‘Tis the Season for Political Mailers: Day 17

Diana Palacios Diana Palacios 6 Comments

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Seventeen days in and fifty pieces of primary mail later, one thing is for certain; Lorie Zapf’s City Council campaign is spending an exorbitant amount of funds on literature. To date, her camp, the Lincoln Club of San Diego County, the San Diego Republican Party, and various consulting firms have sent a combined total of sixteen different items my way. These mailers are mostly alike in content, messaging, and appearance but this is especially true for the “voter guides” that are prepared by the Lincoln Club. Many of them appear to be duplicates, as the only noteworthy difference between them is the way they incorporate their message around an unbecoming black and white photograph of Mrs. Zapf’s Democratic opponent, Howard Wayne.

In contrast, I have only received one mailer touting Mr. Wayne’s candidacy. It states that he will fight to: “Keep our neighborhood libraries and recreation centers open; Fix our streets and sidewalks; Make public safety a priority; Fund deferred maintenance and infrastructure projects.” However, it does not note how he intends to fund these endeavors. The mailer was paid for by Protect Neighborhood Services Now and sponsored by the San Diego Municipal Employees Association, a local labor union.

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Comments 6

  1. If you not a registered Democrat you would not receive
    the “member communications” sent by the San Diego
    Democratic Party on behalf of Howard Wayne.

    They had already spent $22,939, as of May 22nd, to
    assist Mr. Wayne with mailings and other messages
    to registered Denocrats. Those figures are from the
    disclosure documents the local party filed.

    This is the modern playing field of city council politics.

    Neither Lori Zapf, Howard Wayne, or Kim Tran made
    those rules, they just have to live with them.

  2. As an outsider looking at this from Austin, TX, a couple of things strike me. First and foremost is the shocking disregard for trees demonstrated by Zapf as she bombards voters with these glossy mailers. Second, having seen the previously posted photos of the literal deluge of mail Ms. Palacios has received, I wonder if this amounts to essentially a tremendous waste of campaign resources on the part of the candidates. Zapf risks irritating voters with the barrage of almost daily mailers and calls attention to what Ms. Palacios has called “exorbitant amount of funds ” spent on the mailers. The other candidates risk getting lost in the shuffle as it were. I have to wonder if either a radio spot or more signs might be more effective.

  3. Mail is hands down the most effective way to campaign. TV/Radio is good if you have the money and a large enough race, but in district races (congress/assembly/council/etc) mail is indisputably the way to go. Howard Wayne knows it also, which is why his campaign is up to 9 mail pieces. People don’t care if they get bothered, it might frustrate them but very very few people will take higher taxes just because they are mad.

  4. I agree that mailers are effective, specifically in local races. However, in my experience I’ve found they are most effective when deployed as a part of a well-balanced campaign strategy that includes block walking, signs, and engaging campaign events that provide content for for social media outreach via twitter and Facebook. As far as I can gauge neither Zapf, Wayne, nor Tran have made an effective attempt to utilize social media. Mailers should be part of a balanced strategy. A blizzard of mailers is not an effective utilization of funds.

  5. Social media is only useful for reaching out to other (social) media.

    If Wayne had a facebook group it would have the same 350 members as the Susan Davis for Congress group, as the county Dem group, as the Whitburn for Supervisor group; same is true for the Republicans and Zapf, and none of those people would be voters in the district. Voters wouldn’t follow Howard Wayne or Lorie Zapf on twitter, only other candidates, operatives, elected officials, activists, and journalists would. The only difference between an email press release and twittering an update is you’re not obligated to write so much (and can’t) on twitter.

    A good campaign focuses on mail, balanced but slightly less on voter contact (calls and walking), slightly supplemented with signs (in yards only).

    Every time I see I twitter update from a candidate or some sign waving on the corner I want to slap them for wasting everyone’s time and money…unless you’re a Democrat, than onward to sign waving!

  6. With that said, the social media outreach by people focusing on just that…media…is a good tactic. If a blog (say, umm, I don’t know, SDRostra) were to have a twitter account, or the leaders of a local political party or labor union were to use facebook to spread information about events and get volunteers excited that is all a good use of resources. If it informs people and creates a media story that might be hard to create otherwise then mission accomplished.

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