Jeff Barnett Introduces Himself By Asking For Money

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    Like many people who are involved in the political process, I get tons of emails everyday and many of them are simply emails sent out to their lists either asking for money or some sort of other action. A candidate  that has a good communications team in place will send out emails every now and then that simply provide updates on the campaign. Some campaigns even try to use their lists to send out information to their supporters before it makes the info available to the general public (a prime example of this is how the Obama campaign had people sign up to receive a text message announcing who his VP pick would be prior to it being announced). Although the finance shop in some campaigns would like the list to be utilized almost like an ATM and constantly send out requests for donations, I strongly believe that in the early stages of a campaign the list can be more valuable in getting information out about a candidate and including bits and pieces about how people can also get more information.

    It appears as though someone on Jeff Barnett’s campaign didn’t think of this concept as he sent out an email with the subject line “Please allow me to introduce myself.” When I saw this, I was expecting a good email that included some of his positions on the key issues facing the 10th and perhaps some information about his own background. Now he did point out that he was a 26 year veteran and that he’d lived in Northern Virginia with his wife for a number of years, but what struck me as odd was that while he didn’t lay out how his background qualified him to work on these topics while trying “to introduce” himself, he did manage to ask for money three times. That’s not sticking with the spirit of trying to use an email list to truly interact with grassroots supporters.

    Barnett Introduction

    I have enough commonsense to know that email lists are designed to spur people into action. Heck, I’ve even advised campaigns on how to use their email lists more efficiently in the heat of campaign season. The email the Barnett campaign sent out suggests that they are placing more emphasis on trying to get money out of the people on the list rather than actually giving them information and trying to engage them on the grassroots level. This doesn’t rule out the possibility that the campaign might change it’s focus later in the campaign, but it definitely isn’t a great way to make an introduction.

    As someone who has knocked on thousands of doors and made thousands of phone calls into the 10th Congressional District in support of various candidates, I know first hand that it will take a large grassroots effort to defeat Frank Wolf in November. While I’ve seen Rich Anthony spending the time reaching out to the grassroots and expressing an interest in getting more people involved in the political process, I haven’t see the same enthusiasm so far from Barnett. Although I haven’t made an endorsement in  this race, this has raised some concerns for me about Barnett’s chances of winning and the style of leadership he would show if elected to Congress. So while people might try to dismiss this as one email, I think it really represents a much bigger picture that I’m seeing from his campaign.

    • martinlomasney

      Barnett has been to several and makes a good impression.

      Don’t write Barnett off yet.  I’m not endorsing either yet.

      I just don’t want to be forced to Anthony because you think Barnett’s made a mistake.

    • Dave

      I’ve been on his list for a while now, and it’s pretty decent as they come (and I’m on every candidate list in existence). Most of his email have been position emails – not a lot of fundraising. I think he’s working his list pretty well, and I think you just happened to jump in on an awkwardly worded subject line.

      Give him a chance. Met him in person at Brigades and was pretty impressed.

    • otterit

      As someone who almost ran for Congress in 2010, I realize a person needs to separate the candidate from the fund raising efforts EVEN IF the first email I receive in my Inbox is asking for a check.

      Unfortunately, both District 10 candidates will need a TON of $$$ to compete in the election this year. Their staffs and mass marketing groups may inundate you mailbox with donation requests for the next 8 months.

      It’s not right. It’s just politics in the year 2010.

      Jeff and Rich both have opinions and are nice people to talk with.  Don’t make your decision based on literature or mailing lists. Talk to/See the person face-to-face.