Sharon Bulova resorting to Craigslist to find campaign staff

By VA Blogger

Alright, it’s a county-wide election. You’re just coming off of a statewide Presidential and Senate race, as well as three active local House races. Each of those five campaigns had to have had numerous staffers. And there’s no other elections going on in the area. Paid campaign staff for Sharon Bulova should be easy to find, right?

I guess not:

Maybe all the local Democrats committed to celebrate Obama’s victory between now and Inauguration Day. Maybe Connolly’s staffers got jobs in his office and all of Byrne’s workers are still holding a grudge (right, Ben?). And maybe the DPV is sending everyone down to Hampton Roads for the special election in the 81st House District.

Or maybe—just maybe—when people stop and think about it, nobody actually wants to see Sharon Bulova as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. It makes you wonder, doesn’t it?


  • Disappointed says:

    Sharon Bulova + Disappointed = 1 Hot Casual Encounter

  • TTNY says:

    Non-story of the week….campaign uses internet to hire canvassing staff.

    As far as I know, this is rarely a position that requires much experience – it’s entry-level stuff to those looking to get involved in campaigning. I’m sure most of those experienced staffers you speak of are either relaxing after so many winning cycles or aren’t looking for $10 an hour even in this bleak economy.

    I’m sure Supervisor Herrity will be looking for similar help. That is provided he actually contests this race with a ground game. Just five weeks out, let the fireworks begin.

  • anonymous says:

    VAB finds a meaningless record on the internet and posts it like a smoking gun. Now who does _that_ remind you of? (Thanks for the help, though; I’ll contact the Bulova campaign today!)

  • Va Blogger says:


    If you’re hiring someone to organize a competent ground game, you want someone with experience and demonstrable skill. Local elections typically hire a mixture of entry-level applicants and experienced hands because there’s a lot of competition with other campaigns… but other than the special election in Alexandria, there is nothing else going on in Fairfax County.

    LI, that’s actually a great comparison. The only difference I see is that Bulova doesn’t have a dedicated core of online support like Feder did. In fact, I can barely find any mention of Bulova’s candidacy on the liberal blogosphere.

  • Not John S. Mosby says:

    Sounds like free campaign advertising, targeted towards the younger crowd that spends a lot of time on Craigslist.

    You guys are really, really clutching at straws these days. Yeah, the last four years of elections didn’t really happen, and everyone in Fairfax is secretly still Republican and just waiting in anticipation for angry, crazy old Jack Harrity’s little boy to run the county.

  • Alter of Freedom says:

    Obama activists were all over Craigslist during the Primary and General elections recruiting ground game folks, door knockers, and phone bankers. Try and keep up please!!!

  • Va Blogger says:


    I’d like you to point to anything on this blog that suggests we believe the last four years didn’t happen and that everyone is secretly still a Republican. If you can’t, please shut up.


    It’s one thing to use Craigslist, Facebook, Myspace, and as many outlets as possible to find volunteers and people willing to put in their free time to campaign. It’s a completely different thing to have no luck finding full-time campaign staff and need to use Craigslist, rather than already have people in place who know what they’re doing.

  • Not John S. Mosby says:

    VA Blogger,

    The entire FCDC is behind Sharon, and she’s pretty well staffed up. She’s doing a mini-version of the Obama campaign where she wants to expand the scope and have volunteers in each mag district – I think one per precinct is the goal, at least 20 per mag – that will work as local grassroots. Very similar to the Neighbor Leader concept. This is outside of the standard campaign and party structure. As far as Craigslist and other internet site ads, I think they’re great. The cost zero, take 20 seconds to post, and anything that comes from it is pure gravy – and free.

    Thinking like that – “haha, she’s in such bad shape she’s advertising on the internet for help” – well, keep believing that’s what’s being done. That type of thinking has been helping Democrats win election after election the last 3+ years.

    My question is, where are Jack Herrity’s ads? Where are the grassroots? The same Republicans that haven’t showed up to work the polls in 3 years, the same ones who haven’t done any door knocking or phone banking or any other visible campaign work in 3+ years?

    Here’s a hint – before you start winning elections again, you may want to start with actually finding and motivating some party members and volunteers to get off their asses and do something.

    I’m enjoying watching the Republican party split in two as the right-wingers think you just need to get more conservative to start winning again. Kind of like the old “the beatings will continue until moral improves”. The moderates on your side are a dying breed, just as the last of the actual liberal Republicans bailed years ago.

    My proof that a lot of Republicans haven’t figured out what the last four years has meant is that you’re still being led by Jeff Frederick, that there’s a huge amount of support for certified loons like Sideshow Bob Marshall and extreme right-wingers like Cuccinelli and McDonnell. As far as telling me to shut up, thanks but I’ll pass, but I encourage guys like you to keep talking as much as you can. Every time a Republican activist says something in public, two more people move over to the Democratic side of the ledger.

  • Va Blogger says:

    Not John:

    Since you’re so adamant, I’ll admit that I may be wrong about Sharon’s staffing. But I have no evidence to support it.

    There are two possible scenarios that make sense:

    1) Sharon is having trouble finding dedicated field staff, and is resorting to Craiglist (among other networks, I’m sure) to find people. I’ve also heard reports she’s trying to recruit people at job fairs, but I don’t have direct evidence of that.

    2) Sharon has had no trouble finding staff members, like you’re claiming, and is looking for people to do voter contact, like canvassing and phone-banking. These are prime volunteer responsibilities, but apparently Sharon’s full staff is having trouble finding volunteers and so they have to pay people.

    Contrary to your assertion, the job posting isn’t “free”–they’re looking to pay people $10/hr, which means it’s not a volunteer outreach mechanism.

    I see no reason why Pat Herrity should have any mailers out before the New Year. In a special election, recency is key. It’s probably the same reason why you haven’t seen any Sharon Bulova ads yet, either, despite the fact that you neglected to mention it.

    According to Pat’s latest email, he has 12 walks planned this weekend, and plenty of volunteers showed up the weekend before Christmas, despite the miserable conditions. Maybe Sharon has had more success; I don’t know. I’m sure you’ll tell me anything you have to in order to not back down. But if you’re free, why don’t you stop by one of the walks and ask them how they got motivated to get off their ass and do something?

    In the meantime, please tell me more about how being over-confident has ruined the Republican Party as you gloat about how Democrats will never lose another election in Northern Virginia. The irony isn’t thick enough for me.

  • Not John S. Mosby says:

    Did I say Democrats will never lose another election? We certainly will, but I seriously doubt it will be this one. I’ve received two campaign mailers from Bulova, as they went out to a large percentage of identified Democrats in Fairfax. Thanks to the recent Presidential campaign, the Democratic database is pretty complete, which makes it easy to target mailers, phone calls, etc.

    My question is, where is your information coming from that Sharon is having problems finding a staff, which is extremely inaccurate? And also, the “free” part about Craigslist is that you don’t pay to place ads there. If she’s looking to hire paid canvassers to do door hanging – which for January isn’t a bad idea – I don’t see what the problem is.

    I stand by my grasping at straws statement. One assumption leads to another and the result is your original post that implies that Bulova is doing so bad, she needs to pay people to do jobs that would usually be done by volunteers. If I’m wrong, then either I misread your post, or you poorly wrote your idea.

    Harrity’s short reputation in Fairfax is that he’s a borderline obstructionist who, if he doesn’t get his way, likes to pick up his bat and ball and go home. Which clearly doesn’t help anyone in Springfield District, and certainly not the rest of the county. He’s running on name alone, and most people in Fairfax these days weren’t even here when his dad was a supervisor.

    So, in a county that has been trending at or above 60% Democratic over the past 4 election cycles, where the volunteer rolls are huge for Democrats and we’ve pretty much identified every household in the county as being Dem, Rep or Indy, and facing a Republican Party that hasn’t worked the streets in years and only sporadically works the polls the last four elections, I’m still wondering how you or anyone thinks that Jack Harrity’s kid is going to win.

  • Anonymous says:

    Not John Mosby – you are an idiot. Have a Happy New Year, idiot!!!

  • Not John S. Mosby says:

    Yep, I and other Democrats have been idiots for years now, helping to keep the Governor’s spot Democratic, turning two Republican Senate seats to Democratic, helping the Congressional delegation go from 8-3 Republican to 6-5 Democratic, winning back the state Senate, going from what, 34 Delegate seats to 45/46, and of course winning 13 Electoral votes for a Democratic presidential candidate. Increasing the Democratic majority on the Fairfax Board of Sups, winning back the Loudoun Board of Sups. We’re just a giant gang of idiots I guess.

  • VA Blogger says:

    You didn’t say that Democrats would never lose again, but I didn’t say have the things you somehow attributed to me so I thought you’d be okay with it.

    Interestingly, despite the advantages Bulova has, I would venture to guess that she has a lower name ID than Pat Herrity does. Sending mailers out before Christmas in my opinion is a waste of money, but it may have been the only choice she had. Nonetheless, if you think Herrity isn’t going to send out anything, I’m not really sure what to tell you.

    The problem with paying people to do canvassing is that’s what you’re supposed to have volunteers for. If you’re right, and Sharon has a full staff, say six or more full-time people in the field, they should be spending their entire day recruiting people to volunteer to canvass. Either those people aren’t good at their jobs, and they have to pay people to volunteer for Sharon, or those people haven’t been hired yet. You tell me which one is true.

    As much as a reputation Fairfax County has for being a transient population, most of the people in the County have been here a long time. We’re always gaining population, but that doesn’t mean people are leaving. And most of the people who are newly arrivals can’t be counted on to vote in a special election. If you’re basing your optimism on the fact that people may not know who Jack Herrity is, I think you need to reconsider some things.

    Finally, how exactly can Pat Herrity be an obstructionist? What has he obstructed? If Herrity and Frey vote against the majority of the Board, it still passes 8-2. That’s not “obstructing” anything; that’s being an opposition party. Apparently, you’d prefer for whoever is out of power to give blind approval to the rest. I happen to think offering a real alternative is in the best interest for everyone in the County, even if you disagree with Herrity and Frey.

    Furthermore, they’re not “obstructing” and taking their ball and going home, as you cluelessly claimed. Take last year’s budget. They voted against it, and offered a fully-staffed alternative that didn’t raise taxes. How can anybody in their right mind think that presenting different options is a bad idea?

    If you think Pat is running on name ID alone, then clearly you’ve only spent…. say, 20 seconds looking at what Herrity has to offer. He’s an award-winning CFO, and our County faces a $650 MILLION shortfall due to the “leadership” of Sharon Bulova. Herrity’s candidacy sells itself, at least to people who are willing to take their fingers out of their ears and consider the fact that sometimes change is necessary.

  • Unfortunately, NJSM makes obvious points there. Until the GOP breaks the stranglehold of their own idiots in charge it will continue to lose.

  • VAB, I agree with you as well, but Herrity needs to overwhelm Bulova with his message, and he needs to have started yesterday. Although I am in Loudoun County, I simply have not seen the level of message bombardment from Herrity that he needs to win in a strong Democratic county. Its similar to what I saw from the Fimian campaign, although I believe Pat is a better candidate for Fairfax than Fimian was. He needs to step it up – immediately.

  • Va Blogger says:

    There’s a few differences here, though.

    First of all, while Pat still needs to introduce himself, he starts off with a better position than Keith did, since Pat is 1) already an elected official, and 2) is the son of Jack Herrity.

    Second, and more importantly, a special election is more about turning out your folks than about persuasion. Keith’s biggest problem was that he *knew* most people would turn out to vote (especially with Obama at the top of the ticket) and one can generally assume in FFX that the default vote is a Democratic one.

    In a special election, some people will vote on their own, yes, but most people who vote will have to have been contacted by one of the campaigns to turn out. Thus, the most important time of the campaign is the last ten to fourteen days. This is especially true with the level of burnout from the previous elections and the Holiday season and bad economy competing for people’s attention.

    Now that there’s a month left and the Holidays are over, expect to see more. I understand your complaints, but I believe the strategy of waiting is much better suited for Herrity than it was for Fimian.

    Believe me, by the time this is over, everybody will know that the County faces a $650 million shortfall and that taxes on homeowners have doubled in the last seven years.

  • The Craigslist ad is really a non issue. Sharon, as a matter of act, has an excellent and experienced campaign staff, including a deputy campaign manager who was one of the people responsible for running Dick Saslaw’s campaigns. So experience and competence are there.

    Sharon also enjoys the support of the FCDC, as already noted. What her campaign was looking for is low level, entry level staff as added insurance that there would be enough people in the field. Lots of campaigns do that.

    Both sides are skittish about the short time frame needed to mount a campaign. And despite Sharon’s long service on the Board of Supervisors, this is the first hotly contested campaign she has had to face. That’s mostly because she is viewed as a centrist, pro-business moderate who is in tune with her district. The advantage to that is that nobody wanted to challenge her for her seat before. The disadvantage is that she has been able to be a low key supervisor who has concentrated on doing her job well rather than politicking. That could, indeed equal low name recognition. She’s a journeyman, not a flash in the pan.

    Given the short turn around time; the fact that both sides are pretty exhausted after the 2008 election season, which was very intense; and the fact that in a special election the ground game is the key to winning, it’s no wonder that the Bulova campaign is taking no chances. But it certainly is not a sign of weakness. Just the opposite, it’s good strategy to have that back up. Always have a Plan B.

  • Carol Lane says:

    Well said, I love your post and you are so right when you ask “where are Jack Herrity’s ads? Where are the grassroots? The same Republicans that haven’t showed up to work the polls in 3 years, the same ones who haven’t done any door knocking or phone banking or any other visible campaign work in 3+ years?
    I worked in my home state of MI, for the Michigan Coalition for Progress and I’m proud to say “Our efforts assisted in sending 8 more progressive leaders to Lansing, including one incumbent: Well we didn’t do it by sitting on our butts.

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