Monday, April 19, 2004

Nolan Visit Report

This report is a bit late, as I've been in Vegas since Wednesday. Anyhow...

LP presidential hopeful Gary Nolan came to Hamilton County for a dinner visit in Fishers last Monday. 27 people came out, including many LP members from the corners of the state.

Nolan's speech was well-received, and he made a crack about having his mail forwarded to Indiana because of his frequent visits. This was his sixth trip to Indiana thus far in the campaign, more than other LP hopefuls Russo and Badnarik, plus Kerry and Bush combined.

Nolan was largely preaching to the choir as the audience was mainly LP members and/or people who have attended his events elsewhere in recent weeks. The Q&A was fairly flat since everybody was on board. This is when it hit me that we hadn't gotten any real pre-event press, and that those who attended where there because I had reached them directly.

Fortunately, the event itself got excellent press: RTV-6 sent a camera, and aired a report on their 11:00 evening news. They teased the report during CSI Miami prior to the news, using pictures of Nolan in the teasers. The Noblesville Daily Times sent a reporter and photographer, and had two front page stories: one about the Nolan campaign, and the other about the activity of the Hamilton County party.

A 6" x 7" photo of Gary was placed above the fold, as was this headline, "Presidential Hopeful Visits County, Candidate Gary P. Nolan spreads Libertarian message". The Hamilton Co. article had the headline, "Group chips away at Republican Stronghold, Party sees GOP losing touch with conservative values". There was a front-page picture of Nolan with me. Nolan also did a call-in on 1070 WIBC, and then sat in on 1430 WXNT for about 40 minutes in an on-location breakfast event. I also got two segments on air.

This press is probably worth $5,000-$10,000 to the Hamilton Co LP. You can't buy the front page, and the coverage was super positive. I had at least 10 people stop me and comment on it all in the four hours I was available at work on Tuesday, and I was not terribly easy to track down.

Plusses and minuses on the press coverage: Major plus that the curious were reached via the TV, newspaper, and two radio stations, and in goodly numbers. Fairly large minus that we couldn't generate much pre-event excitement outside of our membership. It would have been great to have gotten the curious to the event, where we controlled the gathering of information such as sign-in sheets which give us contact info, and membership recruitment and financial support opportunities. We have to hope that somehow those interested as a result of the press coverage can figure out how to reach us and get involved. Fortunately, we have these new media relationships to work with, and hopefully they will help us word of meetings and other future events out.

Another major plus is that this push works very well with our strategy to establish the LP as the #2 party in Hamilton County. The Democrats were scarcely mentioned in any of the coverage, which is perfectly correct. When Libertarians tangle with the GOP (instead of the Dems) in Hamilton County, we tangle with the powers-that-be, which is the best way to become most relevant. I have not seen such positive coverage of Dems in Hamilton County ever.

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