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Zee Cohen-Sanchez of Sole Strategies Shares the Three Components of a Winning Campaign

Zee Cohen-Sanchez of Sole Strategies Shares the Three Components of a Winning Campaign
Photo Courtesy: Sole Strategies

In the dynamic world of political campaigns, certain strategies have proven to be winners when it comes to turning the tide in favor of a candidate. Zee Cohen-Sanchez, the founder of Sole Strategies and a seasoned political strategist, has gotten campaigning down to a science.  After having a hand in over 400 campaigns, she’s seen what works the best, and also what mix of strategies works best together. 

For several years, Cohen-Sanchez has been working political elections across the country, helping big and small candidates operate successful campaigns. In 2020, she began Sole Strategies to get more women, working-class, and diverse candidates elected to government. What she witnessed as an operative was candidates spending their resources on strategies that fell short of what was promised. Money spent on expensive indirect voter contact such as TV ads, mailers, and billboards can ultimately hurt candidates because they don’t carry the impact needed to win elections. This is especially true for those who didn’t have money to start with. But three things continually offered results, and she believes they are the cornerstone of a winning campaign: effective fundraising and call time, robust door-knocking and canvassing efforts, and strategic public relations.

The Power of Fundraising and Call Time

At the heart of any campaign’s success is its ability to fundraise effectively. According to Cohen-Sanchez, “Money is the lifeblood that fuels all campaign activities, from advertising to grassroots mobilization. Even if you don’t raise the most money in the race, if you allocate it right, you’ll have a powerful campaign.” To raise that money, candidates can take to the phone lines. Call time, the dedicated hours a candidate spends on the phone with potential donors, is critical. It’s a direct line to understanding the concerns and priorities of the electorate, as well as securing the financial backing necessary for campaign operations. Cohen-Sanchez says the candidates who commit to their call-time hours have a significantly greater chance of winning their campaigns. Although it’s a time-consuming practice, it’s extremely proactive. She emphasizes the importance of authenticity and connection during these calls, stating, “Call time isn’t just about asking for money; it’s about building relationships that can transform a campaign’s trajectory.”

Door-Knocking and Canvassing: The Backbone of Voter Engagement

No digital tool can fully replicate the impact of face-to-face interactions, and this is where door-knocking comes into play. “There’s something incredibly powerful about meeting voters where they are,” Cohen-Sanchez reflects. This grassroots strategy is about more than just spreading a candidate’s message; it’s about listening, learning, and forging genuine connections. While many candidates are spending money on pricey television ads, the statistics continually point to canvassing as more effective in changing a voter’s mind about you. The personal interactions candidates have with the voters can significantly influence perceptions and decisions, making the time spent in the field a critical element of any campaign. Cohen-Sanchez says a well-organized canvassing operation targets strategic areas and maximizes volunteer engagement. She also mentions there are different apps candidates can use to track volunteers while canvassing. These are helpful because they allow you to see where your team is, digitally track voter responses, and even pay the team if they’re paid canvassers. Her team created one of these apps to fill a need for more accurate tracking to give candidates more power over their campaigns

Mastering Public Relations

In today’s media-saturated environment, a campaign’s public relations strategy can make or break its chances of success. Cohen-Sanchez points out that effective PR is about crafting a narrative that resonates with voters, distinguishes the candidate in a crowded field, and gets their name into the public discourse. The more people see a candidate’s name, the more likely they are to pay attention to their race.

When it comes to PR, she says it shouldn’t just involve traditional media outlets but also social media platforms, where a significant portion of the electorate gets its news. “It’s about being proactive, responsive, and above all, authentic,” she says. A successful PR strategy amplifies a candidate’s message, engages with the community, and boosts name recognition.

Zee Cohen-Sanchez’s insights into successful campaign strategies highlight the importance of a multifaceted approach that combines financial acumen, grassroots engagement, and savvy communication. Call time lays the financial foundation, door-knocking builds direct connections with voters, and a proper PR approach shapes the narrative. For Cohen-Sanchez, the ultimate goal is not just to win elections but to empower candidates who may not have the financial backing to have a fair fight against an incumbent. Focusing on the strategies that matter and those that create the most impact in a campaign gives working-class candidates a path toward victory.  As political campaigns evolve, these strategies will continue to be the pillars upon which winning campaigns are built, a testament to the enduring power of people-powered campaigns.


Published By: Aize Perez

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