In about a week, we as Americans will be going to the polls once again to elect our representatives in government. This year, it’s the whole House of Representatives, one-third of the US Senate, a bunch of state governors, and various and sundry local officials, depending on where you are.
In my corner of the world, Virginia’s 4th Congressional district; it’s especially quiet. Just two races to speak of, and both relatively settled. In the Senate, We’ve got Mark Warner cruising easily toward re-election by a double-digit margin, not surprising for a popular former governor who’s made a good showing in the upper house the last few years, and the guy who started the whole ball rolling toward all of Virginia’s statewide offices being held by Democrats, despite the Commonwealth’s conservative reputation.
In the House, the 7th district next door is the much sexier race, after the upset of Eric Cantor during the primaries. In the fourth, we’ve got the latest Democratic
sacrifice updstart, Elliott Fausz running against inertial incumbent J. Randy Forbes. It’s pretty much the same story here every two years – Forbes, endlessly ineffectual, but entrenched in his gerrymandered conservative district, largely ignores his opponent (and campaigning altogether, really), and slides into another term, during which he’ll continue to do very little. This year, at least locally feels a little different, with Fausz signs all over the neighborhood (Fausz is local, the son of the publishers of my suburban village’s free weekly). Fausz’s positions look pretty good to me, and will at least be palatable to most of my conservative neighbors. I plan on voting for him, and threw a few bucks into his campaign fund, though I’m pretty sure that while he may top Forbes in the local precincts (itself a huge accomplishment), I have a hard time believing Fausz will end up pulling this one out, as much as I’d like him to.
That’s the local round-up. Now I’m going going start complaining about non-local races. Prepare for bitching to follow:
Because I make a habit of throwing $25 bucks here or there toward candidates I favor, and have volunteered here and there over the years, my name’s gotten on lists. And, honestly, it doesn’t really bother me; if a campaign I’ve supported can make a few bucks selling its mailing list to a like-minded organization, I’m okay with that; those few bucks might make the difference between a win or a loss, close out some campaign debt, or buy a round of donuts and coffee for some phone volunteers. All necessary expenses. Works for me.
Sometimes, though, I find myself regretting I ever got into that world. I don’t know who got my name on the mailing list for John Foust, the Democrat running in Northern Virginia’s 10th district for the open seat there after Congressman Frank Wolf’s retirement. Could’ve been anyone. I have some contacts up there going back to the Dean Presidential campaign in 2004, some of whom are actual elected officials now. Or the DNC/DNCC/DNSC/DPVA or some other organization got it to them. Whatever; it’s normally not a big deal. Normally.
I don’t know much about John Foust; he’s not my representative, nor will he be if he wins. Unless it’s a seriously newsworthy race, I’m normally not that checked in. I looked at his campaign site; he seems to have his priorities aligned more-or-less with mine. If I lived in the 10th, I’d not be opposed to voting for him as a candidate.
What I do know of John Foust is that his campaign sends me so many emails every day asking for money in increasingly frenzied and vexatious ways, I’m glad I’m not an active participant in the race, because my personal feelings about the way his folks do email marketing would seriously stretch my ability to swallow my annoyance and vote in line with my ideology.
Because dammit, it’s annoying. I get emails from the campaign. from the candidate’s wife. from “John’s iphone”. All of them talking not about his opponent Barbara Comstock, but the evil spectre of John Boehner and how he’ll bring down civilization as we know it (which is not actually an exaggeration) if I don’t contribute $5/$10/$25 TODAY! These days, most of them don’t even mention issues or the campaign; they’re increasingly desperate pleas to please answer their call, becaue they haven’t been able to get me to respond, won’t I please respond?!?! When it doesn’t sound like a desperate collections agency, it’s what I imagine emails from a clingy ex-girlfriend would be like right before I file the restraining order.
Look, I understand the way money works in politics, and I expect Northern Virginia is a more expensive than average market. I understand the race is tight. I’m spared a lot of it, not having cable in the house, and not paying that much attention to network television, which, at this point in the cycle, is all ads, all the time, all of them with that doom and gloom narration and clank! sound effect. I understand, though, that political ads are necessary because they reach people. Even if people don’t like them, statistics show they work. Maybe things are worse this year; I don’t know. I do know that Foust’s fundraising stuff is so craven that he’s called “particuarly insistent” in an NPR piece from July on deperate fundraising before filing deadlines, and he’s only gotten more exasperated since then.
My spam folder can’t even contain it anymore. I’m dumping that thing four or five times a day. It stopped being mildly entertaining a while ago. I wish Supervisor Foust the best of luck in his tough congressional race, but I am so, so, very tired of the constant barrage shrill over-the-top emails.
So, you think you could maybe lay off a little bit?