Home>Feature>The O’Toole Chronicles: Speed Wins the Day

Kevin J. O'Toole, the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is a former New Jersey State Senator. (Photo: Kevin J. O'Toole.)

The O’Toole Chronicles: Speed Wins the Day

By Kevin O'Toole, March 14 2023 8:58 am

I was trained in politics from a very young age, and in that lifelong tutorial I picked up a few tried and true tools that advance the odds of winning the day and ultimately winning that critical election.

Many of us can argue and debate which trait or quality heads to the top of the heap in terms of being the best or the most essential one. After a little thought, I conclude that speed secures one of the top positions on my list of top ten most needed skills to succeed.

We can bicker over whether competence and drive are as important, and they are exceedingly important, but it is speed coupled with drive and competence that makes or breaks a campaign. 

Here me out.

When an office becomes available you need to do a few things quickly. 

You need to blast out a press release(s) with as many endorsements and political commitments as possible. You need to call each elected official and each local chair, and as many county committee members, as possible. Quickly – speed.

You need to call every heavy-duty contributor (check ELECs of former candidates, county and state organizations and run FEC on in district contributors who contributed to the national party or national players). You need to do this quickly, before anyone else does — speed.

When petitions are made available, you should race to spread the petitions out to have them signed properly and have them filed with 5 times the number of signatures as requires — speed.

You need to raise money quickly and with some bulk – speed.

You need to pull together a state-of-the-art website and show all the makings of a full-blown campaign — speed.

You need to hire the best and most effective political consultants and a reputable manager before your opponents — speed.

You need to nail down a top flight opposition researcher (not the one in the Santos race) before your opponent does — speed.

You then proceed to race to every event and press conference and act as if you don’t sleep and you are auditioning for Michael Keaton’s roles in the movie, Multiplicity — speed.

Time to go door-to-door and walk with targeted lists, reaching as many voters as humanly possible. Sometimes twice if you work hard/smart — speed.

Next you blanket the landscape with lawn signs, mailers, television and radio spots and digital ads — speed. 

Put a VBM plan in place. Begin voter contact before the first ballot goes out. Chase every VBM voter to return their ballots. The more votes you stockpile before election can/will make all the difference – speed. 

Time to target an election day operation – speed.

For brevity sake, we are missing a few steps, but you understand the point.

When you handle the above with mandates aggressively and decisively, you will dramatically increase the odds of a positive outcome but you need to understand that speed must be a central characteristic if you want a winning campaign.

Go to it.


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