LESSON LEARNED: US President Lyndon Johnson learned from his 1941 Senate defeat that you must
LESSON LEARNED: US President Lyndon Johnson learned from his 1941 Senate defeat that you must "do everything” to win political campaigns.

MAYORAL RACE: US President's mantra still applies

US President Lyndon Baines Johnson, when waxing lyrical about winning political campaigns, once said that "if you do everything, you will win”.

It is a lesson LBJ learned the hard way, and it is one that all candidates in the August 19 mayoral by-election could well learn from.

What makes for a great political campaign?

The QT asked Blair MP Shayne Neumann to look back on Ipswich politics and highlight some of the great campaigners, and what made them so good.

Mr Neumann, who has held 99 mobile offices since last year's federal election, spoke of three men who had an impact on how he now campaigns.

But before he did that he harked back to 1941 when LBJ lost the Texas United States Senate special election narrowly to Wilbert Lee O'Daniel.

O'Daniel polled 175,590 votes, 30.49% of the total, to edge out Johnson on 174,279 (30.26%), a win that was subject to court proceedings and always in dispute.

"LBJ lost the Democratic Senate primary back in 1941,” Mr Neumann said.

"He thought he'd won the election, but he failed to have scrutineers and workers protecting polling booths in the remote parts of Texas.

"He lost, but he never made that mistake again.

"He realised that it is really critical that you cover every base, from the appointment of booth workers, to advertising, community engagement... you've got to do everything to win.”

Mr Neumann spoke of those he learned at the feet of in Ipswich's past, those who did "everything”. First up we consider former Oxley MP and Foreign Minister Bill Hayden, a master on the campaign trail.

The configuration of the seat of Oxley when Mr Hayden held it from 1961 to 1988 was vastly different to now and contained country areas that were not ALP strongholds, but Mr Hayden won them over.

HUSTINGS: Ipswich legend Bill Hayden left no stone unturned to win votes in country booths.
HUSTINGS: Ipswich legend Bill Hayden left no stone unturned to win votes in country booths.

"What I learned from Bill is that he would go to country shows and towns and meet with people and do mobile offices,” Mr Neumann said.

"He would engage with people in areas that weren't necessarily considered strong Labor voting areas, to build up support.

"He'd also gather like-minded people in those areas to campaign with him and for him.”

Politics is a numbers game. Knowing how to win is about knowing the strengths and weaknesses of both yourself and your opponent and former Ipswich West MP Don Livingstone was a master.

THOROUGH: Former Ipswich West MP Don Livingstone had
THOROUGH: Former Ipswich West MP Don Livingstone had "an encyclopaedic knowledge of how areas would vote”.

"The best example of how good a campaigner Don Livingstone was is that he beat David Pahlke in Rosewood in a state campaign when Pahlke ran for the Nationals (in 2001),” Mr Neumann said.

"He had a great ability to marshal people on the ground to staff polling booths, put signs up and to constantly campaign.

"Don never forgot the basics. One of his famous sayings was 'numbers beat logic every day'.

"He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of how areas would vote, and he knew their strengths and how to improve where the weaknesses were.”

Mr Neumann was campaign manager for former Ipswich MP David Hamill and learned plenty about why you can't discount any constituent.

THEY ALL COUNT: The office of former Ipswich MP David Hamill (right) was like a doctor's surgery for constituents. Hamill, despite ministerial duties, would hit the pavement any chance he got to spread his message.
THEY ALL COUNT: The office of former Ipswich MP David Hamill (right) was like a doctor's surgery for constituents. Hamill, despite ministerial duties, would hit the pavement any chance he got to spread his message.

"Hamill was the sort of bloke who, as a Minister, would fly back from somewhere overseas one night and then be at Booval railway station the next morning handing out Labor Party material,” Mr Neumann said.

"His office was like a doctor's surgery.

"His door would always be open and people could always see him.

"He'd see them on Saturday and he'd see them on Sunday. He never forgot he was a local member.”

The conclusion you could draw is that it is critical to engage with people and never stop campaigning.

US President Bill Clinton said there were three things that win campaigns; ideas, money and organisation.

The organised mayoral candidates who do the basics well on the ground will reap the rewards.

"Those that don't, will fail.”



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