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How Checkmate Strategies Flipped NJ LD-8 in 2021 with a Phenomenal Layered P2P Texting Plan

How Checkmate Strategies Flipped NJ LD-8 in 2021 with a Phenomenal Layered P2P Texting Plan

Learn how Checkmate Strategies was able to continue their record of flipping New Jersey districts red in one of the most competitive and expensive legislative races in the state’s history by using peer-to-peer (P2P) texting.

New Jersey, like Virginia, was filled with some of the hottest races in the country in 2021, and for good reason. Victories and flips for Republican candidates were occurring all over the state, but one battleground district in particular, LD-8, saw the most dramatic flip against all odds. 

In fact, LD-8 was so competitive in 2021 that it “rank[ed] among the top ten most expensive legislative races in New Jersey history” according to New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) Executive Director Jeff Brindle

So what was happening behind the scenes? How was the Stanfield Team in LD-8 able to flip the seat despite all the challenges stacked against them? The answer is simple - it was due to the expert messaging strategy using peer-to-peer (P2P) texting by the political consulting firm Checkmate Strategies.

About Checkmate Strategies

Checkmate Strategies started texting with us in 2018, and they have worked with many high profile candidates in New Jersey and across the country since then.

One of these candidates is Republican Mike Testa, who beat the former Democratic incumbent in the NJ Senate representing LD-1 in 2019, which helped flip LD-1 red. The victories continued in LD-2 in 2021, where Checkmate Strategies flipped two Assembly seats red and held the Senate seat with Vince Polistina. 

They were also the lead strategist for the Jack Ciattarelli for Governor campaign, which nearly defeated the incumbent Governor in a state where Republicans are outnumbered by over 1 million Democrats. 

The Challenges and Opportunities in LD-8 

The climate for Republican candidates in New Jersey is not friendly for many reasons. Traditionally as soon as voting starts, there are immediately 1 million more registered Democrats than Republican voters - this means that Republicans are at an immediate disadvantage across the board for support, name ID, fundraising, and more.

For context on the climate in NJ LD-8 in 2021, Biden was +3 and Democrats were +5. In order to be competitive, Republicans in NJ have to be aggressive, fresh and thought provoking to get people fired up, and they have to do it with uncomfortably low funds.

Despite all this, remarkable opportunities arose from one incumbent state senator who flipped party affiliation from Republican to Democrat mid-term and two state assembly members who left their seats open for the taking.

The makeup of the ticket, especially in these three vacated seats, was a little different than what one would normally expect from traditional strong Republican candidates: 

  • Jean Stanfield, who ran for the State Senate seat, was the first female sheriff in Burlington County, NJ and a proud grandmother. Jean was a two term member of the State Assembly in LD-8 as well.
  • Michael Torrissi Jr., a small business owner in his 40’s who ran for one of the State Assembly seats, started out working on his family peach farm.
  • Brandon Umba, who ran for the other State Assembly seat, was in his 30’s and had made a career for himself in various communities as a municipal administrator.

RumbleUp and Checkmate Strategies GOTV Text with Jean Stanfield, Michael Torrissi Jr. and Brandon Umba
A real conversation with a voter

The Strategy 

With fewer resources and less funds than their Democratic counterparts, along with being outspent 15-to-1 via TV and 4-to-1 via direct mail, Checkmate Strategies had to come up with a strategy that blew the competition out of the water.

The strategy they used was simple, yet sophisticated - implement aggressive outreach using multiple touchpoints and thought provoking content, show off the fresh feel of these candidates, and work smarter not harder. They chose to implement this strategy with an affordable, layered P2P texting program to send a variety of text messages to voters. 

RumbleUp and Checkmate Strategies Text Message
A real conversation with a voter

A common misconception many have about incorporating P2P texting into their outreach is that they will be adding another time consuming channel that they need to curate content for from scratch. However, Checkmate Strategies was able to quickly repurpose their existing written copy and visual creative from other mediums into MMS messages to complement their existing content and hit new verticals with ease.

One area Checkmate Strategies really shined in was their targeting. Instead of using large & broad lists that may or may not reach the right voters, they sent hyperlocal texts to individual towns which really resonated with voters. They also sent texts about topics that voters in these towns cared about, such as immigration and crime. 

RumbleUp and Checkmate Strategies Text Message
A real conversation with a voter

Bottom Line

The results speak for themselves. On paper, these Republican candidates should not have been able to win, but they defied expectations and flipped LD-8 red.

  • Jean Stanfield won against the incumbent by only 2.2% of the vote 
  • Michael Torrissi Jr. won by only 2.4% of the vote
  • Brandon Umba won by a staggering 1.4% of the vote 

Chasing every vote and truly connecting with voters on the most visible communication channel – P2P texting – was what made the difference in NJ LD-8. Want to achieve the same results with powerful and easy to use P2P texting? Sign up today at rumbleup.com.

Still have questions or concerns about how texting could best work for you? Please contact our sales team at (833) 530-4400 or sales@rumbleup.com and they will help find the best solution for you!

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