The Challenge

Our client, an electric utility and the community they served, were concerned about a ballot initiative that would have created a municipal utility district at great cost and risk to the citizens of this small town. They turned to Hubbell to develop a campaign to defeat this measure.

The Strategy

Hubbell Communications organized local volunteers into a coalition called “Residents for Responsible Government,” which coordinated community outreach and neighborhood meetings to raise awareness of the issue.  Using messages developed through surveys of registered voters, we developed an overarching theme centered on government accountability and designed a six-month campaign consisting of paid and earned media, direct mail, outdoor signage, digital outreach and a strong get-out-the-vote (GOTV) field effort.

Prior to ballot drop, the field team identified and tracked the position of a majority of the electorate. They immediately switched gears when ballots hit mailboxes, using fresh messaging focused on getting supporters and voters previously identified as “undecided” to turn in their ballots. Meanwhile, voters heard campaign messages through emails and social media, direct mail, digital and print advertising, radio and earned media. Regular events were held to keep supporters informed and engaged.

The Results

Despite being outspent by a wide margin, Hubbell Communications pulled off a 76% landslide victory with a stunningly high 63% turnout in an off-year special election. The municipalization proposal was blocked, sending a strong message to local elected officials about government accountability and the influence of special interests.