Junk Mail Received During the 2008 Primary Season

The local Democrats held a primary back in June to decide who should be their candidate for Congress. Leslie Byrne vs. Gerry Connolly. Here’s a summary of the political junk mail that accumulated in my crate. It seems like a huge waste of effort. The final vote tally was Connolly: 14,233, vs Byrne’s 8,196 votes. (The other two candidates received a few votes, Douglas J. Denneny got 1,508, and Lori. P Alexander 638.)

Lesliey Byrne

My household received 14 mailings that were “Paid for by Leslie Byrne for Congress.” Topics included:

  • Ending the Iraq War (7)
  • Generic pro-Bryne (4)
  • Negative ads about Mr. Connolly (3)

I also found it interesting that most of her ads mentioned her web site, although none of the attack ads on Mr. Connolly did. I give Ms. Byrne credit for attempting to harness the power of the web.

Virginia Women Vote!, a project of Emily’s List

My household received 6 mailings that were “Paid for by Virginia Women Vote!, a project of EMILY’s List and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.” Topics included:

  • Negative ads about Mr. Connolly (5)
  • Generic pro-Bryne (1)

I do find it interesting that the Virginia Women Vote! materials used the same photograph of Mr. Connolly that Ms. Byrne’s materials used. Were there no other photos of him available?

Gerry Connolly

My household received 17 mailings that were “Paid for and authorized by Gerry Connolly for Congress.” Topics included:

  • The Issues (gasp! A politician talking about more than one issue!):
    • End the Iraq War/military (1)
    • Pro-Abortion (1)
    • Education (1)
    • Economics (1)
    • Change (3)
  • Negative ads about Ms. Bryne(5)
  • Endorsements:
    • Gov. Kaine (2)
    • Caitlin Connolly (the candidate’s daughter) (1)
    • A mailing from the “Prince William Democrats for Change,” a made up group of people that has no web presence at all. Google can’t even find any record of this “group,”, made up of Hilda Barg, John Jenkins, Earnie Porta, Frank Principi, Paul Nichols, and Kathleen Seefeldt.
    • And finally, another mailing from a bunch of Fairfax supervisors decrying Ms. Byrne’s negative ads. Sharon Bulova, Penny Gross, Cathy Hudgins, Gerry Hyland, Jeff McKay, and Linda Smith.

Mr. Connolly never mentioned his web site in his ads. What was he scared of? I don’t think I want someone representing me in Congress who doesn’t quite understand how the web can work hand-in-hand with traditional methods of annoyingcontacting the citizens you represent.