Friday, 19 August 2016

Victory in Gravesham East

Victory for Diane Marsh in yesterday's Gravesham East By Election

Earlier today I was delighted to be at Gravesham Borough Council to cheer the election of Diane Marsh as the new Conservative County Councillor for Gravesham East Division. 

Diane's victory was very significant indeed. Gravesham East is a bellwether seat - won by the Conservatives in 2009, gained by Labour in 2013 and now regained in 2016. The Division is large (25,000 voters) and contains a real cross-section of Gravesend's town centre community, including neighbourhoods with majority BME population, prosperous residential suburbs and several peripheral estates which have not elected a Conservative district councillor for many decades. 

Gravesham is not part of the West Kent Group and we only got involved at the invitation of the Gravesham Chairman. I advised on strategy in a low poll and assisted with targeted mail and GOTPV/GOTV messaging. Nothing new or groundbreaking - just the same stuff I have been talking about for decades.  

1. Find your pledges
2. Define your message
3. Drive differential turnout 

In the words of my good friend and fellow agent Louise Parry, "winning elections isn't difficult, it's just hard work."

Yesterday (polling day) the West Kent Group provided over 20 volunteers and we ran GOTV in two of the seven wards which make-up the county seat. I was told by the Association President that we provided more Campaign Support than the rest of Kent combined. If so, the other areas of Kent (especially those with their own by-elections pending) should examine their consciences! I was also told that 7 of our 45 Conservative County Councillors turned out to assist, though I understand many traditionally take August off. 

Overall, the swing from Labour to Conservative in Gravesham East was 6.7%. Diane Marsh and her small team worked their socks off and deserved their win. I am pleased the West Kent team were able to help.  

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