Michael Nutter was lagging down at the bottom of the polls when the mayoral race first started, staring up at Tom Knox, Chaka Fattah and Bob Brady.
He was a candidate with plenty to say on all of the issues, but when it came to connecting with voters across the city his campaign fell short.
Then, along came Neil Oxman.
The political consultant is something of a Mayor Maker in this town, leading the paid media attacks of Wilson Goode, Ed Rendell and, now, Nutter.
Oxman checked in this afternoon to talk about another successful campaign.
What was your sense of where the campaign was when you were brought on board and what steps were needed to start getting Nutter’s message out on a broader scale?
I actually thought the campaign was in a reasonably good position in that I thought we had the best candidate. I thought we had the candidate with the best record and I thought he was very, very disciplined about what he needed to do to deliver his message to the electorate. There was no sense of panic at any time. There was ‘all right, this is what we needed to do.’ We certainly needed some breaks, which we got.
What were some of the breaks?
I’ll let you guys talk about that, you can dissect that stuff. I think that Nutter said it best. It’s sort of like we were so far down that nobody paid attention to us for a long time. I think that was sort of the biggest thing that we got. We were able to put our message out there undiluted without anyone putting a target on our back until the last week of the campaign.
Was there one key moment when you felt that the support was finally starting to materialize?
About 11 o’clock last night.
Why was the ad with Nutter’s daughter, Olivia, so successful?
I think it was effective because it was a different kind of ad. She’s so charming and so cute. It was just so different than all of the other ads that were out there and it really stood out. Ninety-nine percent of it was her personality, she was so wonderfully charming in the ad. It just cut through. I think that was the 99 percent secret of that ad.