As is tradition, I run a post-election piece that outlines the winners and losers of the cycle because its more than just the candidates that lost, its their consultants and often prominent supporters.
Sprinkles are for winners as the GEICO commercial says, so lets get straight to the sprinkles shall we?
I have written pretty extensively about how difficult it is for an incumbent to survive a run-off election. So much so that I can only find one instance of it happening in El Paso going all the way back to the 60's. Turns out, some really dirty pool had to be played to make that happen by the way.
But District Attorney Jaime Esparza survived the run-off and the DA's team gets sprinkles. There's no way the DA would've won without a brilliant campaign strategy of field ops. God knows it wasn't his mail, Jesus it was bad. But he made up for terrible mail by a great field program that allowed him to narrowly stave off a challenge from Yvonne Rosales.
Run-offs are hard for incumbents to win because anti-incumbent voters are more likely to go back to the polls because they see a chance at getting rid of the incumbent they don't like. People that are supporters are generally harder to get to go back to the polls because they have less of a sense of urgency to go and vote to keep someone in.
Trust me, the electorate is usually more excited about voting someone out, than voting someone in. Need an example, this year's presidential election. Republicans are going to make sure Hillary doesn't win if she ends up with the nomination. Sane, rational people will show up to make sure Trump doesn't win.
By the way, she gets an honorable mention here as a candidate. She did what all the crazy candidates couldn't do to Esparza, pull him into a run-off and damn near win. Rosales had almost every advantage going into the run-off and if she would've had a better field team, or if people would've believed in her sooner and contributed more, she couldn't pulled it off.
Next person in line for sprinkles, Mike Apodaca. I've been downplaying my buddy Mike's chances of getting Ruben Gonzalez elected to a full term as the Tax Assessor Collector for a myriad of reason. All of which I was right about by the way (two candidates with the same last name, no one cares about the office, etc), but Apodaca was the X factor.
He came up with a brilliant ground strategy that he executed flawlessly. The result was they went into the run-off with more votes and finished the job accordingly.
And the final sprinkles go to whoever made the Palafox victory happen. Since I got way more mail and door knocks from Ramirez, I'm gonna assume that it was in large part due to people just not liking Ramirez very much. Because all in all, I though Ramirez was going to win it based on voter contact I saw.
So if you have sprinkles, you have to have something to give the people that didn't do well right?
I thought long and hard about what to call it and then my mind wondered to the two biggest ass-hats I could think of in the blogosphere, who's very names evoked thoughts of deception and ineptitude.
Obviously I thought of the blogosphere's answer to Bert and Ernie - Martin Paredes and Ali Razavi. So I decided to call the award a blend of their names. No, not the pretend name Ali likes to use, his real one.
So the award for campaign fucks ups shall henceforth be called.... MALI's.
The first MALI goes to Ernesto Bustillos and Josh Dagda. I know I sound like a broken record because they didn't do well with CDA's election, but they also screwed up Siria Rocha's campaign. Frankly even more so than how they underperformed for CDA.
Rocha's mail piece attacking Gonzalez was awful. The "capirotada" piece was trying to do too much and ultimately did nothing. And trust me, there was defiantly a negative message that absolutely couldn't been leveraged against Gonzalez effectively, just not by them. And their constant effort to focus on websites and social media for local elections is just laughable at this point. When was the last time anyone even went to get information about a candidate from a campaign website? No one in El Paso has ever face booked their way to victory.
Ultimately Rocha essentially let them go and told them she didn't need their services anymore, but she waited until it was too late for that decision to have a positive impact on her race.
But there are two things I need to cover before I wrap up this particular MALI.
Bustillos and Dagda should've protected the candidate from herself on another attack piece. The fact that they didn't, shows that they knew it was a mistake and let it happen anyway, or they were completely ignorant to the mistake the piece was. Let me back up and show you want I mean.
This is an example of a poorly executed negative piece. The comparison part is good tactic, so it starts off okay, but as the piece goes on, it just gets worse and worse. Not sure why they called him "Ruben G" but it makes him sound far cooler than he really is. It makes him sound like a back-up rapper, a morning drive-time deejay on a hip-hop station, or one of the voices in Ali's head.
The military section is the big problem and that is where the consultants should've protected the candidate from herself. First, it annoyed me how much both of the candidates kept mentioning their military services. I get it, its the fashionable thing to do so these days. I'm a vet to, but I don't mention it every third word when I'm apply for a job. And neither one of them had an MOS that remotely relevant to the job.
Although Rocha more so than Gonzalez. But that was what has gotten under the skin of a lot of veterans. Under her side of the panel for military she listed three different bullet points - Veteran US Army, Air Defense Artillery, and serving on the EP Veteran's Affairs Advisory Committee.
Under Gonzalez they just list "served".
That is probably the most dishonest characterization of military service I've ever seen in a local campaign. Actually, there is no probably to it. It IS the most dishonest characterization of military service I've seen in a local campaign. And its shameful that it happened in a military community like El Paso.
BT Dubs, serving on an advisory committee is not military experience.
Here's the truth - Gonzalez is a Vietnam Veteran. He was on a helicopter ground crew. That is a big deal and he was in Viet-fucking-nam! This chart makes it sound like some guy who maybe did a two-year hitch as some bullshit clerk for college money and got out. Which isn't the case at all.
Rocha's side says "Air Defense Artillery" - giving the impression that she was an ADA soldier and served in a combat role. It evokes images of being in the deserts of Kuwait or Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm on a SCUD-Buster Crew in full MOPP gear in the sweltering heat keeping soldiers and civilians safe.
Well she wasn't and didn't.
She was a 71L.
Let that sink in for a minute.
For those of you who aren't familiar, a 71L is literally...a fucking secretary! That is what her MOS (military occupational speciality) was while she was in the military.
She was a secretary in a UNIT that was Air Defense Artillery, but SHE was not ADA. Talk about misleading the public! She wasn't shooting down SCUDS, she was filling out leave forms and 4187's, filing paperwork, and taking memo's.
Not that her service was important or honorable.
Again, I think both of their military service is irrelevant to the position, but to imply you were something you weren't, and that your opponent basically did nothing when in reality he was in Viet-fucking-nam is really bad.
Bad, bad, bad, bad.
And the consultants should've stopped her from sending that out because it had a real chance of blowing up in her face. Especially in this town.
The final MALI goes to another person on the Rocha campaign - Ruby Ramirez.
So let me clarify a mistake that was made, a really bad and expensive mistake, that I said was Bustillo's fault. It wasn't his fault entirely.
The capirotada mail piece that went out went out to the wrong people, you member, member?
Well apparently it was a spreadsheet error done by Ramirez that was the source of the problem. I've tried to replicate the issue and I can't figure out how it got screwed up but a source in Rocha's campaign indicated that it was Ramirez that made that costly error.
Ramirez was also handling field work for Yvonne Rosales campaign. Which explains why door lit was bundled for the two candidates.
There you have it people, the sprinkles and the MALI's. Until next campaign season...