Democratic former state Senator Joe Dunn sent out a hit piece today against Democratic former Supervisor/Assemblyman/Senator Lou Correa, telling voters that not only does Correa not care if your kids drink contaminated water just like in Flint, Michigan…but he’s OK with Big Oil fracking in your backyard:
It’s interesting to compare the differences in how Democratic and Republican candidates are hit. In Orange County, GOP candidates get attacked for wanting to raise taxes to fund amnesty for illegal immigrants. On the Democratic side, it’s failing to protect “the children” from evil corporate polluters.
Is it an effective hit? A veteran campaign watcher to whom I spoke (unaffiliated with either campaign) was doubtful. “That’s a district were people care about jobs a lot more than polluters. It’s not like they’re living next to oil refineries.”
Hitting a rival in the mail right of the box is usually a sign that a candidate is behind – especially when the candidate being hit has better known to voters. The last time Dunn faced any voters in this district was 2006, while Correa has been on the ballot 15 times since 1996.
Campaigns generally prefer to let independent expenditure (IE) committees do the dirty work of hit pieces, because attack mail tends to tarnish the sender as well as the target. It’s noteworthy the Dunn campaign felt it necessary to go negative itself, and to do so early.
There’s also the question of the credible. It doesn’t matter how harsh the attack if voters don’t believe it. Independent expenditures in last year’s SD34 special election attacking John Moorlach as a liberal backfired; voters didn’t buy it and shrugged off subsequent attack mail. The most recent impression most CD46 voters have of Correa is from the heavy news coverage of him rushing into a burning apartment building on March 24 to save the lives of seven people, including four children under the age of 5. Convincing those voters that same guy doesn’t care about their kids is a pretty tough sell.
Dunn’s campaign is being run by Doug Herman. In Orange County, Herman is essentially the house campaign consultant of the county employees union (the OCEA), running OCEA-funded campaigns. In other words, his OC win record isn’t very good.
Contrast the Dunn hit piece with this upbeat IE targeting Democratic voters, paid for by the National Association of REALTORS Congressional Fund. It promotes Correa as a the candidate of increased home ownership, good union construction jobs and protecting the middle-class from higher taxes: