Tan Nguyen campaign mailer misfires

Tan Nguyen campaign mailer misfires

Tan Nguyen’s congressional campaign has the money, but after seeing his campaign mailer, which arrived in my mail box yesterday, I am seriously questioning whoever it is that is advising him. The mailer was addressed to my wife, who like myself is registered as a Republican, and votes via absentee ballot. I am surmising then that he is targeting female, Republican, absentee voters. Could that be his strategy to undermine Rosie Avila, his GOP opponent for the 47th Congressional District?

The mailer itself has a bright yellow background, and a headshot of Nguyen appears on the front of it, with the tagline “Why you should vote for Tan Nguyen…when you probably can’t even pronounce his name.” OK – I’ll give him points for humor, but who amongst us, at this point, is unfamiliar with his last name? It is perhaps the most common of Vietnamese surnames.

The backside of the mailer, which is an 8.5″ by 11″ full color piece folded in the middle, horizontally, has a bold headline, “Tan opposes anything which encourages illegal immigration.” Below that it reads, with bullet points, “Tan is for: securing our borders; protecting our senior citizens; a balanced budget and less government waste.”

The inside of the mailer is essentially a longwinded biography of Nguyen. When I worked in advertising, years ago, we called ads that had too much text “gray.” Well, this mailer is gray in a big way. There is no way that anyone is going to read all of the text.

His copy starts out with a recollection of Nguyen’s childhood, when he, like so many of his peers, fled Vietnam with his family. The rest of the copy divulges his education and his professional background. Then it takes a strange turn, rather than dodge the issue, he comes right out and admits to having run for office in 2004, yes not that long ago, as a Democrat. However, he does not even attempt to rationalize the reasons behind his exit from the donkey party and his transformation and rebirth as a Republican.

Instead, Nguyen goes on to write about his issues, which again focus on illegals, the elderly – specifically the issue of re-importing medication from Canada, and he forgets to talk about government waste again.

What to make of all of this? First, as I mentioned, no one is going to read all of this. Chances are, many voters won’t even open the mailer, which is sealed with two of those little circular seals that are used for such mailers. The mailer does not mention any of his endorsements, nor does it include a campaign phone number. You have to go to his website to find that information.

The mailer, in my estimate, is a collossal waste of money. If this is the best Nguyen can do, I am going to assume that his opponent, Avila, is going to walk away with the primary. I did call him yesterday to try to talk to him about this mailer. Frankly, I felt sorry for him and wanted to give him a few pointers. The young lady who answered his campaign phone said that he was out walking precincts. Not a bad idea. He will get much further doing that than mailing out useless campaign fliers.

Will Nguyen’s focus on illegals do much to help him? I noted the other day that Avila is going to be speaking to Barbara Coe’s group, in Garden Grove. That means that she too will be taking a hard position on illegals, essentially nullifying Nguyen’s big issue. Moreover, many Latino voters will no doubt feel that it is unfair for Nguyen to take on the issue, given that most of his people were allowed to come to this country without having to go through the immigration process that Mexicans and others from Latin America often get bogged down in. There is real antagonism there, and focusing on illegals will only exacerbate those feelings.

Nguyen also failes to address education, which is a huge issue in the 47th, and of course it is an area where Avila will be dominant, given her background as a school board member in Santa Ana, and for Biola University. I also thought that he should have included a picture of him with his wife, to further entice female voters. If you are going to target female voters, and apparently he is, then you have to talk about education and it is a good idea to show off your wife.

Nguyen appears to have more money than sense. What a pity. His money would have been useful elsewhere. To find out more about his campaign, go to www.tanforcongress.com.

About Art Pedroza