Sun Circle Strategies: the New FORMA?

This was a practice piece I wrote over a year ago when I was first thinking of starting a blog. Tomorrow’s piece that I am currently working on reminded me of this. Thought it would be a good prelude, so here it is

Originally written Jan 1, 2019

As we begin 2019, I have to acknowledge the new show in El Paso politics is Sun Circle Strategies, headed by Eddie Holguin and Lily Limon. If the name of the game is gathering clients that win elections, then they are winning that game, with only Forma being a true competitor. However, Forma is still very much winning the money making game. 

I am sure Eddie and Lily are not terrible consultants. I am sure they know all the stuff that everyone that has done at least three campaigns know. A basic winning campaign strategy isn’t that hard to figure out, especially if you have the most viable candidate to begin with. The hard part is execution, especially with GOTV efforts. So if not exceptional campaign strategy, what has Lily and Eddie out in front of the El Paso consulting game?

Carl Robinson. Basically, Eddie and Lily stepped up when no one didn’t. Now I don’t know the details of how and why Carl Robinson decided to run, but I think I have a pretty good idea of how it came to be. Eddie and Lily convinced him to run. Smart. Why? Because County Commissioner Andrew Haggerty was about to go unopposed until the last second of the filing period, so this guaranteed Carl Robinson would be the Democratic Nominee in a November showdown. 

Just about anybody that was halfway viable with a decent campaign could have defeated Robinson. But no one thought to run, because everyone figured beating Haggerty in November would be impossible because that seat had been held by a Republican and a Haggerty stronghold for so long. And in any other election year, it would have been true that Haggerty could not be defeated. But all the would be Democratic candidates failed to realize one thing: Beto was running for US Senate and was on his way to becoming a national celebrity, meaning this would certainly boost democratic turnout, with heavy straight ticket voting occuring. 

Maybe I am giving too much credit to Lily and Eddie for figuring this out. Maybe Robinson decided on his own to run and Lily and Eddie were just so desperate for a client they were willing to take on anyone. Maybe they actually believed they had some kind of winning strategy that would be the difference. Either way, they deserve the credit for getting the candidate to sign with them. Bottom line, their candidate won. 

But truthfully, all Robinson needed to do was put his name on the ballot and collect all the votes under straight ticket voting that Beto brought in. Robinson wouldn’t have had to do any campaigning. He didn’t need to knock on a door, make a phone call, show up to a forum, make a Facebook post, nothing. He could have done absolutely nothing and got the same result. So if Lily and Eddie are claiming some great strategy of theirs got him elected, that is a lie. 

Since that victory, Sun Circle has obtained City Rep Cissy Lizzaraga, former Mayor Oscar Leeser, and HD 79 candidate Art Fierro as clients. Rep Lizzaraga was a heavy favorite in her race, and she won big. Leeser and Fierro are also candidates that are heavy favorites that need zero “consulting”. They know what they’re doing, and because of their Strong Name ID and community service resumes, they are going to start off way ahead of the game with many voters willing to vote for them before any campaigning begins. 

It should also be noted that Sun Circle picked up Veronica Frescas as a client in her race against City Rep Peter Svarzbien. Frescas was a heavy underdog, and she lost big. 

So here is the truth, if you are an established candidate, that is not in need of true consulting, but maybe some simple campaign services, Sun Circle may be the perfect choice. 

But if you are an unknown candidate against steep competition, I truly don’t know how much Sun Circle can help. 

Eddie and Lily are likable people and they are going to need to keep it that way to stay in business. The fact that they are former City Reps and officials with the Democratic Party helps give them legitimacy that established candidates can feel comfortable with. But I would really like to see how they perform with a candidate that is in a tough down ballot race against another viable candidate in which the election result will come down to strategy.