Caugherty Hahn Communications, Inc.

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When 36 Votes Made The Difference

In one of the most hotly contested mayoral races in more than a decade, Independent challenger Richard (Dick) F. Hahn defeated Republican incumbent Jacqueline Kort as Mayor of Glen Rock, NJ, by a mere 36 votes in the 1999 election.

Caugherty Hahn Communications, Inc. (CHC) was a key player in the formation and execution of Dick Hahn's election campaign, with John N. Hahn as campaign manager and Lisa C. Hahn serving as communications manager.

Hahn's platform centered on communication, and urged citizens to voice ideas and opinions and to get involved. Hahn walked the town to meet and discuss issues with citizens.

The comprehensive campaign included elements ranging from a petition drive at the town pool to lawn signs, buttons, bumper stickers and a "get out the vote" effort.

The most significant challenge addressed by Hahn's campaign staff was the fact that Republicans had held the position of Glen Rock mayor consistently for more than 100 years. Another significant obstacle was the fact that the other challenger, Murray Rinzler, also an Independent, effectively divided the vote of opposition against the incumbent.

After many persuasive discussions with Dick Hahn and John Hahn, Rinzler agreed to withdraw from the race and urge his supporters to vote for Dick Hahn. This announcement was made on November 1, only one day before the election.

CHC immediately responded by sending press releases to all local media in an attempt to notify the people of Glen Rock that, although his name would be on the ballot, Murray Rinzler was no longer a candidate, and was instead throwing his support behind Hahn.

Obtaining media coverage of the announcement proved difficult, since only one local newspaper was to go to print the following day. Other media followed strict guidelines against making political announcements on Election Day.

CHC had to rely on a back-to-basics grassroots campaign strategy: a barrage of targeted phone calls to potential Rinzler supporters, registered Democrats, and Independent and Undecided voters.

CHC, using its own offices as campaign headquarters, rallied Hahn's supporters in an effort to spread the news to thousands of voters.

On Election Day, a record number (44%) of Glen Rock registered voters made it to the polls - despite a freak, violent thunderstorm that downed numerous trees and power lines, and the fact that the election was held in an "off" year with no major statewide races. Dick Hahn became Mayor of Glen Rock with 1,550 votes. Incumbent Mayor Kort tallied 1,514.

To discuss how Caugherty Hahn Communications, Inc. can put the power of Public Relations to work for your company, you can reach us at 201-251-7778, or send an email to

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