Veterans and William Russell: In the 12th District of PA, there are approximately 50,000 veterans and active duty soldiers.
It's critical that the Russell Campaign comes as close as possible to contacting every one of them. Any veteran who's been paying attention to Murtha's antics is not going to vote for him. In this case it's the Warrior, Russell, versus the Wimp, Murtha.
With his despicable comments about the Haditha Marines, Murtha is going to learn the full meaning of an old saying: "Sin in haste, repent at leisure."
In additions to the vets, there may be 100,000-plus family members (mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, and cousins) of current or past soldiers. Again, it's necessary to contact as many as possible. Face-to-face contact is the best kind.
Mailings can be expensive. Sending out 100,000 letters will have a postage cost alone of $41,000. That's going to be a lot of money for the Russell Campaign, one that frankly needs your money. One key is to holding costs down is to send mail to the "right" people, who are those will read it and tend to react positively.
Mass mailings over the Internet are relatively inexpensive, but tricky. It's not easy (or sometimes, even cheap) to get e-mail addresses for a lot of people, although the Russell Campaign should have tens of thousands by next fall.
Successful political operatives are pack-rats. They save everything, especially names, home addresses, phone numbers, voting preferences, and e-mail addresses.
The major focus should be on contacting Democrats and Independents*. Russell is not going to have a problem attracting Republican supporters. They will find him rather than the other way around.
The most important "Democrats" are those who have a history of voting for Republicans, especially in presidential elections. Such people tend to congregate in certain zip codes, and so they're not especially hard to target.
Murtha does not have a lock on District Democrats, who have a 2.2 to 1.0 registration edge. In 2006, Democrats apparently went for Murtha by 3-2, which is a far cry from the registration picture. A good number of Democrats aren't Murtha fans. Another segment of Democrats apparently has given up on voting. (Compared to adjoining districts, the 12th has very low vote totals.)
If Russell can turn the Democrat vote ratio for Murtha from 3-2 into 4-3, then on election eve, John Murtha will turn into the political equivalent of Pumpkin. That won't be an easy task for Russell, but it's certainly not impossible. Of course, some people would vote for Murtha if he was sporting an orange jump suit (pumpkin-colored?) and shackles, which he probably should be.
*"Independents" is sometimes a euphemism for people who aren't very interested in politics and are unlikely voters. Those Independents who do vote have a tendency to split roughly 50-50. With a strong campaign of volunteers, Russell should be able to move that to 60-40 in his favor.
You can contribute to William T. Russell by going to: http://williamrussellforcongress.com/. If you'd prefer a mailing address, it is:
William Russell for Congress
P. O. Box 630
Johnstown, PA 15907