Saturday, June 6, 2009

Did the Jody Wagner campaign have permission to publicize endorsements?

Something always happens in the closing days of an intra-party contest and this race is no different. In an efforts to create the impression of a Democratic electorate falling in-line behind her, it appears that the Jody Wagner Campaign has publicized names as endorsers that they didn't have permission to publicize. According to a source in the Lynchburg City Democratic Committee the Chair of the Lynchburg City Democrats, John Lawrence, had said privately to the Wagner campaign that he was supporting Jody Wagner but he did not give them permission to make public that endorsement.

If this is true, as it appears to be, then this raises the question of how many of those Committee Chair Endorsements are that solid and have given permission to the Wagner Campaign to publicize their names? By listing the names of the Committee Chairs as endorsers, it helps create an impression that support of the rest of the Democratic Committees comes with it. To my knowledge, just because an individual that happens to be an Executive Committee member of a local Democratic Committee is supporting a campaign, it should not be implied that the rest of the Democratic Committee is supporting that candidate.

There is no doubt that Jody Wagner has a solid hold on the institutional support in the Democratic Party, but anytime you run for office you have to earn people's support. At times, Jody Wagner has appeared to me like she is just expecting everyone to fall in line behind her because of he time spent as a Democratic Party insider and having worked in both the Warner and Kaine Administrations. Hillary Clinton had the institutional support from across the National Democratic Party and Barack Obama snuck-up on her with a grassroots movement that party insiders couldn't touch.

If Jody Wagner wins on Tuesday, she will have my support. Not because she is supports the things that I do or shares my vision, but that having Bill Bolling as our Lt. Governor again is bad for Virginia. During the Primary, she just didn't earn my vote. Heck, she didn't even send me a piece of mail. John Bowerbank sent me two pieces of mail (one after he dropped out) and I even got Mike Signer's newspaper. Did Jody Wagner just assume that I was voting for her? I don't know and maybe this was a staff oversight, but you have to cover all your bases and earn every vote.

So, this raises another question. If the Wagner campaign has publicized the endorsements of these Democratic Party Chairs without their permission, creating the false impression that the rest of the Committees are supporting her too, then how close is Mike Signer coming to pulling off the upset? There were more than 63% undecided in the Democratic Lt. Governor contest as of the first of the week. Has the Wagner Campaign done some polling and saw that those undecideds were breaking hard for Mike Signer? Who knows, but creating false impressions of support from listing endorsements that you don't have permission to publicize might indicate that the campaign is in trouble. We shall see on Tuesday.


  1. Unless I am misreading your post, you have evidence that ONE person's name is being used without their permission. One of a leap to say that one error equals a lot of errors. Perhaps the name was released by mistake - those things do happen, you know. Have you tried contacting the campaign to see if that was the case before slamming her?

    And did you question Signer's use of those photos in his newspaper? They certainly imply endorsement, even though we know that none exist. The casual voter, though, may not be as well informed as the rest of us.

    For the record, I haven't endorsed in this race.

  2. I spoke to John Lawrence the LDC Chair myself. He IS voting for Jody but nobody asked him if they could use his name.

    Martha Hicks
    2nd Vice Chair

  3. I want to add that John Lawrence didn't seem very concerned that Wagner used his name.