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Karen McDonald for Prosecutor

How Karen McDonald mobilized supporters of criminal justice reform to beat a 12-year incumbent for Oakland County prosecutor

It is an uphill climb to defeat a 12-year incumbent in a big, suburban county like Oakland County, MI. We took on our client, Karen McDonald, as she left the bench to run for prosecutor because she had a compelling story and shared our values. But we knew we would have to make a connection with a huge number of voters in a short amount of time to win. We created this compelling video to help our candidate win the Democratic primary for Prosecutor of Oakland County, MI. We had 3 main goals:

  1. Tell Karen’s story as a mom, former teacher, and former judge, and how these experiences equipped her to be the best choice for prosecutor, which we did through b-roll of other Oakland county women.

  2. Communicate Karen’s values and choices that led her to run for prosecutor – with putting kids first as the key focus of her career.

  3. Share information with primary voters about how out of step the current 12-year incumbent was with their values: charging a 10 year old with assault and the horrific Mckenzie Cochran case with circumstances similar to George Floyd’s death.

This video defined Karen to voters, donors, and activists, helping us raise money, energize supporters, and win the primary and general elections. This piece also recieved a number of awards – including a Gold Pollie and two Gold ADDYs!

karen mcdonald for prosecutor website

mcdonaldforprosecutor.com

In a leaning Democratic county like this one, it was important that our client’s message appealed for progressive changes in the criminal justice system, while at the same time reassuring voters that she would maintain the rule of law. We accomplished that by pairing a reform message with how she had always put the safety of kids first throughout her career. We featured these core values prominently on this website, while also optimizing for donations and list building.

mcdonaldforprosecutor.com

In a leaning Democratic county like this one, it was important that our client’s message appealed for progressive changes in the criminal justice system, while at the same time reassuring voters that she would maintain the rule of law. We accomplished that by pairing a reform message with how she had always put the safety of kids first throughout her career. We featured these core values prominently on this website, while also optimizing for donations and list building.
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The Results

oakland county

THE PRIMARY ELECTION

Our initial polling showed Cooper with a 2-1 advantage over McDonald, but on primary election day, Karen McDonald defeated 12- year incumbent Jessica Cooper 66% to 34%, winning all but 4 precincts in the county.

THE GENERAL ELECTION

Karen was the top performing candidate in the county! Karen got more votes than any other countywide candidate in the general—democrat or republican.
karen mcdonald

How We Won

Our digital program helped Karen McDonald soundly defeat an incumbent prosecutor by capitalizing on the activism around criminal justice reform by turning out a broad coalition of Democratic voters.

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Award Winning Work

Since CMG started in 2012, we’ve helped more than 300 clients make a difference with award winning projects. Check out the comprehensive list!

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