Welcome to CityBeat's new election column, where our political-theater critics review campaign performances both on the stage and behind the scenes. Rather than stars or thumbs, the scale we'll use to award points to politicians is named after one of the greatest and most sinister strategic minds in election history: Karl Rove, or, as George W. Bush called him, “Turdblossom.”
Tweet shit and die
We begin in the electronic world, where the San Diego County Republican Party has nominated itself for a bouquet of blossoms for its social-media strategy.
“Supposedly the Dems were ‘on the cutting edge' in the last election, but that was really just the Obama campaign itself, which did an, admittedly, great job of utilizing those tools,” county GOP chair Tony Krvaric, who's careful not to spill his lager on his Sony laptop when he connects from the pub, says in an e-mail. “Locally, I can't even FIND an official Democratic Party Facebook group, Twitter account, or YouTube channel. Food for thought. :-)”
That's not exactly true. The San Diego County Democratic Party does have a Facebook page with 534 members and a Twitter account (@sddemocrats) with a pathetic 23 followers that hasn't been updated since New Year's Eve. In comparison, the local Republicans' Facebook page has 1,335 members and a Twitter account (@sdrepublicans) with 401 followers, though only a precious few are actually from San Diego.
Accordingly, we award 140 blossoms to the county GOP, plus a single, steaming turd to Krvaric for rejecting our friendship on Facebook.
Blowing out the candles
On March 3, we wanted to wish Francine Busby a happy 59th, but the Democratic challenger to Congressmember Brian Bilbray was going to charge us for it.
In a birthday invitation sent by e-mail, Busby's campaign laid out the cost to sign her birthday card: $50 for “Birthday Guests,” $100 to offer “Birthday Wishes” and $250 to sponsor the “Frosting on the Cake.”
Busby had hoped for 100 supporters, but only about 60 actually signed the card, a 24-by-36-inch pink
monstrosity featuring sparkles and a cupcake. Campaign spokesperson Leigh Mahon sent us a picture of the card with the names blurred out, “because we didn't get permission from everyone for their names to be used publicly.”
But doesn't federal law require candidates to disclose, publicly, who contributed more than $200 to their campaigns?
“Yes of course, all contributions will be filed promptly with the FEC, per campaign finance law, as always,” Mahon said.
For making us wait until the March 31 filing deadline, here are 59 turds plus one to grow on. Happy birthday.
We waited, but Lorie Zapf, a Republican candidate for the District 6 San Diego City Council seat Donna Frye will leave this year, didn't show up to the Mission Valley Community Council's candidate forum on Monday night. She told CityBeat she had another engagement; Kim Tran was also a no-show.
Zapf's taken a bit of heat since last week, when we exposed e-mails she sent in 2006 that said gays should be kept out of public office. A-list gay bloggers from Towleroad to Pam's House Blend picked up the story. Zapf told us she's sorry for the e-mails and never really meant what she said in the first place. (Probably the best response to that, as left-leaning Change.org put it: “Sorry, Lorie. Apology not accepted.”)
But her absence provided a chance to consider the others, without distraction:
Frye's chief of staff, Steve Hadley, earned a blossom for offering more-of-the-same in the best possible way; former Assemblymember Howard Wayne earned a blossom for enthusiastically seizing the chance to lead the Pledge of Allegiance, but businessman Ryan Huckabone earns a turd for admitting that he was too new to local politics to address the details of the audience's questions, then slamming his opponents for being short on “specifics.”