33rd SD scorecard. Sadly, “hit pieces” are the big winners

While the media reports that the June 3rd election will be a low turnout due to the fact that we are not voting for either the president nor governor in the typical primary, this past month has been laced with a continuous barrage of campaign mailings in the 33rd SD to replace termed out Republican Senator Dick Ackerman.

In past elections I have shared strategy and tactics that I learned from a consultant and two mentors. That advise included a responsibility to “list the problems” and the harder task of “proposing solutions” to same.

Not anymore. “Handlers” have learned that attacking your competition with half truths and even outright lies has a bigger and longer lasting impact on the voting public who, unlike many of us, are not addicted to this game called politics. In past elections negative advertising came in literature from independent expenditures I.E’s where the candidate could distance himself or herself of any knowledge of statements and charges against your competition. Not any longer. Candidates themselves, using their own campaign accounts, have gone on the attack. I can’t tell you how many mailers we have thrown out in the 33rd SD (and 71st AD) races over the past month.

What message is this approach sending to those who might have had an interest in participating in any level of politics as one way of giving back to their communities?

While we only received two voter guides/slates from the CALIFORNIA VOTER GUIDE, the standard mail has been extremely heavy and costly to both camps. Let me also caution readers on interpreting voter guides. In one “hit piece” used against me during the fight over re-use of MCAS El Toro, I took a spot on a card that also contained support of making El Toro into an International airport which I opposed. When placing your ad they do not tell you who else is on the card or what issues they may include. That voter guide was used to link me to the opposition by my competition in a last minute mailing. I mention that as the above referenced 2008 voter guides include a paid ad opposing Prop 98 yet includes an ad for Mimi Walters. Mimi is one of our champions on the property rights issue and is a strong supporter of Prop 98.

Another turn-off is the overuse of robocalls where we receive recorded messages from high profile supporters or the candidates themselves. Sorry folks, but you can overdue a good idea. Thes past two election cycles prove that point.

Another new addition is the dual endorsement by high profile individuals or groups. If you truly like both contenders than perhaps your best decision is simply not to endorse either. I have seen dual endorsements this year which only adds to the confusion when voters receive candidates literature and start to question whether or not the endorsements are valid.

Just some random thoughts.

Let me close by quoting Ronald Reagan, one of my hero’s.

“Trust , but verify!”


About Larry Gilbert