What word would you use to describe a candidate who sends out a negative mail piece about an opponent before Labor Day?
I’d say “desperate”.
Well, if you are a first-term incumbent representing an area that routinely votes for the opposition party, facing a popular challenger, did very little of note during your time in office, and are trailing in polls taken both by your own and your opponent’s campaign, you’d probably be worried too.
Enter Del. Bobby Mathieson (D-21st), or as we like to call him, our dear friend, Vizzini.
Mathieson has sent out a hit-piece on his opponent, City Councilman Ron Villanueva, attacking the councilman for, among other things, changing a flat tire, recovering from an illness, and taking care of his own child who was sick.
Villanueva is being criticized for his attendance record at city council meetings by the DPVA (hmm…nice to see that circular donation thing working – voter donates to candidate, candidate donates to DPVA, DPVA runs mail pieces, etc).
What is glaring is what is NOT being discussed at this particular time in the campaign.
Instead of talking about “perfect attendance”, how come Mathieson won’t talk about:
- His own record of achievements?
- Villanueva’s record on taxes, economic growth, job creation, etc.?
- An honest debate about jobs, energy, transportation, public safety, etc.?
Generally, at this point in a campaign, candidates are seeking some sort of solid footing on a policy issue that will resonate with voters. Hopefully, by now, they have done enough walking, town halls, and positive direct mail necessary to increase their name identification in the district.
But, as an incumbent, Mathieson, who probably thought he had done enough of those things, has seen a very disturbing trend on Labor Day: he’s losing.
So, instead, he has already chosen to throw “Hail Marys” — and it’s just the first quarter.
Talk about being bereft of ideas. Talk about an indicator of an incumbent being worried.
Matheison (Vizzini): Villanueva has been absent or late for council meetings. INCONCEIVABLE!
Me (Inigo Montoya): You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Is Mathieson, with the help of DPVA, going to turn the campaign for the 21st into the nastiest in the commonwealth?
The only thing inconceivable here is how early this type of negative campaigning has started, and how little the incumbent has to offer voters.