This is the time of the year when candidates announce for various political offices. Talk Business does a fine job of covering major candidate announcements, but I usually don’t comment on them since announcements are typically perfunctory affairs with no real news.
However, the announcement for Lt. Governor by State Rep Andy Mayberry was so horrible I feel compelled to write a brief note of it.
The strategy of a formal announcement is very straightforward. Pick a time and a place that maximizes the possibility of getting both free press and your supporters to show up. Also, have a central message outlining in broad strokes why you are running.
Furthermore, you learn in any basic campaign or journalism course the absolute worst time to get positive free press is Friday afternoon because the press is already busy and any positive news you may garner ends up in the Saturday paper, the least read newspaper of the week.
Andy Mayberry held his formal announcement for Lt. Governor last Friday at 5:30 pm in the Old Supreme Court Room – the worst time ever to make a major announcement. In all my years following Arkansas politics, this is probably the worst-timed announcement I’ve ever observed.
But it gets worse.
At his press conference Mayberry announced his wife, Julie, would run for his open State House seat. That fact was prominently featured in the first two paragraphs of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette story on his announcement, thus muddying up his own campaign message.
In short, Mayberry scheduled a poorly attended and ridiculously timed press conference and then stepped on his own story by announcing his wife’s candidacy at the same time.
This is not the first time Mayberry has shown blatant campaign incompetence.
In 2006, Mayberry challenged then-Congressman Vic Snyder and decided to bring in Larry Gatlin, of Gatlin Brothers fame, for a major fundraiser at Robinson Center Music Hall.
The hall seats 2,500 people, but according to press reports at the time, Mayberry only sold 244 tickets and had to give tickets away to create a crowd. Mayberry’s fundraiser turned into a fundloser with Mayberry’s campaign losing thousands of dollars and ending up with egg on the face.
Finally, Mayberry is facing off against State Rep. Charlie Collins in the Republican primary, which means for the next nine months both candidates will debate guns and abortion, and then, maybe, abortion and guns.
Meanwhile, John Burkhalter, the likely Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor will spend the next nine months talking about job creation and economic development.
Based on what I’ve seen so far, Andy Mayberry has a long way to go before he gets the Republican nomination, let alone from becoming our next Lt. Governor.
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