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News From the Campaign Trail:

6/22/20 Two Weeks to Go!

Two weeks to go to the July 7th primary. If you are comfortable with you mail in ballot, make sure to send it back in, it needs to be postmarked by July 7th. If you prefer to vote in person, make sure to contact your municipality to see what polling locations will be open, as these will be different than the last election. Everything is up to the voters now, so make sure to exercise your right and cast your ballot. I’d be honored if you vote America First!

Closing the Deal

The campaign has now evolved from a branding and messaging operation to voter turnout, and it’s all about getting like-minded voters to the polls in these next two weeks. I’m confident that the efforts we’ve made in contacting tens of thousands of Republican voters in CD7 will get us over the top on election day, but that’s the great thing about our system is that you never now who someone is going to choose on the ballot. Citizens have the true power in our republic.

I believe turnout will be up. I also believe voters in this primary it will be more conservative and more open to shaking things up, but we won’t find out until the results are in. Regardless of who you vote for, please exercise your right as a citizen and have your voice heard!

Looking to November

I don’t like to look ahead, especially given the uncertainty of this primary, but the last and most important factor in this primary is winning in the fall.

To win the general, we need a candidate that can turn out our base. Pro-Life, supports the 2nd Amendment and the Constitution, an advocate for limited government. A dynamic candidate that can energize our base voters to not only go to the polls, but to help get right leaning independents and democrats on board with us as well. We need the Reagan coalition because in the end the reality is that we can’t win without carrying working class voters. We need a candidate that shares the opinions of most Americans who recognize that congressional term limits are needed, not only to help drain the swamp but to keep it clean for the next wave of leaders who are going to move America forward.

We need a candidate who is willing to stand up to the recent mobs of people so eager to erase our history, our monuments, and our shared culture. The ones who want to rewrite our American story and replace it with their own censored version. We need a candidate who wont apologize or bow to the far-left.

Most importantly we need a candidate who can relate to everyday Americans across the political spectrum. People who share the same concerns, the same daily struggles, and the same desire to make America great again.

What we don’t need is a career politician. We don’t need a repeatedly failed candidate at the national level. We don’t need the heir of a political dynasty that drives away our base voters in their futile quest to appeal to the left.

Political talent isn’t hereditary. Authenticity and relatability aren’t inherited. America is a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people.

In the end, we need to ask ourselves which candidate give us the best chance of appealing not only to our base but also to those working-class independents that are going to decide the election in November. You know I’m right, you may not admit it openly, but in your gut, you know the way we need to move forward and to put America First.

Thank you for all of your patience, encouragement, and support for the past year and a half, we’re almost to the finish line. And remember to get those ballots in!

 

6/7/20 Thirty Days Out

Well, here we finally are after 16 months, the home stretch. We are about 30 days out from primary day, but with vote by mail the next few weeks will most likely determine the outcome of the election. Accordingly, we have let the dogs loose and ramped up our voter outreach. A friendly reminder, if you are in district 7 you should be on the lookout for your ballot in the mail. If you’re an unaffiliated voter you’ll receive a form and if you want to request a ballot for one of the primaries, feel free to jump into the race and help make sure you don’t have two bad choices on the ballot come November. Vote #AmericaFirst!

How many conversations can you have in a year?

Over 25,000 is the answer for our team. No, we are not talking about direct mailings, postcards, or voice mails. This is an actual dialogue between two individuals, whether in person, by phone, text message, direct message, or email. We have had a lot of chats with the voters of NJ 7. Social media and digital marketing are key to these efforts, and we sowed the seeds of our networking last March and April with extensive data projects.

Did you know that 75% of Republican voters have Facebook accounts, and more than 55% have easily identifiable Twitter accounts? And believe me, we have worked those mediums to the point of exhaustion. I cannot tell you the number of times we have had services suspended for “bot-like” activity, but I’m hoping that 21st century platforms and digital know-how make the difference this time around. We will certainly find out in a month.

Speaking of Conversations

I get asked a lot of questions by potential constituents. It is something I really enjoy about this process, listening to people’s concerns, providing my opinion on things, and respectfully acknowledging differing viewpoints. I think we’ve lacked that type of responsiveness at the state and federal level around here for a long time, and the number of people who I speak with that are rightfully upset that our representatives are silent on a host of issues is troubling. Maybe they’re afraid of alienating voters, maybe they care more about getting elected then serving their constituents, your guess to the reasons are as good as mine.

But since some other campaigns cannot even take the time to provide where they stand on issues in writing, I’m going to ask some questions over the next two weeks. Nothing inflammatory, just your basic information that will help voters decide where all the candidates stand on issues that are important to the voters. Stay tuned.

So What Can We Expect for This Election?

That’s the big question now, isn’t it? In a traditional primary between two career politicians we’d have a fixed outcome already, with the Kean family name carrying the small in-person primary vote. But we’re in a situation like never before, where county party lines don’t matter, voters have more than 15 seconds to decide who to choose, and there’s plenty of time to research where the candidates stand on the issues.

There’s a clear choice between a conservative outsider that represents all of the core beliefs of our party and a moderate career politician whose last name has secured several state offices by appointment and guaranteed a primary-free political career, until now.

I don’t think there could be a larger contrast between two candidates with (R) after their names on the ballot. It all comes down to who sends in their ballots, and I think we’re going to see one of the highest primary participation rates ever across the state. Do voters want someone that puts their career and family legacy first, or America First?

Let’s Talk About Values

I’m familiar with American values. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I like to think I know a bit on family values. Honor your parents, be a loving and supportive spouse, provide for your family and set a good example for your children, loving them unconditionally. I think most Americans share these common values. For those terms we are all on the same page.

I cannot for the life of me understand what the term “NJ Values” means though. It’s Senator Kean’s campaign theme but doesn’t really resonate with me or with many voters for that matter.

What does New Jersey value? Big government and bloated state pension systems? High property taxes to help fund sanctuary cities and abortion clinics? Political nepotism and a ruling class of elites? Tax hikes and surcharges during an economic downturn? Rioting and looting of our communities?
Running on “NJ Values” sounds exactly like the “safe” and vague campaign theme of a politician who is 0 for 2 in Federal elections and has both eyes on November already.

No offense, but I think I will pass on some catch-all phrase, I’m sticking to American values and I think many of you will to.

Getting Back Outside to Enjoy the Weather

Our final campaign event of the primary will be our golf outing on June 27th at High Bridge Hills Golf Course. Check our website for details, it is a four-player scramble event that is sure to be a good time.

Join us on June 27th

To close up, remember to cast your vote for the primary, it’s the one time where your vote matters the most. Don’t give up your civic rights and responsibilities, and hopefully you vote #AmericaFirst.

Be safe until next time and send in your vote!

Tom

 

 

5/9/20 Sixty Days Out

So you’re probably asking “What happened to the March newsletter?”  We had a lot of administrative work with the final ballot access requirements at the end of March while the Covid-19 situation took off.  Like the rest of America, we’ve been spending the last month getting our routine in place to juggle the demands of work, family, home schooling, and remote computing.  It’s been a tough situation for most of the country.  The cost in human life has been terrible, and the economic shutdown has been hard on a majority of Americans.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel though, and though it may take time and there’s certainly a long road ahead of us, America will bounce back.  Now we’re less than 60 days out from the primary, so it’s time to get back on the trail.

Focusing on What Really Matters

As I mentioned above, late March leading into April was a tough transition period for most people.  I took some time off from campaigning to take care of the truly important things in life, and to be honest the amount of free time that I had to dedicate to campaign related items has been non-existent.  I’ve been wearing some new hats at home, watching all the kids while working a full day and transitioning my three college courses to online learning, plus home schooling two of our little guys.  It’s an adjustment a lot of Americans have had to make to deal with the current crisis, and I can’t complain since we are more fortunate with our job flexibility than a lot of people out there.  Both of the university’s that I teach at are finished now, so my teaching responsibilities to those students are complete and I once again have more flexibility to work on the campaign.

A Major Date Change

With the statewide lock-down and no clear end in sight, the primaries have been moved from June 2nd to July 7th.  I think we all hope that things will be somewhat normalized by that point in time, though there will certainly still be social distancing measures in effect in one form or another.  With all that is going on, your guess is as good as mine as to who will show up to vote or what the mood of the electorate will be.  All bets are off at this point, so to speak, and I believe that our campaign is well positioned to be the primary choice for Republican voters who will be sure to want a different path forward on July 7th.  I’m confident that a majority of voters will be seeking a candidate who provides a clear conservative message and puts Americans first.

Speaking of America First

I want to thank everyone who helped out with the ballot access petition, the over 200 individuals who took the time to make a difference and help us get on the ballot.  We're not on the main party line, but officially running under "America First".  I think that slogan really encompasses where our hearts and minds should be right now as we navigate difficult global and domestic issues.  I'm proud to run under a patriotic slogan that represents our nation and our citizens and provides us with a clear governing philosophy as we move forward in these tough times.  So remember, on July 7th, vote America First!

The Impact of Social Distancing on Sports

As you may have guessed, the impact of social distancing and trying to adhere to the rules set up by the state of New Jersey has led to a postponement of our May 9th golf event.  But we’re still itching to get back outside and on the golf course.

One of the main reasons that this newsletter was delayed was waiting on securing an alternate date for our event.  Now that golf courses have been opened, we’ve finally confirmed an alternate date for Saturday June 27th.  I don’t know what the particular guidelines for play will be at that time, but we’ll be moving forward regardless and I know that people are going stir crazy indoors and looking forward to hitting the links again.  See our registration form link below.

Be safe and healthy out there!

 

 

3/20/20 Finishing up Ballot Access Remotely

With the current situation across the country from the corona virus, social distancing and close to isolation for everyone, the State Department of Elections has announced that they are allowing electronically collected signatures for the primaries.  Filing deadline is March 30th, and we have about 3 dozen signatures left to obtain from registered Republicans in District 7.  Help us out by clicking on the below link and assisting us in getting on the ballot.  This is our final administrative hurdle to clear.

 

Ballot Access Signature Form - Electronic signature version

Just click the link and sign in, fill out your name, e-signature and address at the bottom in the red boxes, and click the yellow arrow to submit.

 

If you mistrust technology, you can also print the form, sign, scan it and email it back to us:

Hard Copy of Ballot Access Form

 

  

3/4/20 Post Super Tuesday Newsletter

Super Tuesday has come and gone and now we have a clear picture of the race for the Democratic nomination.  Things that we’ve learned: $500 million can’t buy you a personality, the race will go on all summer, and it looks like it will be the Old Guard vs the Red Guard.  It should be a fun 2020!  Now on to our update.

Sign on the Dotted Line

We've been collecting signatures for ballot access lately, registered Republican voters in the district.  That's been our big project for February and March, and without an existing party infrastructure to lean on I have to admit it's been the biggest challenge of the campaign so far.  It's not finding the people to sign that's a challenge, but rather finding the time to travel around and collect all of them.  It's a terribly inefficient process due to a variety of factors, and we all know how much I hate inefficiency.  Alas, we persist and grind away, and should have the process wrapped up next week.  Once we submit the batch to the State, it's on to June 2nd

News Team Assemble!

March is our marshalling month for volunteers.  We have our April and May campaign tasks mapped out, and our team will finally be reaching out to everyone who has offered to help with things.  We’re looking for a 2 hour commitment over the 60 days, so hopefully it’s not burdensome to anyone.  We also run a virtual office, so you can work out of your house, dorm room, or domicile of your choice.  Real 21st century technology and convenience.  If you have already expressed an interest you’ll be contacted shortly, or if you are still looking to help sign up on our campaign site, shoot us an email, or send a direct message.

2nd Annual Golf Fundraiser

Saturday, May 9th will be our second annual golf event at High Bridge Hills Golf Course, in High Bridge NJ.  We anticipate foursomes to fill up rather quickly this time around given it’s a weekend, so be sure to let us know that you’re interested in attending and get your entry forms in ASAP.  Last year we had a great time hitting the links, and the 2020 version of the event is sure to be kicked up a notch or two.  Details can be found on our campaign site, or you can access the form below.  Hope to see you out on the course!

It’s Never Too Late to Help Out

 There’s an old saying, it’s never too late to make a difference.  And those words ring true.  We’re always looking for people willing to chip in and help, whether via financial contributions, volunteer time or just word of mouth support to your friends, family, and neighbors in the district.  This last item is what’s going to put us over the top in June, I like to think of it as something similar to the six degrees of Kevin Bacon.  I'd wager most folks in the district know someone who knows someone who knows Tom Phillips.  Word of mouth is free, and it’s far more authentic than paid advertising and media.  So if you have any friends, family or neighbors in NJ CD 7, tell them a story about me or put in a good word.  Your thirty second conversation goes a lot further towards swaying a voter than anything that I can say over the next 90 days.  As I said at the beginning of this, I need your help, and I meant it.

 

 

2/2/20- Big Game Newsletter

Super Bowl Sunday!  Chiefs vs 49ers, and you really didn’t think you’d go politics free today with Mayor Mike and President Trump dropping ads during the game?  You can read this now, or save it for tomorrow, but January certainly came and went in a flash.  The calendar seems to be moving quickly so far this year, or maybe it was just a busy month.  We had district swaps, a shore rally, reporting deadlines and so much more.  Here’s a rundown of the month that was, which will be a bit longer than usual.   For daily updates, follow us on Twitter: @TomPhillipsNJ7

Missed Opportunities:

Not for us mind you, but for the Republican Party as a whole.  You might have heard that there was an arrangement brokered moving Ms. Becchi out of the District 7 race and up to the District 11 contest.  The overall idea was a good one, but execution was flawed.  I won't get into the number of reasons why, from public relations, to political benefit, to optics, but suffice it to say it would have been better for both the Senator and Ms. Becchi to have switched spots in that swap.  Good news for our team moving forward though, we now have a clear binary choice on the ballot in June.

Wildwood NJ:


In case you hadn’t heard, the President was in the Garden State last week.  Our team made its way down the Parkway and spent the day on site.  We talked to north of 800 people all told and just struck up conversations where we could on a variety of topics.  The crowd was diverse, polite, and from all over.  Republican, Democrats, and unaffiliated voters.  I don’t care where you stand on your like/dislike of the President, anytime the Commander in Chief comes to your state it’s a pretty big deal, and the local economy certainly appreciated the off-season crowds.  It was a productive day, and quite the experience.

County Conventions:

Republican party county conventions are starting to take place.  They’re a little early this year, and we’ve chosen not to participate in seeking the party line endorsement for the primary.  I’m comfortable with not having the party Republican line, and we knew we wouldn’t get it going into this campaign. There are a few reasons for this but I won’t get into them just yet as I’d like to let the remaining county conventions pass before we comment.

Let's Talk About Cars for a Moment:


I Like using metaphors in life to clarify otherwise difficult concepts and situation.  I do it for my kids, my students in graduate school, and sometimes even my colleagues.  It just helps make things easier to understand.  So let's talk about driving cars in 2020.

Say you’re a Republican primary voter and you’re choosing between two cars for the next few years.  The first, a 2006 Toyota Prius, the second a 2020 Chevy Traverse, and those are your only two options (sorry, no one is going to buy the 1964 Buick Skylark this time around).

The Prius was new back in 2006.  Sure, it seemed like the right car at the time, you were big into saving the planet and thought you were really helping to make a difference by driving it.  Maybe your parents had a Toyota back in the 80’s, and they told you it was a great brand.  Or it was as simple as your local dealership only had Prius’ on the lot, and you just got it because you needed a car.  Certainly all the commercials were telling you what to buy.  And if you just genuinely like the Prius and all its features, that’s ok too.

But then you get to 2020 and have a chance to upgrade to a new Chevy Traverse.  Maybe it’s a little more car than you like to drive, not quite trendy or elitist but more main street America.  It has most of the features you want; more focused on the family, good cargo space for your hunting gear, versatility both on and off the road.  It also more broadly appeals to drivers of all types and backgrounds, both white-collar and blue-collar Americans, and your neighbors will appreciate it when you can help them car pool the kids on the block to school and extra-curricular activities.  For an assortment of reasons, it’s now your preferred choice, or maybe it was all along but the dealer just didn’t have one the last time.

So which car do you want as a voter?  Do you want the 2006 Prius, or do you opt for that new 2020 Traverse?  I think most voters are going to buy American this time around and go with the newer model.

 

 

1/3/20- New Year's Newsletter

Happy New Year everyone!  Welcome to 2020, election year.   With just over 5 months to the June 2nd primary, things are really picking up with the campaign and you will be hearing from us on a steady basis from here on out.   For daily updates, follow us on Twitter: @TomPhillipsNJ7

Communication is Key

It was a busy two months from a marketing perspective.  We sent out our first targeted mailer to over 700 households in the district, reaching over 1,500 registered voters.  I also initiated direct outreach to over 500 voters, working to create direct dialogue with constituents and build personal relationships.  I was amazed at the number of people who told me that their #1 issue with politicians is that they don’t respond to constituents inquiries.  It seems like a foreign idea, but you can’t be afraid to talk to the people you represent, whether they agree with you or not, but luckily I've never been one to run from tough conversations.

You Know What They Say About Politicians When Their Lips Are Moving

Now that we’re in 2020, you can expect to see a significant amount of institutional gaslighting as candidates try to play all sides and secure voters with positions they don’t actually support.  We’ve already had an instance in which one of the top Republicans in the state claimed that another candidate in this district was a “lifelong resident”, which just isn't the case.

You'll be seeing a lot of shifting positions, embellishments, and white lies in the next few months, as the other candidates try to move as far to the right as possible for the primary.  I’m confident that most voters can see through the smoke and mirrors and will be able to form their own opinions about the field of candidates.  Remember to do your diligence, and trust but verify.   This is precisely why I put everything up on www.phillips2020.net.  I don’t want there to be any confusion about where I stand from day one. 

One in Eight

That’s roughly how many registered Republican voters are needed to show up on primary day and pull the lever for a candidate to win.  We started out in February with zero votes in our hopper, but every day we’re working towards our target.  All it takes is one voter at a time, and I firmly believe that our messaging, diligence, and hard work will win over the majority of primary voters in the district. 

It’s a Team Effort

Any campaign is only as good as the team.  We’re looking for volunteers to help out in the next few months.  If you’re interested in making a few calls to your friends and neighbors, or taking a nice stroll around your neighborhood to deliver flyers or knock on doors, please let us know.  We also have another group of interns joining our team at the end of January for the upcoming Spring semester.  If you know of any college students looking to get involved in a political campaign for college credit, feel free to pass along our contact information.

If you want to see real change in DC, then your time is the most valuable resource at this stage.

Hitting the Links Again in May

Once again we’ll be hitting the links this May for our now annual fundraiser at High Bridge Hills Golf Club.  Details are available here.  Anyone that participated last year is grandfathered in at the old price of $125, new participants are $150 each.  We had a great time last year and we expect this year’s event to be even bigger.  Everyone’s a winner at the event, so register now to get your place reserved.

A Special Thanks

Thank you to our fall intern, Vatsal.  A Finance Major at Rutgers, Vatsal was an integral part of our team the past few months.   He worked on an assortment of data intensive projects ranging from opposition research, to voter data, to FEC and NJ State finance report research.  In addition, he helped with some of our marketing outreach and geographic strategy planning.  Best of luck to Vatsal as he finishes up his studies and joins the professional workforce.

 

 

 

11/6/19- Post Election Update

Today we woke up and the 2019 election was over.  Congratulations to all the successful campaigns, but particularly new State Assemblyman Brian Bergen.  Brian is an Army vet and also a classmate of mine from Rutgers Business School.  He’s a solid guy, and New Jersey is better off having more people like him down in Trenton. 

Now we can start focusing on 2020.  I’ll make this a quick on since most of you heard from me last week.

 

What’s the Matter? You Don’t Talk Much:

I never really said very much in freshman health class back in high school.  Because of that our teacher, Mr. Gorski, nicknamed me Henry Hill.  He always wondered why I just sat quietly and observed the class while most of the students took the opportunity to shoot the breeze and cause some mayhem.

But that’s because I was just listening.  And it’s what we’ve been doing up until now.  We didn’t want our campaign to be a distraction, or to siphon money or resources from the important races this year for state and local office (well no one can accuse us of the money part at least).  One can only imagine how much better the Republican party might have done with an extra million dollars or so to spend on local and state races for GOTV efforts, but I guess we’ll never know.

We’re going to keep listening, but now we can start speaking out again about the importance of our campaign and the road ahead.  We’re back on the air, so to speak.

 

Are you Ready for Some Football?

Come out and join us in December every Sunday for our Pigskin and Politics meet and greets.  We’re taking a kind of bar crawl through the district and inviting voters to come out and join us for a minimal contribution (to cover some of the costs).  Come on out, meet the candidate, watch some football, and if you’re willing, leave your signature for our 2020 ballot access paperwork.  I can talk Giants, Jets, entitlements, student loans, government regulation, or any other topic you want to address (just please, no more hurricane questions).

I figure that if you get sick of talking to me or think I’m a typical political blowhard or marionette, then at least you can catch the games and get some drinks and apps out of the deal.  It’s sure to be a good time, so we hope to see you at one of the sessions, every Sunday in December from 1-4PM.  Check out our campaign website for a full listing of locations and click the link below to sign up.  Discounted prices for anyone under 25 (I have a soft spot for students and recent college grads, since your loan situation is a federal government debacle) and those who have already donated to the campaign.  Space is limited, so be secure your spot!

Check out our schedule of events and sign up at:

Sign Up Form

12/1- Stage House Tavern Scotch Plains, NJ

12/8- Willie McBride’s Branchburg, NJ

12/15- Cryan’s Tavern Annandale, NJ

12/22- Brass Rail Phillipsburg, NJ

12/29- Stage House Tavern Mountainside, NJ

 

When in Rome:

Do as the Romans!  When running for the GoP nomination, join their fundraising platform.  That’s right, we’re up and running (have been since August) on WinRed.  Check out our page available on the newest tool for conservative grassroots fundraising, and while you’re there, kick in a few bucks for the campaign.

WinRed- Tom Phillips

 

Thinking About Next Summer Already:

It’s never too early to start planning your 2020 calendars.  Save the date on Tuesday, June 2nd to come out and vote for us in the Republican primary.  Save the date on Saturday, May 9th for our second annual golf fundraiser.  We’re heading back to High Bridge Hills for a repeat of our opening scrambles event.  We expect spots to be more limited this time around, so sign up as soon as you can and reserve your foursome.  It promises to once again be a great time.

Registration Form

Have a terrific November, and speak to you soon!

 

 

10/31/19- October Newsletter:

It’s Halloween time, and that means you’re sure to have droves of spooky people coming to your door.  No, we’re not talking kids trick or treating, we’re describing political canvassers for the November 5th state elections.  Be safe and get out and vote next week.

Can You Begin a Story with a Cliffhanger?:

You Betcha!!  Make sure to check back with us on the web and Facebook next week, on November 6th.  We’re turning the lights back on, so to speak, and lifting the curtain on everything we’ve been doing since March.  Get up to speed on our progress and our planning, where we are and where we’re going in the next few months.  Should be an entertaining and informative read.

Make Sure You Vote:

Off year elections aren’t quite as a big a deal to most people as the federal ones, but it’s important that you still go out and vote.  Decisions by state and municipal government often have a larger impact on our daily lives than the ones originating in Washington.  Make sure to perform your civic responsibility to pull the lever, and earn your God given right to complain about the government for another cycle.  We won’t tell you who to vote for (this time around) but make sure you vote for someone, even if it’s Monty Brewster’s “None of the Above”.

"Joker" Making More Headlines than You Think:

October 15th was the 3rd Quarter reporting deadline for the FEC, and while pundits like to focus on the often misleading “Total Contributions” figure, a more telling piece of information is the campaign burn rate.  And oh boy, with the way our opponents are spending, Heath Ledger’s Joker may as well have doused a pile of campaign cash in gasoline and lit it on fire. 

FEC reports show Senator Kean has already burned through $300k and Ms. Becchi passed the $100k mark in just one quarter.  Who's even paying attention to next year's race yet?  We’ve spent an earth shattering $6,000 total since February, and the majority of that on our kick-off event.

Riddle-me-this?  If a campaign spends their money this recklessly, how do you think they’ll act once they get to Washington?  They don’t have any problem spending your money or even your kids’ money, that’s why we have a $23 trillion deficit and counting.  Something to ponder as you look at primary options for 2020.

Taking a Page Out of Billy Beane's and Bill James' Books:

Just think of us as the Moneyball campaign.  As Brad Pitt famously quips in the film, “If we try to play like the Yankees in here, we’re going to lose to the Yankees out there.”  The same can be said of political campaigns.  We’re not going to compete on an even playing field with the big money names.  We have to be smarter and more efficient with our resources, but I love a good challenge and these next seven months are going to be a fun ride.

Let's Talk About the Elephant in the Room:

The top question I get asked when I speak with people (after the always entertaining “How should we deal with hurricanes?”), is “What do you think about President Trump?”  After thanking them for handing me a stick of dynamite a la Wily E Coyote, I try to give an honest and straightforward answer, since that’s kind of our thing, being honest and blunt.

Do I think President Trump is a role model for my kids? 

Absolutely not.  I think that most politicians make for terrible role models.  There are far more well-meaning, kind, and important people out there who are more deserving of our admiration and selection as role models.   

Should the President spend less time on Twitter?

I would, but that’s his choice to make, it’s still a free country, at least until @Jack codifies his latest policy restricting the freedom of speech.

Do I agree with every policy decision he’s made?

I don’t think anyone does, as we all have our preferences on a vast array of issues.  But more importantly, do I think he’s gotten the big ones right? 

Absolutely.  Let’s list the conservative judges confirmed.  The cutting of regulations for businesses and reducing the federal bureaucracy.   America getting tougher on China after decades of an uneven playing field and intellectual property theft.  Criminal justice reform.  Getting our allies to meet their commitments and putting America first.  And don’t forget the President’s unwavering support of Justice Kavanaugh when the liberals were trying to destroy the man’s life.

I think the biggest issue with our President is that he makes everything personal, and about him.  That’s a big part of his appeal, but also a big part of his problem with opposing voters.  It’s not the way I would do things, but we’ve tried running saint-like figures in the past who have played by Marquis of Queensbury rules when they get to DC and we’ve seen the results.

Now I didn’t vote for President Trump in the 2016 primary, my beliefs and preferences lined up more closely with Senator Cruz at that time, but I certainly voted for him in the general and I will again in 2020.  Sometimes the situation doesn’t call for an Eisenhower, instead you need a Patton, and President Trump is the General Patton of politics.

I realize that not everyone agrees with me, and this is a very emotional and passionate issue, and I respect the way people feel.  Hopefully you can respect my honesty, if not my opinion on this.  But at the end of the day the fact of the matter is that President Trump has done more in the past 3 years to promote conservative positions than most other self-proclaimed conservatives in government.  That means something to me, having a President who follows through on their promises, and for that I support him. 

Take note, because this is a key difference in the primary candidates for NJ 7.  I'm not afraid to say I support the President, but the rest of the field are the kind of politicians that will court his supporters and then stab him in the back once they're safely in office.

Join Us Next Week:

Assuming we survive the angry Twitter mob generated from our last opinion, coming after me like I’m Frankenstein’s monster, check back in on November 6th to get a full campaign update and find out what comes next.

 

 

10/26/19- Go Army!

So I headed up to West Point for the weekend to watch the Black Knights host San Jose State.  The outcome of the game wasn't what we would have liked, with Army going through three quarterbacks due to injuries, but as usual campus was beautiful this time of year with the changing foliage.  I was up there with some friends from high school, but it's always good to go and see the future leaders that our military academies are turning for our armed forces. 

When on campus you can't help but reflect on the commitment that these young men and women make to serve our great country, and it tends to put things in perspective when you realize that they're going to be putting their lives on the line in defense of the rest of us.  I can't thank the cadets enough, or the rest of our men and women in uniform for that matter, for their patriotic service to the nation and keeping our families safe from harm.

God Bless our men and women in uniform and may He keep them safe.

 

 

9/30/19- September Newsletter:

And we’re back!   I know you haven’t heard from us all summer, but never fear, we’ve been busy.  We gave our communications team off to enjoy the weather, but we’ve been hard at work otherwise.  The month of June saw the completion of a large data project for canvassing, during July we worked on developing our internship program and conducting outreach to universities in the tri-state area, and in August we began canvassing to test out our infrastructure and technology.  All that being said, here’s a quick update:

 And Then There Were Three:

Looks like we have more company in the primary next spring.  Rosemary Becchi, an attorney who has worked for the IRS, the Senate Finance Committee, and a DC lobbying firm has formally announced her entrance into the race.  We’re looking forward to having her on the ballot in June.  Welcome to the field Ms. Becchi.

Just Think of Me as Mark Watney:

Well, maybe not as camera friendly as Matt Damon, but when it comes to solving problems we’re taking a page out of that fictional botanist’s book.  As he famously quips in the movie The Martian “You just begin.  You do the math….You solve one problem…….and the next one…..and the next one.  And if you solve enough problems, you get to go home.”  Or in this case, go to Washington.  Every week we’re tackling another challenge and taking one step closer to victory next year.

We Know Where You Live:

….or at least those of you who live in CD 7.  June was the month that we broke the internet several dozen times, as we put together our voter canvassing maps.  163,000+ voters, 97,000+ households, 6 counties, 75 Municipalities, and 396 customized maps.  Suffice it to say, we’re pretty good with geo-coding and cartography now. 

Putting On Our Walking Shoes:

The best way to reach voters has always been in person, and our campaign is embracing one-on-one voter contact, grassroots style.  We spent a few weeks in August testing our technology and equipment out in the streets of District 7.  Homes for over 2% of registered primary voters have been visited thus far and we expect these numbers to ramp up in the coming months.   The systems we designed are working as planned, and it looks like our assumptions on distances and time are correct.  We’ve already had hundreds of conversations with primary voters, and a significant number are looking for an alternative to career politicians next June.

If you’re interested in helping to visit your neighbors in District 7, let us know and we will set you up with a list of houses in your area to act as a campaign ambassador for our team.  No voter persuasion required, just dropping off campaign information.  Who doesn’t like the idea of a leisurely stroll around the block, getting some exercise, enjoying the fall weather, and helping to make a change? 

Join Our Team

This Isn't Your Parents' Political Campaign:

Just like the Marines, we’re looking for a few good men (and women).  July 1st was the launch date for our academic internship program and we’ve already started working with our first group of college interns.  We’re accepting rolling applications from now through December 31st for Fall 2019, January 2020, and Spring 2020 internships with our campaign team.  If you are interested, or know of any college students looking to get real experience on a Congressional campaign, send an email with CV to tomphillipsforcongress@gmail.com

We have flexibility for non-credit, 2-credit, and 4-credit internships depending on your needs and schedule.  We’ve worked with several university career centers to design an internship of value that is flexible enough to meet the demands of any academic program.  We’re working with over a dozen schools in the area, helping to get these students some great campaign experience and adding valuable members to our team.

Internship Overview

It's Never Too Late to Get Involved:

Have you ever complained about the way government runs the country, or how your elected officials represent you?  Want to do something about it?  Get involved, no matter how small the effort might seem.  Donate a few bucks or volunteer to walk for a few hours.  Remember, every little bit helps, so don’t be shy.  Help us take your future back!

 

 

8/24/19- Walking the Town

So while the rest of the family is still down on vacation, I took the opportunity to canvass my first 2,000 houses this week.  I had volunteered to help a local State Assembly campaign, and spoke with their director, but after being transparent and letting him know I was running in the congressional primary I never heard back.  Imagine that!  Not unsurprising, but I hope they didn't need the extra help. 

In any event, it worked out better since I had no restrictions and could target the area I wanted to.  I needed to test out our software platform, potential wireless signal issues, equipment, and my conditioning.  And also get a handle on what it's actually like to go door to door and engage voters across the spectrum.

I'll have to say, despite having some initial anxiety, it was a lot of fun.  I spoke with about 200 people in my travels during the week, hitting small sections of the target town each night after work and then over the weekend.  With the exception of one voter who was anti-Trump to the point of being irate and just plain rude, everyone was very engaging and polite.  Most run of the mill voters are looking for alternatives to what we get out of the official party pipeline.

The timing is about what I expected, the treadmill work all summer helped keep the walking speed up to about 4 MPH, and the only wrinkle was my freak high ankle sprain suffered that week at Tri-County old man soccer.  I stepped on a sprinkler head jogging up the field, after about 27 seconds in the game, and that was all she wrote.  I ended up hobbling around with a brace on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to canvass but still hit all my target areas.  Despite early indications I managed to avoid the broken ankle so that was good news.  All in all a successful week.

 

 

8/6/19- Compliance is Important

There are a lot of legal and compliance that need to be addressed when running a campaign.  Our team has been vigilant and almost over-cautious with this area as we move forward.  In preparation for the months ahead, we've reached out to almost every municipality in District 7 to clarify town and municipal solicitation and canvassing laws and requirements.  

I think most people are under the assumption that political campaigns have free hands when sending people to knock on your doors, but as we anticipated and were expecting, every municipality has a slightly different wrinkle to their local ordinances.  Many have no specific requirements, some require advanced notification, others require looping in the police.  A few have permits that need to be filed, and many have "no-knock" lists of residents that have opted out of door-knocking solicitation.  Every town is different and fairly unique.

Our team is fully up to speed, but if I were a betting man I would wager good money that the majority of political campaigns don't go this extra mile to make sure they aren't violating any local canvassing or solicitation laws in advance of their activity.  I'm just a firm believer of doing things by the book, and avoiding any potential situations before they occur, but that's just the way I was brought up.  Still, important information to know out on the trail.

 

 

6/15/19- Summer Break:

We're taking the next few months off, at least from a communications standpoint.  Let's face it, everyone has better things to do than to read political newsletters over the summer.  We'll be continuing to put infrastructure in place and making the rounds in the district, but you won't hear from us until after the summer is done and the kids are back to school.

Just so you know that we're staying busy, June is software development month at the campaign.  Canvassing software, which helps to bring volunteers and paid campaign staffers to your doors as they walk the neighborhood, is a pricey piece of infrastructure, and from speaking with multiple people with experience in the area, also a somewhat unreliable tool for most campaigns.  We've decided not to sink financial resources into existing systems, but rather to build our own from the ground up (hey, I said I could wear a lot of hats when we started).

June is canvassing program development month.  Leveraging a number of existing (and free) technologies, I'm building our own database, maps, surveys, and voter information.  Sure, it will take a good deal of my time, but that's what the summer is for, right?  We'll be testing it out at the end of the summer and making sure it meets our needs for the campaign. 

 

 

5/31/19- May Newsletter:

Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend!  Here’s an update on what’s been going on along the campaign trail.
 
Hitting the Links:

Friday May 10th was looking like a wash out, but despite some morning rain showers and potential thunderstorms, the weather cooperated and we were able to hold our first official fundraiser.  Thank you again to everyone who came out to the golf event to show support.  We were able to get in 18 holes of golf on what turned out to be a beautiful afternoon.  We had representation across the field from 5 of the 6 counties in the district, and I even got to jump in and play a few holes myself.  The event was such a big hit, we’re starting to look at Saturday dates this fall for a follow up event.  Stay tuned.

Fighting Pediatric Cancer:

On June 8th our family will be walking in support of the Valerie Fund at their annual event in Verona, NJ.  We’re walking as part of GG’s Angel’s, a team represented by Grace Eline, daughter of high school classmate Aubrey Reichard-Eline.  Please take some time to read about Grace’s fight and advocacy and consider what you can do to help battle this terrible disease.  I know Grace and her mom would appreciate it.

The Valerie Fund

Speaking of Horse Races In Derby Month:

You may have read it in the news, Senator Tom Kean Jr. has announced that he is also seeking the Republican nomination in NJ District 7 in 2020.  This was anticipated and it’s good to know that in 2020 we’re going to have a solid debate on what is best for NJ 7 moving forward.

I had met briefly with Senator Kean back in February to let him know of my intentions to run. I wanted to be upfront with the party, and it was the right thing to do.  I do not know him personally, but from what I have heard, I know he is a decent man who has been a fixture in NJ politics for the past 15 years.  His father, Governor Kean, is one of the most impressive statesmen that I have ever met (having attended Drew University), and the family has a long history of public service in government.

However, like many of you, I do not believe that elected office should be a family business.  I think the district is looking for an alternative to career politicians.  I look forward to the challenge of the upcoming race, laying out a clear case as to why I am the better choice for NJ District 7, and highlighting the clear policy and personal differences that we have.


Next Steps:

We are coming up on one year out from the primary.  There's a long way to go but plenty of work still to do.  As we head into the summer we are continuing to reach out to people and gather commitments both for fundraising and volunteering.  Everything being done, both publicly as well as behind the scenes, is about putting our campaign infrastructure together for the 2020 cycle.  If you would like to be a part of our team, please sign up to volunteer.


As always, I appreciate everyone’s continued support.  Enjoy the summer!

 

5/10/19- Fore!!!

Great turnout today for our kick-off fundraiser at High Bridge Hills Golf Course.  I even got to play a couple of holes as a fill in for one of the groups.  Thanks again to everyone who came out to the event and I look forward to the 2020 date for round #2.

 

 

4/2/19- March Newsletter:

I didn’t want to send this on April 1st, because let’s be honest, how many people would have thought this was an April Fool’s joke just a few months back?   So instead I’m sending this out on April 2nd just to make sure you’re taking the campaign seriously. 

March Madness:

It’s been another busy month of speaking with constituents.  I attended the NJ GOP convention (in Atlantic City) but due to inclement weather on Friday, I had to fit all my meetings in during a whirlwind Saturday.  I also sat in on both a vote-by-mail seminar as well as a marketing and messaging panel.  Vote-by-mail is becoming a more common practice, so the seminar was very informative.  The marketing and messaging panel was more for gaining competitive intelligence on what the current practices of the party are.  We’re planning on kicking things up a notch in that area and getting a few steps ahead of the curve.

Are You Ready for a Scramble?

Response has been overwhelmingly positive for our kick-off fundraising event on May 10th.  We do have several spots still available, so we’ve extended the deadline for registration through the end of April.  Additionally, if you don’t play golf, can’t get out of work early, or simply want your family to join us for dinner we're opening the event to non-participants.  $20 for adults and $10 for kids.  Just use the registration form on the website and linked below which now has the meal/non-golf options. 

https://www.phillips2020.net/events



April is Tax Time:

April is the dreaded month of tax filing.  Hopefully everyone is done with filing their taxes and has paid less than they did last year (it’s your money after all, not the government’s).  The SALT deduction change was a huge campaign issue in 2018 here in New Jersey, and we’d love to hear about how it did or didn’t impact you for your 2018 tax filing.  Shoot us an email and let us know if it was better, the same, or worse than you expected, all feedback is appreciated: tomphillipsforcongress@gmail.com

Thank You Again!

I’d like to conclude this month’s newsletter by once again thanking everyone who’s reached out, contributed to the campaign, signed up for our golf event, and offered to volunteer down the line.  This is a long process, we’re moving in the right direction, and it helps to have positive momentum for the uphill road ahead.  As I learn more about this process and talk to more people across the district it only confirms to me that we’re doing this the right way and more importantly for the right reasons.  But I can’t do this alone, so do your part, get involved, support someone that you can believe in, and help take our future back!

 

 

 

2/28/19- February Newsletter: 


Getting Around NJ District 7:

During February I met with several college republican groups for discussions, which were a good test of things to come.  I also met with a half-dozen township and county level party members, quite a few diners and coffee shops in the mix.  I’ll have to spend more time on the treadmill if I’m going to be eating this much. 

Right now it’s all about increasing name recognition and beginning to expand the network within the party, and I look forward to meeting a lot of new people in the next few months.

Follow Us:

If you haven’t already please follow us on Twitter and Facebook.  Building a social media presence from scratch takes some time, but hitting some milestones of followers in both areas provides additional reach for these critical marketing channels.  Dr. Phil’s “Cash Me Outside” girl has a half a million followers for crying out loud, so we’re hoping we can pass 1,000 this summer.

Twitter- @TomPhillipsNJ7
Facebook- Phillips2020

Fore:

Are you a golfer?  Do you like ducking out of work early on Friday to get a head start on the weekend?  Then we have just the thing for you.  Join us on Friday, May 10th for our first large campaign event, a four-player Scramble at High Bridge Golf Course. 

1 PM shotgun, cost is $500 per foursome and includes the round of golf, lunch and dinner.  Event features several hole-in-one prizes, putting contest, and a silent auction following golf.  If you’d like to support our campaign, want some time face-to-face with the candidate, and like to have a good time, come out and join us for what promises to be a great afternoon on the course.  Spots are limited, so book your foursome as soon as possible.

https://www.phillips2020.net/events



Crashing the Party:

This weekend I’m heading down to make an appearance at the NJ GOP Statewide Leadership Conference in Atlantic City.  This will be the first organizational appearance for me as a candidate, and I’m looking forward to starting to network with party regulars and also get the real lay of the land for what's ahead.  We’re looking to generate some buzz, make some friends, and start increasing our name recognition.  If you are going to be down at the conference, shoot me a text and we can connect.
 

 

 

2/1/19: Iacta Alia Est

We've officially launched our campaign as of 2/1/19.
I'd like to personally thank everyone who has provided guidance, counsel, and support over the past months and years as we are embarking on this new challenge. I've already spoken with a lot of people about this run for Congress, and appreciate all of the feedback I've received (both good and bad).

I look forward to this race, and all of the challenges that it will bring. I also look forward to meeting the hundreds of thousands of residents of the towns that make up the district. I can't wait to start bringing our message to their doors. We can do better with our representation, and our country can do better by getting everyday Americans engaged in our civic responsibilities again. The residents of NJ District 7 will be the voice, I'm simply hoping to be the messenger for you.

Thank you again for your support, please follow us on Twitter and Facebook, sign up to volunteer or contribute, tell your friends and relatives about our campaign, or just reach out and say hello. I look forward to hearing from all of you and helping to represent your interests and concerns in Washington.

Tom


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