Nov 4, 2020
Voters in Bristol, Virginia Approve Casino Referendum
On Nov. 3, a majority of voters approved a referendum that will allow Hard Rock to build a casino and resort at the former Bristol Mall site. Running in one of the most conservative parts of Virginia, the “Yes To Bristol” campaign secured 71 percent of the vote, shattering expectations for how well received it would be. The Bristol referendum won with the largest margin of victory of any of the four casino referendums on ballots in Virginia on Nov. 3.
Over 5,400 voters supported the referendum in the city on the Virginia side of the Tennessee-Virginia border.
“We ran a consistent, sustained campaign focused on sticking to our core messages that we knew worked and utilizing every means by which to reach voters. Everyone involved was on the same page from start to finish, which is crucial in messaging and campaigning for any referendum,” said J. Tucker Martin, McGuireWoods Consulting senior vice president who served as chief strategist and overall consultant for the referendum effort.
“A campaign focused on voter contact and not just feel-good activity, with daily check-ins on early voting, supporter identification and turnout played a key role. It’s what we do,” said Steve Horton, director of MWCAdvocacy who “nerded out on numbers daily.”
A robust mail, phone and digital campaign, combined with on-the-ground talent overseeing operations and coalition building, plus critical early groundwork laid by the client helped make this effort successful.
“Without the early work by both the United Company and Hard Rock, and their incredible teams, these numbers would not have been met,” said Martin.
The successful referendum effort was also supported by MWC team members Jeff Britt, Chris Nolen, Charles Kelley, Jimmy Jewett, Abigail Floyd and Travis Blankenship.