A number of people have complained about a campaign phone call that they describe as terrible and prejudicial. It looks like there may be one that is negative towards mayoral hopeful Rodney Wiltshire (WFP) and Jim Gordon (R).
We just happen to have a transcript of one such call:
Caller: Election day is just...
Voter: What? Hello?
Caller: Eighteen days...
V: Hello! Shhh. .Be quite, Fred, I'm trying
C: Away. Have you decided which of the....
V: To hear. Is this you Emily?
C: Candidates you may vote for...
V: Now, who is this?
C: Rodney Wiltshire, Jim Gordon or Patrick...
V: There's no Rodney here. You got
V: Who's mad. I told you there's no Rodney here. I think
C: If I told you that Republican candidate Jim Gordon
V: Have wrong number. I told him, Fred, be quiet.
C: Leaves the room without turning out the lights would you be...
V: Gordon who?
C: More likely to vote for him, less likely or...
V: I'm sorry, my husband is shouting at...
C: No difference.
V: Me. What?
Seriously, if anyone has received these calls, let us know the basics. We know a Gordon supporter received one on Gordon and Wiltshire supporters have received calls about Wiltshire, but that is all we have heard. We are always suspicious when a candidate claims some outrageous campaign tactic on the part of an opponent. Madden's camp was outraged at the Working Families Party's primary-eve mailer. The mailer was not outside the pale, just poorly done, contradictory and predictable. Similarly, are these calls as bad as people say or just bad in the eyes of supporters?
One could speculate that this is the work of the Working Families Party. There are independent expenditures made on behalf of the Wiltshire campaign. Two entities who have made such expenditures are the Working Families Party State & Local Campaign Committee and the CWA District 1 PAC. Both these entities have utilized the services of InFocus Campaigns Inc., a Texas based company that provides traditional voter contact tools. No similar entity is providing services to Madden, Gordon or Cox.
Why would Wiltshire supporters do such a thing (and we are not saying they did)? Wiltshire has shown a propensity to play the victim. Whether a primary loss or sluggish, struggling campaign, he uses perceived offensesand righteous indignation to go on the offensive and grab some press. Not a bad strategy, but a political ploy nonetheless.
Wiltshire had this to say:
"I have received several phone calls and messages tonight from random voters and supporters of mine who are reporting the terrible and prejudicial robocall that ...the Madden campaign sent to Troy voters tonight against me.
Furthermore, he used the number of an elderly woman who lives at O'Neil apartments here in Troy as the outgoing number for the robocall.
So, I'm sure she's been getting all sorts of angry phone calls from people that she had not actually called.
I think it's very hypocritical of him and his campaign to attempt to manipulate voters, especially after his video commentary earlier this year."
Madden has denied his campaign had any involvement in the calls.
It's hard not to notice that during the course of this campaign, Wiltshire has called Madden a criminal (alleging he was in cahoots with Ernest Everett's voter fraud endeavors), responsible for voter suppression and, now, a liar. He issues such statements and never follows up with any evidence. Yet, he's the reformer who will change politics as usual (despite relying upon traditional Democratic union support and drive-by facebook press releases).
Could County Chair Wade have paid for the calls, independent of Madden? Any such expense should be reflected in the next campaign disclosures, due next week. This doesn't have the Wade smell either. He's more likely to use a hard-hitting mailer, targeted at blanks, independents and flaccid democrats. If no one claims the calls, it would be a campaign rule violation and worthy of an investigation. Such calls are not rare, they have been used by Republicans in the past and have not shown up in disclosure reports. Many of the companies that perform such services are shady, fly-by-night operations, worthy of disdain. We'll have to check the disclosures. If you know Madden, he's telling the truth. However, people will believe what they want to believe.
Please, if you can relay, or paraphrase, the call, we'd be interested. (Update: Just listened on T-Spin.)
We will comment later.
This weekend will take a look at the public hearing on the budget and offer some real solutions to the proposed 9.3% tax hike.