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Vince Gray campaign manager Chuck Thies likes to talk about his organization’s high-tech database of likely voters, but his candidate spent Saturday afternoon on a more old-school campaign tactic. In a move reminiscent of the mayoral campaigns of Gray supporter Marion Barry, multiple convoys of Gray supporters equipped with megaphones cruised the city urging passers-by to vote for Gray.
“People still love it, man,” Gray said, waiting to launch his motorcade in Ward 7’s Skyland parking lot, where Gray recently presided over a groundbreaking for a new Wal-Mart-anchored shopping center.
While the motorcade campaigning tradition persists into the 21st century, some things have changed—-the megaphones on Gray’s car ran off a staffer’s iPhone, which played Gray’s radio ads, soul classics, and Pharrell‘s “Happy”. (Someone tell Vincent Orange!).
Gray’s campaign also operated the funk-blasting caravans last week.
“We were doing jump-outs like we were the feds, but we had literature instead of weapons,” Gray campaign political director Steve Glaude says.
One supporter in the car with the mayor carried a stack of handcards that declared that Gray, among other things, “never stole anything in his life” and “truly cares and thinks you are a beautiful person.” On the opposite side of the cards is a picture of Gray and Barry with the tagline “It is us against the world.”
Rather than being paid for by the campaign, though, the cards were paid for by Peter Brooks, described on the cards as a “DC resident and private citizen.” Brooks is also a paid Gray campaign worker, having received $24,688 in salary or stipends from the campaign since January, plus another $1,829.08 to cover supplies, refreshments, travel, and a phone bill, according to Office of Campaign Finance records.
A second handcard, with a picture of Gray behind the word “Experience.”, didn’t have any language about who paid for it. LL’s waiting to hear from OCF about the logistics of a paid campaign staffer paying for independent pro-Gray materials.
“Peter is a well-intentioned person,” Thies writes in an email to LL. “He is not a veteran campaign pro. The cards clearly indicate that he did them independent of the campaign. I hope that no one seeks to make a mountain out of this molehill. Peter is too kind to be dragged across coals.”
Photo by Will Sommer