About that Davis campaign email

The blogosphere is all a twitter with the idea that the Jeannemarie Davis campaign is buying votes in an effort to gin-up its numbers at the Republican convention.

If this was genuinely true, then it would be more than a gaffe — it would be the most unbelievable act of political self-immolation in a very long time (not to mention illegal).

The smoking gun is an email that reads as follows:

Hi [name],

My name is Savannah Hinton on the staff to elect Jeannemarie Davis for Lt. Governor! Jeammnemarie is running against six other Republican candidates to get the nomination on May 18th. 2013. And, quite possibly the only one that can come out of Northern Virginia with a WIN, she a past House of Delegate, Past State Senator, plus just resigned from Gov. McDonald’s Cabinet to run for Lt. Gov. full time.

We are very interested in getting [your organization] to support her. We are willing to pay $2.00 for every [member of your organization] to sign up to be a Delegate and $8.00 if they actually for the convention.

If your organization is interested, please email me back or call for more information.

A gut shot.

Except our own Jim Hoeft took the time to email the Davis campaign and asked just what was going on here because, frankly, this looks like the campaign trying to buy votes.

Here’s the response he received from Candidate Davis:

Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Savanah was just recently hired onto the campaign to cover part of the Hampton Roads region. She sent this email out without authorization by either myself or my campaign manager. Upon reading Savanah’s email, I see that she has inaccurately phrased the request and I can understand how it comes across. We have identified several thousand supporters and are hiring College Republicans to join our staff to retrieve their filing forms. Savanah’s very poorly written, unauthorized email clearly misrepresented our goal – which, once again, is to hire additional part time staff. Please let me know if you have further questions. Take care, Jeannemarie

It was a mistake. A whopping big mistake, to be sure. And one that I’m also quite sure earned the staffer who sent the email a trip to the woodshed.

Fine. Candidates err all the time. Their campaigns do, too. If this problem has been corrected, great.

But it’s left a mark. And in a multi-candidate field, where everyone is looking for an edge, it’s not going to fade quickly.

  • Between this and the ill-timed 9/11 announcement… geez….

  • EricMcGrane

    Isn’t JMD one of the experienced, competent candidates who would have a well-oiled machine that wouldn’t make campaign missteps? An experienced candidate who would never have processes in place that would permit a junior staffer to send unvetted/unchecked communications on behalf of the campaign?

    I’m being snarky, yes, so I’ll apologize for that….but you get my point.

    • Chris

      Hey . . . Tom Davis is a political genius, he knows how to win, and he’s smarter than you so don’t question his brilliance! (lol)

    • Every campaign makes missteps, even winning ones. This has nothing to do with her competence to do the job.

  • SpotsyHoya

    You can’t control every action of a 20 person staff. This was an eager young staffer who erred while being aggressive, and that is the kind of mistake you want. So what exactly is the scandal? That JM’s campaign is hiring staff?

    Call Inspector Clousseau!

  • Chris

    Is it bad i would still voter for her over pete snyder? lol

  • MagicalUnderpants

    I’m no accolyte to JMD, but this just seems blown out of proportion, the kind of stuff you see on a painfully slow news day. If the email said “we will pay $2 TO every member” then yes, that would look like buying votes. But telling a group they will pay “for” really seems to indicate the campaign is looking for people to pay “for” collecting forms, to hire people, which seems to be what every campaign is now doing. I guess it is possible to misconstrue, but you have to interpret in worst possible light. I doubt any campaign is picture perfect articulating all their emails, but this one went public.

  • Mike Attard

    FYI Ben Tribbett aka Not Larry Sabato used to work for Pete Snyder

    • Tony Bennett

      Mike Attard doesn’t know what he is talking about.

      • Not Larry Sabato

        That’s true actually, I did work at NMS from Jan 08 to May 09.

  • On a good note today, I got an email from Davis saying she would repeal the ban on fully autos. From her email, “I oppose the
    attempts to ban semi-automatic and automatic weapons. . .”

    Looks like she let another dumb staffer write this email too. Seems like if she’s going to write an email claiming to be pro-gun, she’d at least learn a little about the issue.


    • I got an email from the VAETF that claimed you have had “death threats” from folks (right…) and using an address in South Carolina, not Virginia.

      Apparently JMDD doesn’t have a monopoly on dumb email writers.

      • Yeah, cause when I’m getting threats from establishment hacks, I’m going to use my real address. . .

        • You didn’t get any threats. Stop lying. If you did, you’d publish them. If you thought they were real, you’d contact the authorities.

        • Name one. Just one. Any single one. And back it up with a copy of the email.

  • Loudoun Patriot

    Ok so the EXPLANATION is that the $2 is for collecting/retrieving a form and the $8 is for what? getting someone to go to the convention and vote for JMDD? So the organization (or its leader) is being paid to get votes. Clearly this sets up an incentivizing scenario whereby the the organization/leader is being paid to find a way to get the delegates to go vote for JMMD in order to raise money for the himself or the organization. … very likely by some other “incentive”… even if its simply: “Go vote for JMMD so we can raise money for our college Republican club.” This is in the gray area of vote-buying and the program should be watched closely.

    • SpotsyHoya

      No, the explanation is that it was an inartfully worded email. The campaign was looking to hire on staff, not pay any organization or its leader, particularly.
      Not saying it wasn’t a mistake on the part of that staffer, but every campaign hires staff to help round up supporters. Every. One. This isn’t a scandal, it’s organization.
      The part you apparently missed is that the message should have targeted individuals willing to work on staff, not any organization.

  • the mangled English is a scandal in and of itself

  • scottrbenn

    Am I the only one catching the “Gov. McDonald” flub?

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