Aaron Lee May 28, 2019
POOLHOUSE + Steve Watkins – Case Study

“POOLHOUSE brought the campaign strategic guidance and created next-level media that creatively told my story, counter-programmed attacks, and cut through the noise. It was a crowded primary and extremely competitive and high-profile general election, and their help was essential.”

– Congressman Steve Watkins


In 2018, POOLHOUSE helped elect Steve Watkins to the U.S. House of Representatives. STEVE WATKINS WAS THE ULTIMATE POLITICAL OUTSIDER. Having never run for office, Watkins threw his hat in the ring for the open seat in Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District.


Watkins had a great story, but he needed help introducing his brand to voters. We worked to lay out his message and brand in an online-only video.


Next, we used Steve’s unqiue background to create the first bio-spot of the campaign. THIS ‘WIDELY PRAISED’ TV AD HELPED DEFINE HIM TO VOTERS.



WE REINFORCED HIS BRAND with great imagery that told his story, using unique productions styles to cut through the crowded television market and influence voters.


Steve Watkins - outsider



Watkin’s opponents started attacking ‘the candidate with no chance to win the GOP Primary.’ We anticipated those attacks and were ready to respond instantly with a spot that was specifically prepared for this.

Steve Watkins primary chart



Steve Watkins kansas


The Airborne Ranger vs. The Hand-Picked Democratic Insider. Paul Davis, Watkin’s opponent had millions in the bank and very close ties to national Democrats. The pundits said it would be a ‘close race’ and headlines read like “Kansas Is Home to One of the Ugliest Races of the Year” Watkins was outspent more than 3 to 1 by his opponent.

We re-introduced Watkins with this TV ad, again taking it back to the campaign brand of service and leadership.



Towards the close of the campaign, we needed something different in our ads and released this ‘brilliant’ ad with a third party validator.


We also brought in the sitting congresswoman for this ‘brilliant’ ad to shore up support among weary Republicans after the contentious primary.


Finally, when Watkins was being attacked with millions in negative ads from his opponent, the DCCC and superPACS, we turned to creativity and humor to fend them off and turn the subject of media attention.

Winning Strategy