September 29, 2012

Playing the Rancher Card in a Legislative Race

Down at our one-clerk post office, I was talking with A. behind the counter about how it seemed that we were getting more election-related mailing pieces this year than ever before.

She was angry at a 9:30 p.m. telephone polling call ("When my kids are asleep!"). Me, I like the survey calls that you respond to by pressing numbers on the pad. To paraphrase the famous New Yorker cartoon, in the voter survey, no one knows that you're a dog.

Here in my state senate district, the two candidates are attempting to out-rancher and out-family roots each other.

But have I been missing something? Is it the new fashion to not mention party affiliation?

Exhibit A: Crestina Martinez is a young (for a politician) rising political figure from Costilla County. She knows retail politics — she called me twice (herself, not a robo call) during the primary season, and I could not even vote for her.

Her campaign slogan is "As Independent as Southern Colorado."

Independent? I spotted the "union bug" on her mailing piece. Only Democrats make a fetish of hunting up a unionized printing shop — there are a few* —to print their campaign brochures.

Exhibit B: Unlike Martinez, who can talk about working as a kid on the family ranch near San Luis, the other candidate, Larry Crowder ("Farmer. Rancher. Veteran.") grew up outside the district, though he pointedly mentions that he is a "fifth-generation Coloradan." His mailing piece does say "Republican" in one spot.

And there is more about "rural values" and "protect our rural economy."

A recent High Country News piece explored how candidate wearing the "rancher" or "farmer" label — this time in Montana — actually might be more or other than those labels suggest.

Today's mailer  is a hit piece (from a PAC that specializes in them) on Martinez, accusing her of having a "political agenda that is from New York City — not southern Colorado."

Yep, vote for Martinez and soon you won't be able to buy 40-oz. soft drinks at the Loaf 'n' Jug in Alamosa. You see, Mayor Bloomberg has made the "maximum legal donation" to her campaign.

I wonder if this campaign shows that Mitt Romney's coattails are not very long, while Barack Obama's are nonexistent. 

* How you find them, I don't know. The website of the Communication Workers of America, which absorbed the old ITU, is not very helpful. The Pueblo local's website domain name has expired — way to go, communications workers.

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