In early 2012, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and her political allies set up a Super PAC that spent millions with a very specific purpose: win the New Mexico legislature for the Republicans. Despite the overwhelming odds, says David Contarino, Democrats not only held the House, but picked up new seats in the House and maintained a strong edge in the Senate by forming Patriot Majority New Mexico. As the chief strategist, David Contarino guided the campaign. In a recent interview, David Contarino explained how Patriot Majority campaigns help Democrats in Senate, House and gubernatorial races.
Information Nation: Thank you for joining us today, Mr. David Contarino.
David Contarino: It’s my pleasure.
Information Nation: Patriot Majority New Mexico was formed in 2012. Can you explain what it is?
David Contarino: Patriot Majority New Mexico was formed to meet the Republican threat, which was to spend millions to win the New Mexico legislature.
Information Nation: How did Patriot Majority New Mexico form?
David Contarino: Independent supporters of Democrats in the Legislature came together during the summer to pool their funds to stop the Republicans effort at a takeover.
Information Nation: What was your strategy after Patriot Majority New Mexico was formed?
David Contarino: We engaged the Republicans in district after district with communications including mail, and advertisements on radio, TV and the Internet.
Information Nation: So all was done through media?
David Contarino: No, we also invested in aggressive grass roots operations—supporting organizations going door to door in key districts, persuading voters and turning them out to vote.
Information Nation: What was the result?
David Contarino: On Election Day, with Patriot Majority New Mexico’s help, Democrats carried the day.
Information Nation: What did the Democrats have to say about that?
David Contarino: After the election, numerous Democrats who had been attacked mercilessly by the Republican Super PAC early in the campaign told me that Patriot Majority New Mexico was like the cavalry to the rescue—evening the odds in the final month of the campaign and helping secure numerous victories. It surprised all observers.
Information Nation: What did you as a strategist take away from the result?
David Contarino: I learned that superior strategy and tactics beat more money any day.
Information Nation: Is there another example of when Republicans were targeted with ads produced by Patriot Majority?
David Contarino: In 2008, Patriot Majority West, received support to assist Democrats running for Congress and Senate in New Mexico.
Information Nation: Who was the main contributor?
David Contarino: The employee union, AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal employees was a key supporter. They are committed to fair labor practices and do a great job of supporting good jobs at good wages.
Information Nation: Thank you for this interview and good luck with future strategies.
David Contarino: It was my pleasure.
David Contarino is a Democratic political strategist and consultant based in Louisville, Ky. As a manager, senior advisor and media consultant, David Contarino has played a critical role in numerous successful political campaigns over the last 25 years. Throughout his career, David Contarino has maintained that people, not politics, are what ensure a successful campaign. In his free time, David Contarino enjoys skiing and relaxing at his lake cabin in Kentucky.