The upcoming primary season could be a gold mine for Democratic comms practitioners as GOP candidates and officeholders carve out policy positions — particularly around abortion access — that can help them through an intra-party contest but may become problematic in the general.
That was one takeaway from 2023 for Anna Breedlove, who on Monday joined Feldman Strategies, a comms firm that works with progressive clients, as an associate director.
Breedlove previously served as the comms director for the Kentucky Democrats working in tandem with the team on Gov. Andy Beshear’s reelect last year.
She pointed to how the party framed its compare-and-contrast messaging for GOP gubernatorial nominee Daniel Cameron: “On the digital side of things, what ended up being really impactful was putting together clips contrasting him during the primary, and then what he was trying to say afterwards. It was his own words that were being thrown back in his face,” she told C&E.
Breedlove noted that Cameron’s position on abortion access was particularly helpful for Democrats. “I think he ended up pissing everybody off,” she said. “Pissing off both his base and voters who were aware that he was not moderate on [the abortion] issue.
She added: “From a messaging discipline standpoint, we were very careful to make sure that the framing was not Daniel Cameron is flip flopping, because he never changed his position. [Rather,] Daniel Cameron is misleading or lying to you.”
Another lesson that Democratic campaigns can take away from 2023’s successful off-year elections is message discipline.
Breedlove, who also previously worked on Rep. Val Demings’ 2022 Florida Senate race, said of the off-year races in Kentucky: “Our messaging stayed really locally focused. That was a huge takeaway that I have from that campaign … We were not distracted by some of the random attacks that we faced.”
The party also worked to craft messaging that was hyper-local: “Everything was very specific, not just to Kentucky, but to the region that we’re in.”