June 14, 2016


Sad! : These three campaign gurus for Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have had some time to reflect on their loss to The Donald.  And do they ever have stories to tell. (Interview By Sam Stein, 6/14/16, Huffington Post)

When you enter an election, you have a carefully laid plan about how you're going to win it. At what point in the cycle did you realize that plan was meaningless?

Danny Diaz (Jeb Bush's campaign manager) 

A D.C. fixture whose biggest successes have been for moderate Republicans. He helped elect Mark Kirk to the Senate in Illinois and Susana Martinez to the governor's mansion in New Mexico.

I appreciate your starting with me. [laughs] Right after Labor Day, we understood that it was going to be a really, really difficult race for us, despite the advantages that we had. It was persistent in the survey work just the level of unhappiness, anger and disaffection among voters.

Jeff Roe (Ted Cruz's campaign manger) 

He is often described as one of the sharpest minds in Republican politics, the next Karl Rove.
Labor Day was about the time we knew, too.

Really? That seems early.


So we did 5,000 calls a night from the day we got in the race to the day we got out. We had a continual analytic program. And you could tell from early on that Trump had a floor. He was always going to have 25 to 30 percent of liberal-to-moderates, he was going to have 25 to 30 percent of somewhat conservatives, he was going to have 25 to 30 percent of very conservatives.

Alex, what about for you?

Alex Conant (Marco Rubio's communications director) 

He's a well-regarded communications hand who cut his teeth in the George W. Bush administration before heading over to the RNC. He also ran press for Tim Pawlenty in 2012.

Well, we were a lot later than that. We knew that Trump was going to be strong going into the holidays, but it wasn't until after he beat us in Nevada that we felt he was more likely than not to be the nominee.

Let's go back to the moment Trump descended his beautiful gilded escalator at Trump Towers to announce his candidacy. Did you honestly recognize him as a threat?


I was skeptical. Like a lot of people, I didn't even know if he would qualify for the first debate. I didn't know if he would be willing to file the FEC financial disclosures, or if the networks would take him seriously enough to allow him to be on the stage.

I had the editor of a major news outlet tell us that for every candidate who enters the race, they do five stories, including a deep dive on their background and a fact-check of their speech. But they weren't doing that for Trump because they didn't take him seriously. They just viewed it as publicity. And that was how I thought about his candidacy as he came down the escalator.


If you took a cursory look at his record, the positions and stances he had taken, and lined those up against where conservative voters are, it was hard to see how those two lines connected at the outset.

Jeff, what was your polling telling you at the very beginning?


We do our polling a little bit different. We always had a continual, rotating "consider score."A consider score measures whether a respondent will consider a candidate for the office they are seeking. When Trump got into the race, I think he was at a 28/58 favorable/unfavorable rating. And he was earning about 3 or 4 percent in the overall ballot. But his consider score matched his favorable rating, which never happens. Your consider score should be in between your favorable and your ballot.Ben Carson, on the other hand, had a huge favorable number, but few people seriously considered voting for him for president. So, out of the gate, the race became about him or not him.

Posted by at June 14, 2016 7:25 PM