Political junk mail says a lot about candidate’s character

Are you sick of getting political pieces in the mail? I am.

Between the April 5 special election and the June 28 primary, we got almost 50 mail pieces from various politicians and political groups.

If you vote a lot, and we vote every time the polls are open, you get a lot of attention in the mail.

We live in City Council District 7 and only the incumbent, the ultra-liberal Anna America (a Democrat who is tight with ex-mayor Kathy Taylor, did not have a challenger. And no Republican filed against State Rep. Weldon Watson (he does face Independent Teresa Marlar in the general election on November 8). And there was no county commissioner race in our district this year.

We voted on three county races (sheriff, court clerk and county clerk), the mayor’s race, the First District congressional race and an open seat in the Oklahoma Senate (District 25).

So, with only six decisions to make, we got 50 flyers – most in June.

Senate District 25 candidate Lisa Kramer sent us 10 flyers. Another Republican Senate candidate in the same race, Craig Murray, sent three flyers and the fourth candidate, Joe Newhouse sent only one.

Bob Jack wins the prize for the best campaign with his “You don’t know Jack” theme. Plus, one flyer showed that he was the only candidate in that race with an A rating from the National Rifle Association plus his 100 percent ranking from Oklahomans for Life. It pointed out that only he and Newhouse oppose new taxes.

That was an effective message.

Some group called Oklahoma Federation for Children Action Fund sent out two flyers blasting Kramer’s efforts to broaden the tax base and her opposition to education reform. Some other unidentified group (not her campaign), sent a flyer saying she was needed because she is a CPA.

Political consultants get “walking lists” for candidates. These lists show where the Republicans or Democrats live and who is most likely to vote, based on past participation.

If you see a candidate going door to door in a primary, they don’t know what they are doing or they are too cheap or underfunded to buy a list.

Kramer, Jack and Murray also knocked on my front door. Kramer and Murray had no idea that we publish the Tulsa Beacon even though they had our names on their lists. In all fairness, I used to go to church with Bob Jack back in the 1980s.

I think it is odd that someone running for public office wouldn’t know about a newspaper, especially when that publisher lives in their district. It makes me question their conservative credentials.

Rep. Jim Bridenstine sent me four flyers while his Republican challenger Tom Atkinson sent me four. Atkinson could have sent me 100 and I would still vote for Bridenstine.

Sheriff Vic Regalado sent me three flyers while Luke Sherman sent me one. In the county court clerk race, Ron Phillips sent me three flyers and Don Newberry sent one. Nancy Rothman, a GOP candidate for county clerk, sent one flyer while Michael Willis sent three.

Mayor Dewey Bartlett’s campaign sent six mailers while G.T. Bynum mailed us only two. Bartlett had a couple of pieces that really twisted the knife for Bynum. One had a picture of Bynum with liberal Kathy Taylor on one side with photos of Bartlett and former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn on the other.

That was quite a contrast.

Another Bartlett piece has photos of Bynum with Taylor, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Obama was laughing.

That was very effective.

Another Bartlett flyer linked Bynum to former Oklahoma School Superintendent Janet Barresi. It reads that Bynum called her “fantastic” even though she was under fire for “our failing schools.”

Bartlett’s wife, Victoria, came to our front door. She had our names on her walking list but she apparently didn’t know that we publish the Tulsa Beacon. Susan had a lively discussion with her concerning her husband’s policies and performance.

Bynum sent out one mailer from former U.S. Rep. John Sullivan, a moderate Republican who had such a drinking problem that he had to check into the Betty Ford Clinic. That probably hurt Bynum’s chances more than it helped.

Bynum sent out one flyer that had five endorsements. One was Dan Keating, twin brother of former Gov. Frank Keating and a weekly columnist in the Tulsa Beacon. I respect Dan’s opinion greatly.

The other four endorsers were former City Councilor Bill Christiansen, Bama Pie’s Paula Marshall, City Councilor Karen Gilbert and County Commissioner Ron Peters. None of their opinions sway me one bit.

The day before the primary, Bynum sent out a flyer with photos of other supporters, including ex-mayor Susan Savage, City Councilor Blake Ewing, ex-mayor Bob LaFortune, County Clerk Pat Key, ex-mayor Terry Young, former City Councilor John Eagleton and others.

Do these flyers work? Some do, some don’t. I don’t think any of them work well enough to justify the enormous cost. But most “political advisors” preach mailers and most candidates use them.

I appreciate that some politicians take out ads in the Tulsa Beacon because they know that someone is a lot more likely to read a newspaper they pay for than a pile of junk mail.