RCV Candidate Tip #7: Candidate Forums

This is the seventh in our series of weekly tips about campaigning under Ranked Choice Voting. WIth candidate forums scheduled or underway all around St. Paul, this week we consider the implications of RCV on these events.

More to Gain from Common Ground

For those of you in Wards 2, 5, and 6, where you might face two or more other candidates in these forums, RCV should provide more value in finding agreement or common ground. Especially when you consider that many voters attend these events with a predetermined first choice, these forums should be an effective place to aim to pursue second choices. While you still might benefit from emphasizing points of contrast, RCV should give you more to gain when presented with a genuine opportunity to agree with other candidates.

Consider the Downside of Attacks

I would not anticipate that these forums will naturally present many opportunities for negative comments or attacks on your fellow candidates, but if you are considering this strategy be sure to think about the potential cost in second-and-lower-choice support. An attack on your leading opponent might adversely change how supporters of a third candidate will evaluate you as their possible second choice.

Make a Specific Appeal for Second Choices:

While most of your campaign activities are geared toward finding new first-choice supporters, it is my experience that attendees at these candidate forums tend to arrive already set on a first choice. More so than in other situations, this can make these forums more productive venues for direct appeals for second choices. If you are given the opportunity for both an opening and closing statement, it could be to your benefit to focus one on attendees who are using the forum to decide on a second or lower choice.

In case you missed it, here are our links to previous tips:

RCV Tip #1: Using the Language of Ranked Choice Voting in Your Campaign

RCV Tip #2: the Road to 50%+1

RCV Tip #3: RCV Messaging and Your Website

RCV Tip #4: Get ready to start asking for lower-choice support

RCV Tip #5: Can we host a fun ranked vote at your event?

RCV Tip #6: Training Your Campaign Team on RCV