As Martha Coakley’s Chief Outreach Strategist, had I known of Yawu Miller’s call to me, I would have been able to share with him and the Banner readers some significant outreach to communities of color done in a maddening short eight-week long special election, a time frame that sometimes does not allow for the kind of extensive outreach that a full-fledged campaign could expect.
Prior to the December 8 preliminary, Coakley was only known in communities of color by virtue of her work as AG and that was mostly favorable. Working with media and political consultant Joyce Ferriabough, who is also a respected African American community leader, meetings were organized around the state with leaders concerned with minority business, education, immigration, jobs, the economy and fair wage issues. We invested in ethnic media through radio, tv and news, both in the primary and final to supplement field activities and to get the word out. Coakley also spoke with the public during several radio interviews.
Could the campaign have done more to reach out to African American and other ethnic communities? Absolutely. There’s always room for more in every campaign. But in fairness to the campaign and its outreach to communities of color, let’s look at the facts.
In the December 8 preliminary, our efforts resulted in Coakley being within 3% points of winning Boston, a majority minority city against four contestants including a U.S Congressman who represented most of Boston. To accomplish that meant Coakley had to have gotten a substantial vote in the African American community. A poll published in a major daily supported that saying she did best among women and African Americans. Of course, we worked to build on that success. Not to do so would be ridiculous. There was round the clock phone banking, calls and visits from Martha to community leaders, and a solid ground force of current elected officials and former members working as surrogates not just in Boston, but throughout the state, along with support from the Governor and Mayor. I wish that Yawu could have also interviewed some of the individuals who actually worked with the campaign because it would have given a much more balanced view and dispelled the notion that the African American community was not respected.
Former Chief Outreach Strategist
Martha Coakley, US Senate Campaign