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Change From Within: Nils Nehrenheim

Activist to Councillor

Labeled a ‘slow growth’ activist Nils Nehrenheim accomplished a political fairy tale back in May, disabling any obstacle carefully as he navigated his way to defeat the incumbent Martha Barbee.

Now a member of Redondo Beach City Council, 1st District, Nehrenheim will attempt to enact change from within rather than force it through community groups on the outside.

"You’re way more powerful as an activist or a leader of a group, being vocal than being on council,” Nehrenheim said. “But the problem with that is that you’re not seeing all of the decisions being made; sometimes it’s better to stop throwing grenades and start fixing the problems.”

One of my favorite quotes to emerge out of one of the most exciting elections Ecanvasser had the privilege of being involved in.

Backstory

After a primary election on March 7, Nehrenheim was still standing in emphatic fashion. He advanced to a runoff after finishing 198 votes over incumbent Barbee but fell 74 short of winning the seat outright. A third candidate, Rolf Strutzenberg, earned 9.5 percent. He went on to endorse Nehrenheim in the runoff.

The May 16th election saw Nehrenheim finishing 9 points ahead with 49.3 percent of the vote. Rolf Strutzenberg finished third with 10.2 percent.

In an election that tipped the balance of power on the Redondo Beach City Council, it turned out Nehrenheim won in a landslide with 60.8 percent of the vote, defeating Barbee by 653 votes, according to a count of more than 3,000 ballots that were mailed in or dropped off at City Hall in recent weeks.

Nehrenheim posted a short Facebook live video showing his supporters, including Mayor Bill Brand, cheering and waving at Samba Brazilian Steakhouse. It was the same venue where they celebrated election night in March. “This wasn’t just a win, this is a huge mandate,” Nehrenheim said in an interview. “We have a firewall in place and now we can have real, open, honest conversations.”

Unlike the March 7th election, the runoff was free of distractions, such as the campaign for waterfront initiative Measure C, Nehrenheim said.

He said the new mayor Bill Brand and council will bring greater representation to a voice that has been ignored.

Nehrenheim's Use of Ecanvasser

Nehrenheim signed up to use Ecanvasser in March ahead of the May runoff giving him roughly an 8 week lead up. He and his team headed a heavy ground game recruiting nearly 40 volunteers to help spread his campaign message.

He successfully canvassed well over 9,000 people and it was this personal approach which was the consistency he needed throughout his campaign. Knocking on nearly 3,000 doors, Nehrenheims campaign team only had one question, could they count on their vote. An 'old school' move but it was very effective as voter lists from previous elections helped Nehrenheim target people who had a history of voting. In a run-off election, understanding voters behavior is crucial and thankfully Ecanvasser was able to help Nehrenheim in this way.

Since his victory in May, Nils has gone from strength to strength with many hailing his work. One Facebook user described Nils 1st D1 council meeting as being “so informative, results oriented and well organized. HUGE turnout, many new faces. Discussed budget, waterfront plan, boat launch ramp, Measure C, Coastal Commission, traffic concerns, and more. Possible Oktoberfest in Riviera Village! Good to have a councilperson who has substance and works so hard for us!”

So far, so good Nils!

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