Case Study.


Open-Seat Gubernatorial Victory

Montana Gubernatorial Race 2020

  • Republican Greg Gianforte defeats Mike Cooney


The Problem.

Outraised by Opponent

The 2020 Montana gubernatorial race was the top pick-up opportunity across the nation for Republicans—and a key seat for Democrats to defend. Despite his extensive personal wealth and robust fundraising ability, Republican Greg Gianforte was outraised by Democrat Mike Cooney in several quarters. Public polling pegged Gianforte’s lead to the low single digits in the weeks leading to Election Day.


An Aggressive, Targeted Mail Plan

As the direct mail consultant for the Gianforte campaign, Arena took action by crafting an aggressive direct mail plan targeted to moderate Republican voters who needed a reason to disqualify the Democrat candidate and cast their ballots for Gianforte instead. Our message was simple and unwavering: During 42 years as a career politician, Cooney supported raising taxes by $300,000,000.

Arena focused our efforts in the mailbox on disqualifying Cooney with swing voters and increasing Gianforte’s support from Republican-leaning women. In the end, we delivered 8 pieces of mail that defined Cooney with swing voters and 6 to build support from Republican-leaning women.


Broke a Sixteen-Year Democratic Streak

After saturating our message to the target audiences, Republican Greg Gianforte beat Democrat Mike Cooney by 13 points on Election Day. This was the only Republican gubernatorial pick-up in 2020 and the first time in sixteen years that a Republican won the Governor’s office in Montana.

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