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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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Smock socks Patterson
Jonathan Pait
November 7, 2001

It can sometimes be fun to say, "I told you so." However, yesterday's election giving the at large city council seat to Diane Smock is not one of those cases.

Monday, Upstate Common Voice expressed concern that Smock would take the election. At the point that this current article is being written, it is too early to tell all the reasons. Was it light turnout? Was it an unusual turnout by those who would not typically vote?

The answer to all of those questions has to go back to the way the campaigns were handled. What are some of the things that we can learn from this to use to our benefit in future campaigns?

One. Get the word out. This was one of the major concerns leading to Tuesday's election. Everywhere you turned you could see Smock yard signs. Open the paper and though the editorial staff of both The Greenville News and Greenville Journal endorsed Patterson, the majority of letters from readers supported Smock.

The point is, Smock organized a grassroots campaign. Let's face it, that is how conservatives moved into control here in the Upstate. It started on the precinct level with a focus of involvement—not only by the party leadership, but the rank and file citizen in the neighborhoods.

Could it be that we are now sitting back and expecting the machine that we have created to do the work for us? If so, we will be surely disappointed. Our own successful tactics will be used to unseat us.

Two. Differentiate. Certainly one of the most important aspects of Smock's campaign was the fact that she avoided being labeled and skirted any negatives by focusing on personal qualities rather than issues. People needed to know she is a Democrat. That needed to know who her husband is.

To the casual observer of the process, more was learned about Smock than Patterson. Yet, we really didn't learn that much. Only we were left with a warm feeling brought on by a charming smile. Judging by the closeness of the vote, those “casual observers” may have made the difference.

It will be interesting to see how the precinct voting breaks down. It could be that the political dynamics of Greenville have shifted even more toward the liberal side than at first thought. Perhaps this election is simply a clear indication of a new makeup in the party affiliation in the city.

Then again, perhaps not and those of us that hold conservative values should take this as a wake up call.

To Diane Smock, we welcome her to her new position and hope she governs wisely. Upstate Common Voice tips our hat to her campaign. Though we may not agree with her positions, we recognize that she did what she had to do to win. Call it grudging respect.

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