Steve Lunetta | Campaign Awards, Part 1


We here at the Vast Right Wing ConspiracyTM (VRWC) closely watch all elections but especially campaign literature. Why? Because we are very nerdy and ran out of episodes of the “Great British Baking Show” to watch. 

Hang with me here. In case you are unaware, if you don’t vote you generally don’t get tons of campaign literature, cards and hit pieces. And the reason is very simple: High-propensity voters are the ones who decide elections.  

It’s tough to say, but if you don’t vote, you don’t matter. At least to campaigns.  

The fun part of this is that the VRWC gets literature from both sides! We see both Republican and Democratic communications. This puts us in the unique position of being able to review and rate the different campaigns on truthfulness, objectiveness and dirtiness. The “holy trinity” of campaign literature, as it were. 

Why do we do this? We hate dirty campaigning. When a campaign “goes negative,” it’s usually because they are losing and getting desperate. The campaign is devoid of good ideas, the candidate sucks, and the ship is going down. And one additional thing: It works. 

Since we Americans listen to negative campaigning and are influenced by it, campaigns continue to do it. So, the VRWC has appointed itself the Grand Arbiter of campaign ethics and morals in an attempt to push back on this trend. So there. 

We will also give extremely valuable awards based on our observations. 

But first, some statistics. 

We received 85 (85!) pieces of literature over a 30- to 40-day period. Of course, the big mailbox polluters were the congressional race between former Assemblywoman Christy Smith and Rep. Mike Garcia (36 pieces) and the state Assembly race between Suzette Martinez Valladares and Pilar Schiavo (26 pieces).  

I use a factor of x1.5 in assessing the significance of the congressional seat versus the Assembly seat, so, normalized for importance, the Valladares/Schiavo race was really 39, outstripping Smith/Garcia’s 36. But more on this later. 

We can gain some interesting insight from the remaining 23 pieces. Santa Clarita Councilwoman Marsha Mclean sent us four mailers and not a single cruel, mean, or hateful statement was observed. For this, Marsha receives the 2022 (M)Clean Award.  

Bill Cooper, at three mailers, also was clean but earned the 2022 Zzzzzz Award because, face it, he’s boring as sin but extremely competent and he does his job really well. 

School board candidate Teresa Todd only sent one mailer, also clean, but will take home the 2022 Classy Award because she is and really deserves to be an elected official in this valley (you will always have my vote, Teresa). 

Non-affiliated “influencers” are the people who hold candidates hostage unless they are paid to endorse the candidate. They sent out three mailers. A small amount goes into producing and sending the mailer while the rest goes into a back pocket somewhere. If you ever get these mailers, throw them out immediately. Candidates: Stop paying them! It’s extortion. They win the 2022 Pay Me Or Else Award. 

Three mailers were for proposition-specific issues, all online sports betting, which all thankfully lost. But, they’ll be back with another cynical twist like “saving babies” or humpback whales. 

City Council candidate Denise Lite sent one solo mailer and she wins the 2022 Lame Advertising Award because it was. Please, Denise, hire a graphic artist next time. Because. Dang. 

Mayor Laurene Weste sent out one mailer (thank you, Laurene) and wins the 2022 Awesome Neighbor Award because she recently helped us with a problem and we greatly appreciate it! 

Weste, Councilman Bill Miranda and Lite win the 2022 Frugal Award by sending out a combo card that promoted their ticket. With Lite’s defeat and Marsha’s re-election, we can only say “uh-oh.” Awkward… 

But, these three may have started something. What if campaigns worked with their opponents to send out a single card with their pitches on each side? That could work! I hereby copyright the idea and want a quarter for every card you send out. 

The darkest criticism we have, however, is for my own California Republican Party. They sent out a mailer that put clown makeup on President Joe Biden. On the reverse side, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the president were shown with clown noses. The California GOP wins the 2022 Most Despicable Award. 

I have one thing to say: Respect the office. I don’t like President Biden’s policies and will work to get a Republican elected in 2024, but this was way over the line. Be ashamed, my conservative brothers and sisters. Whoever is responsible for this needs to be fired. Immediately. 

But, Steve, what about the big races (Congress and Assembly)? Who is the 2022 Dirty Campaigner of the Year? Coming next week in Part 2: Dirty Ch__sty S__ith tries to retain her title as dirtiest SCV campaigner! 

Steve Lunetta is a resident of Placerita Canyon and the Grand Inquisitor of the Vast Right Wing ConspiracyTM. He can be reached at [email protected].

A screenshot of a mailer from the California Republican Party.
A screenshot of a mailer from the California Republican Party.

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