A drawback of the Democrats’ new centralization strategy

Anybody who’s worked in a large, geographically dispersed organization knows there are positives and negatives associated with the centralization of certain organizational tasks. While great efficiencies and gains in quality can be achieved by centralizing a task with one expert at company headquarters, things like local knowledge can get lost along the way.

A giant postcard I received last weekend from the state Democratic Party is a good example. We published a story Saturday about the Democrats’ new focus on the oversized postcards. They’re sending them all over the state on behalf of Democratic legislative candidates, and Sen. Mike Vehle, R-Mitchell, has been especially targeted. Ben Nesselhuf, the state party’s chairman and executive director, explained the strategy this way in our Saturday story:

“We have essentially set ourselves up to be the campaign consulting team for our candidates. We’ve been able, by using a more centralized strategy, to bring costs down.”

That sounds good, and it probably is mostly good for the party and its candidates. But it also makes it more likely that somebody working from an office in Pierre or Sioux Falls will make a mistake that a local candidate would not make.

Take the picture below, for example, which I shot with my phone. It’s a postcard sent by the Democratic Party on behalf of Democratic District 20 Senate candidate Quinten Burg. The postcard includes an absolutely lovely view of Lake Prior in Woonsocket (it’s not labeled as such; I just know the lake from having seen it many times).

The problem? Woonsocket and its beautiful lake are in District 8, not District 20. I’m sure Quinten Burg knows that, but apparently somebody at the state party office doesn’t.