Gralnick Endorsed by PA NOW in PA-4 Democratic Senate Contest

Challenger Brian Gralnick notched his first major endorsement this week for the PA-4 state Senate seat with the announcement of support from the PA chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW).

“Brian Gralnick is dedicated to fighting for equal opportunity for all. He has a strong record on the issues NOW cares about the most, including reproductive rights, economic justice and worker rights, LGBT rights, and promoting strong public schools,” said Caryn Hunt President of PA NOW.

Hunt told Citizens’ Call that Gralnick “has worked tirelessly on our issues and – he’s a candidate we’re happy to endorse.” The two other candidates for the seat, the incumbent, Sen. LeAnna Washington and Cheltenham Ward 2 Comr. Art Haywood were also considered, she said.

In response, Gralnick said, “I am both proud and humbled to receive the endorsement of PA NOW. For years I have been an ardent supporter of women’s rights, and I will take my advocacy on issues like reproductive health and quality public education to Harrisburg. For too long, legislators in the capitol have paid lip service to these issues.”

Political consultant Dan Siegal said the campaign is active in the air and on the ground as it approaches the final weeks before the May 20 primary. A targeted digital media buy of web display ads has been running since the second week of March and a full program of paid media, including mass mailings, is in the works for the coming days, he said.

The campaign has also done internal polling, usually considered a high cost item, which he deemed essential. “If you don’t know who your voters are, you’re not running a good campaign.” Siegal said that the campaign’s polling has tested Gralnick’s message all over the district, and “we saw a lot of movement when they heard what he had to say.” As for what the competition may be doing, he said he knows of a robo(call) poll in the field a couple of weeks ago and a live poll at about the same time.

On the ground, the emphasis has been on door knocking and phone calls, including some 10,000 voter contact attempts by the Gralnick campaign. Siegal said they have not yet done voter engagement on a mass scale, so name ID is still a challenge. While they have done a lot of one-on-one outreach, the lack of paid media to date has constrained visibility, which he suggested is likely the case for the other challenger’s campaign as well. Nevertheless, Siegal contended that their polling data indicates that Gralnick’s name ID is “pretty good” for a challenger who has never run for office before. “When people hear about his background and what he has to say, we get a large amount of support from all over the district.”

The political consultant asserted that one of the most formidable opponents they face is “ballot drop-offs,” often referred to as “undervotes.” After the enthusiasm around making choices at the top of the ballot for, say, the governor’s race and Congress, interest often wanes and voters don’t always register their preferences for the down-ballot offices. Siegal’s concern, real as it is, relates to a position held by only 50 individuals statewide, each representing more than 250,000 people – hardly a political afterthought.

Polling says Gralnick has support from all over the district, “not just where you’d expect like his neighborhoods in Cheltenham and where he has been particularly active,” said Siegal. His message really does resonate all over the district.”

Gralnick, 34, grew up and currently lives in Cheltenham Township. Before his run for office, he served as the Director of the Center for Social Responsibly at the Jewish Federation and as a program director for the United Way of SE PA.

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