Former Greater Boston Legal Service attorney and Emerge MA alum Tram Nguyen decided to run for state representative in the 18th Essex district, comprised of the towns of Andover, Boxford, North Andover, and Tewksbury. As a progressive, a millennial, and a first-time candidate, Tram knew she needed to run an aggressive, strategic campaign to defeat a powerful four-term Republican incumbent infamous for being the most conservative member of the state legislature. If elected, Tram would become the first Vietnamese-American woman elected to the Massachusetts state legislature.
The Tram Nguyen for State Representative campaign was committed to running a strong grassroots campaign to talk voters across the 18th Essex district. Field First believed Tram’s pathway to victory required her to build a diverse coalition of organizing volunteers and endorsing organizations and then leverage that support to run a strong voter contact field program to identify supporters and then effectively turn them out to vote. Additionally, the campaign needed to expand the electorate of typical general election voters to include more women and millenial voters, and persuade them to support her efforts.
As a first time candidate, Tram herself would have to knock thousands of doors to successfully execute this strategy and win over the hearts and minds of voters. Also, the campaign would have to invest heavily in volunteer recruitment, printed field materials, and an aggressive direct mail program.
Starting in March of 2018, Field First served as field consultants for the Tram Nguyen for State Representative campaign. Field First worked closely with the campaign to develop, oversee, and execute a strong direct voter contact program using proven field tactics to identify, persuade, and turnout voters during the 18th Essex District general election. This included creating voter contact universes, designing printed materials and scripts, setting up the campaign’s HubDialer and Hustle programs, and managing the campaign’s voter database. Field First also advised on messaging, staff hiring, budgeting, and the direct mail program.
Field First led weekly calls with campaign staff that became daily calls by the fall of 2018 to troubleshoot and drive the field plan forward. Field First’s voter contact program required the campaign to engage in daily direct voter contact – running canvasses, HubDialer phone banks, and text banking their targeted universe. Leading up to the campaign’s Get Out the Vote operation in November, the campaign made 55,317 phone calls, completed more than two full passes of their canvass universe by knocking over 17,981 doors (many done by the candidate herself), texted 834 numbers, and identified more than 5,000 supporters. Field First found that 87.30% of voters who were texted at least twice during the early vote and GOTV period, ended up voting during the general election.
Endorsed by dozens of state and national organizations as well as President Barack Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton, Tram was able to leverage her endorsements to raise the funds needed to run an aggressive direct mail and voter contact program and fill critical voter contact shifts.
Field First staff came in to help run Tram’s Get Out the Vote operation during the general election to ensure maximum efficiency and output.
As a result of building a strong coalition of support behind the candidate and engaging in daily voter contact work, Tram Nguyen won in an upset victory over a sitting Republican incumbent to win with 55% of the vote, becoming the first Vietnamese-American woman ever elected to the Massachusetts state legislature.
Working with her team to build on the Blue Wave of 2018, Tram’s focus on contacting voters allowed her to motivate her base and turn them out to vote. Field First found that close to 20% more millenials and 10% more women turned out to vote in 2018 than in the 2014 general election.
As State Representative , Tram is a champion for the rights of everyone, fighting for issues like reproductive rights, common sense gun reform, and treatment to combat the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic. Learn more about her work.
Quotes and Testimony
“As an organization committed to helping progressive candidates run and win elections, Field First has a firm understanding of what it takes to build a grassroots campaign that focuses on identifying supporters, motivating them with effective messaging, and then turning them out to vote. I highly recommend Field First and their hands-on approach, particularly to first-time candidates.”
— State Representative Tram Nguyen, 18th Essex