vote goal on election day? What steps do you need to take each week to achieve that?

Here’s an example:

Election Day Goal – Set your vote goal.

In the five days preceding the election your goal should be to physically touch at least three quarters of those voters either by door knocking, phone, conTEXT, or digital media.  You should have a list of people equal to at least one half of your vote goal to call to turn out to the polls.

In the months immediately preceding the election you should be working on an absentee or vote by mail program. There is nothing worse than winning at the ballot box and losing the election. Set up a phone Voter ID program to determine which people plan to vote early. First, work with those who have done so in the past, and then select other likely suspects, like homes with 18-25-year old’s and seniors who have never voted early. For those you cannot reach on a live call, send them a text message.

Forty-five to sixty days out, start your head-to-head phone ID work.  Don’t just ask who the voter supports, ask who their second choice is.  If the voter has a second choice they are still up for grabs and if you are the second choice, you need to make a run at them. Again, use a smart combination of phones and text.

The two or three months prior to the election should be used to identify voters by issue. Don’t start your candidate voter ID program too early. People don’t typically make up their minds on a candidate until a month or two before the election. Use the early months to find out what people care about so you can target your direct mail and digital media at just the right issues.

Don’t forget, if you have someone ID’d by issue, you can tie their primary issues to their first and second candidate choice. If you are the second choice of an individual and you know what issues they care about, now you have something to work with.

That’s my plan in a nutshell. Of course, I am at CampaignHQ, so this is going to be heavy on phones and text, but identifying and turning out voters is done in no better way than by having a conversation. And don’t forget to use some of the latest technology for GOTV and Advocacy calls – conTEXT peer to peer text messaging. Whether you are using phones, conTEXT or both, you can be assured, it’s fast and cost effective.

If I were drafting a plan in earnest, there would be calendars, vote goals, andobjectives that say when we need to have a certain number of voters identified, etc.

And remember, a plan is not a plan unless it’s on paper.

If you have a candidate in one of the upcoming primaries and you have not yet established your turnout plan, give us a call. Not only can we help you with your calls and texts, we can help you put that plan on paper!

I look forward to celebrating your victory with you on Election Night!

The Original Shrewd Political Insider

Nicole Schilnger Dying Everyday

Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero by James S. Romm

If you have read Ryan Holiday’s books — including Ego is the Enemy, The Obstacle is the Way, or The Daily Stoic — and think you have a decent understanding of Seneca, you are wrong.

You think you know Seneca? If you haven’t read this book, you don’t know Seneca.

Dying Every Day is the story of Seneca’s life and the circumstances in which he wrote his greatest works of fiction and philosophy.

In his time, Seneca was known as a shrewd political insider — much like a Karl Rove or David Axelrod of his day. As the tutor of the young Emporer Nero, he either knew about and may have played an active role in Nero’s murder of his brother, Brittancus, and mother, Agrippina, herself an amazing political power broker.

Many of his works were designed to be political propaganda, and only at the end, when the alligator he fed eventually came to eat him, did he seem to recant and wish to have led a more ascetic life.

Did Seneca know he wasn’t living his life in accordance to his principles? Is that why he chose to write such enduring works of Stoic philosophy?

I look forward to seeing what Ryan Holiday has to say on this in his upcoming book: Lives of the Stoics which will be released on September 29th.

Nicole Schlinger The Queen's Secret

The Queen’s Secret: A Novel of England’s World War II Queen by Karen Harper

This book is a fictionalized account of the amazing role Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (a.k.a. “The Queen Mother”) played as the Queen of England during World War II.

There are many “ripped from the headlines” scenes including Edward VII’s abdication, her husband’s George V’s coronation, many meetings with Winston Churchill, the bombing of London and young Princess Elizabeth’s first meeting of Prince Phillip. Hitler even called the Queen “The most dangerous woman in Europe.”

However, in this fictionalized account, the Queen harbors some very deep, dark secrets that pertain to Edward VII and Wallis Simpson.

All that should make for a very dramatic, very exciting story. However, the author’s constant repetition of Elizabeth’s internal monologue about having these secrets was just offputting. It seemed as if every other page the reader is reminded that Elizabeth has some secrets, and eventually she’ll let you in on them, rather than alluding to such secrets and letting the story unfold.

If you like WWII England historical fiction, it’s worth a shot. If I had it to do over, I’d take a pass.

Fun Friday – HQ Awards Throwback

I thought we’d keep it light this Friday and do a fun throwback to a recap of last year’s HQ Awards.


Our CampaignHQ employees are known across the country for their legendary
customer service. We love to set aside one night to really showcase all the hard work this team has done over the course the year.


Fun Friday – The Main Event


Have a fun weekend!

IMG_0134Nicole Schlinger Campaign Headquarters

Nicole Schlinger