We can all agree last Tuesday was, in one word, surprising. While we cannot disregard the negative surprises we experienced, there were many victories across our nation that we must meet with a pleasant surprise.



In one of this year’s most important ballot initiatives, JVA Campaigns partnered with Colorado Families for a Fair Wage to ensure families across the Centennial State would receive a much-needed increase in wages. With an overwhelming victory, JVA Campaigns helped the coalition not only communicate the stories of people affected by this initiative but identified the people of Colorado who would be most likely to support this issue. 



In what was one of the most hotly contested US Senate races of the year, the United Steelworkers sought out the expertise of JVA Campaigns to produce a digital communications plan for Senator-elect Maggie Hassan. By serving digital advertisement to voters of New Hampshire, the Steelworkers ensured working families across the Granite State would have a voice in the US Senate.



Both the Kansas Democratic Party and the state-based Bluestem Fund continued their longstanding relationship with JVA Campaigns and enjoyed success across the state. In total, JVA Campaigns helped Democrats seeking office in both chambers of the Kansas Legislature walk away with thirteen wins on election night, including multiple wins where Democrats unseated Republican incumbents.  



Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains and JVA Campaigns together made gains in the Colorado State Legislature on Tuesday, November 8. By communicating to voters on behalf of champions for women’s health care, Planned Parenthood in partnership with JVA Campaigns helped propel Democrats across the state to victory.



JVA Campaigns was thrilled to work with the Montana Votes table this year. Montana Votes, through the work of their strong coalition of table partners – Planned Parenthood of Montana, Montana AFL-CIO, Montana Trial Lawyers Association, Forward Montana, and Montana Conservation Voters – secured critical victories in reelecting Democratic Governor Steve Bullock, as well as electing Judge Dirk Sandefur to the Supreme Court.



The Idaho Democratic Party and the Idaho Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee chose JVA Campaigns to help win back vital seats this year. After election night, Democrats had garnered multiple critical victories across the state, laying the groundwork for success for years to come. We can all agree that Tuesday was, in one word, surprising. While we cannot disregard the negative surprises we experienced, there were many victories across our nation that we must meet with a pleasant surprise.



The Nevada US Senate race lived up to expectations as being a critical victory for Democrats. JVA Campaigns’ counsel and strategy was sought out by national organizations such as the League of Conservation Voters, the United Steelworkers, and the Center for Community Change to communicate and mobilize voters, inevitably helping Catherine Cortez-Masto become Nevada’s next Senator. 

This week on the JVA Campaigns blog series, we asked our two newest employees, Aly Rowse and Laura Smith, “What have you learned in your first few months at JVA Campaigns?”


Like a Snowflake, No Two Clients Are Alike

Aly Rowse


Politics is personal. This has always been true for me because I grew up in a family of union-strong steelworkers and coal miners. While working at JVA Campaigns, I’ve found this statement to be even more accurate.

Although as progressives we all share similar ideals, each of our clients has a different story to tell. We take great pride in tailoring our services to make sure our products reflect our clients personally. By now I can name more landmarks and small towns in Maine and Kansas than I can in my own home state. 


So, while my analogy might not be “in season” yet (it reached 80 degrees in Columbus this week), it’s certainly true for how we approach each and every one of our clients.



We Matter . . . You Better Believe It

Laura Smith


I took a course in college where the central idea focused on whether or not campaigns matter, and this question has always bothered me. I would argue “Of course campaigns matter!” while classmates fired back that campaigns are “a waste of time and money.”


This election cycle, we’ve all seen how campaigns shape our communities. Campaigns give us hope for the future and the chance to fight for what we believe in. Whether you’re a small-town candidate fighting to give your children a brighter future, or a presidential candidate rallying millions behind the idea that we are stronger together, campaigns connect us to hope, opportunity, and change.


At JVA Campaigns, we know campaigns matter. Our team has helped make a difference in communities across the nation. We’ve started conversations, inspired ideas, and led great candidates to victory. Win or lose, that’s something I’m proud to be a part of.












By Meredith Tucker


What do your communications say about you? In one word, EVERYTHING.


I hate to be the Kanye West of this conversation, but when it comes to politics, communications are your best tool – of all time!


I know many out there would argue that fundraising is the most important part. After all, it is, without question, where a candidate spends much of their focus, but why?


To communicate their message to voters.


Ok, well what about positions on policy? Shouldn’t those be what matters most? Absolutely, but here’s how we break this down. You can have the best ideas in the world, but they need to be delivered to voters in a way that is clear, concise, and to the point. Otherwise, your message will get lost in the mud with the rest of them.


Among the many lessons we’ve learned this year, we know that voters loathe talking points and speeches that sound rehearsed. But the fact of the matter is, presenting positions on complicated issues such as strengthening the economy isn’t easy, and we have to work pretty hard to boil them down into digestible sound bites.  Unfortunately for us policy buffs, attention spans are short, and time is money. A candidate can raise all the money in the world, but they still need to be able to deliver these messages to voters.


I used to tell my candidates and their staff, “You are what you tweet.” While mostly a scare tactic to prevent them from going viral for all the wrong reasons, it also means something more. You are what you say, and you will be held accountable for it.


I’ve heard people say, “Well, I don’t think Donald Trump is as crazy {insert “racist,” “misogynistic,” etc.} as he makes himself out to be – he just says that stuff to get attention.” Sorry to say folks, but you don’t get to just “say stuff.” When Trump calls women pigs, calls Mexicans rapists, or says he will ban an entire religion’s population from entering our country, we must listen, and we must take it seriously. It’s now time for voters to hold his feet to the fire. 


Words matter. Use them wisely. 

What if chief operating officers of every company had to tell you what they’d do with a free elephant? Unfortunately, the world does not work the way things do at JVA Campaigns. For this edition of Get to Know Your Consultant, we sit down with our chief operating officer, Megan Wickersham, and ask her to ponder the questions in life that really matter



Q: If you were a piece of mail, what kind of mail piece would you be?

Megan: I’ve always been a pretty blunt and honest person, so I’d be a negative mailer that just tells it like it is.


Q: If there was a street fight between the following teams, who would win? Hillary Clinton–Tim Kaine, Barack Obama–Joe Biden, Bill Clinton–Al Gore, or Jimmy Carter–Walter Mondale.

Megan: I’m pretty sure the Obama–Biden team would come out winning. The wildcard there is Joe—he’s a super-scrappy guy from the blue-collar town of Scranton, so you know he’s been in a fight or two.


Q: If you’re on a deserted island and you have to bring a Democrat and a Republican, who are you bringing?  

Megan: If Bear Grylls is a Democrat (and let’s assume he is), I’m going to take him for obvious reasons. For the Republican, I’d bring my fiancé, Jim, because if I was stuck somewhere I’d want him to share in it with me. 


Q: What three things would I find in your refrigerator right now?

Megan: 1) Greek yogurt; 2) Craft beer, because my fiancé has really embraced the craft beer movement; and 3) Various wrapped meats because grilling weather is perfect right now in Ohio. 


Q: What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?

Megan: The Olympics. The summer Olympics is something I look forward to every four years.


Q: What’s your favorite mail piece you’ve ever designed?

Megan: In 2014, I designed a mail piece for the Ohio state legislative independent expenditure campaign. I’m pretty proud of it and like that it’s one we showcase today.




Q: If you were an animated character, what kind of character would you be?

Megan: Between buying a new house, getting married in a couple of months, and being in the middle of a presidential year, I’d say I’m one of the cartoons with steam coming out of their ears right now.


Q: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see play the lead role?

Megan: Reese Witherspoon. 


Q: If you were limited to only get advice from one person the rest of your life, which person would you choose?

Megan: I’d pick my friend Beth. She’s always very honest, makes level-headed decisions, and has a knack for seeing the positive side of things.


Q: Last question. You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with it?

Megan: Well, apparently I need to buy a bigger house. Looks like I’d be moving the elephant, my fiancé, and me to a farm in the country and then building a big fence so it couldn’t get out.



By Mary Bogus


Earlier this week, I watched First Lady Michelle Obama speak on the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. In between bursts of tears and clapping, I started to think about the difference between what she was saying and what we heard the week before from many of the speakers at the Republican National Convention. While the RNC painted a picture of an America that was no longer “great,” ratified the most anti-LGBTQ platform in our history, mocked “political correctness” as being a sign of weakness, and gave story after story about how undocumented immigrants are “ruining” our country, the First Lady was in stark contrast. Touching on issues of race, feminism, family, unity, and rebuking Donald Trump’s claim that America needed to be made “great” again, Michelle Obama reflected our values as a country through her own perspective as the First Lady, a woman of color, and a mom:


"I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States."


This line had me and everyone I know high-fiving, clapping, cheering, crying, and feeling more proud than ever before to be a Democrat. Messages like these can reshape the conversation and mobilize our people in a way that not all of our messages or messengers can. And the messages and the values that she conveys make an impact because they are shaped by her own unique experience and her many diverse identities.


More than ever before, it’s critical that as we build our campaigns and our movements, we must centralize the experiences of those most impacted. This means building diverse communications plans that tell the stories of the people who will benefit or be hurt the most by our wins and our losses. We have a unique opportunity to use our stories to clearly counter the America that Donald Trump and politicians like him would like to see. By incorporating diverse communications, our campaigns will cut through the noise. We as Democrats already believe America is great because of our diversity, and one way we communicate that to all voters is by making sure that campaign communications are reflective of that greatness.