Ewert’s pre-convention delegate mailings.

Lisa, an Al Weed supporter from Cumberland County, writes that she’s unhappy with Bern Ewert’s efforts to persuade Weed’s delegates to switch their support to him, in hopes that he can win in the upcoming convention. I’ve been hearing quite a bit about this in the past couple of days, particularly since Ewert’s third letter to Weed’s delegates went out. The tone of the letters are increasingly aggressive, with the latest asking if Al Weed has employed illegal immigrants on his farm.

Is it unethical for Ewert to try to convince delegates to switch their support? Or is it reasonable for him to try, but unethical for those delegates to switch? Or this just all part of the two-step process?

You can see one of the letters on Lisa’s blog, and I’ve made available the latest letter as a PDF.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

23 replies on “Ewert’s pre-convention delegate mailings.”

  1. Bern Ewert may think Virgil Goode can be defeated, but I don’t think Bern Ewert is the fella that will be able to defeat him.

    As to the other question: Is it unethical for Ewert to try to convince delegates to switch their support?

    You know… A person doing that type of thing just doesn’t strike me as the sort of person who would benefit the “party” in the long run. If your candidate won’t play ball and lose gracefully and then, after resorting to shady methods, he succeeds. Can we really still trust him?

    My vote.. kick him to the curb.

  2. Actually, Waldo, I’m an uncommitted delegate to next week’s convention. However, I do think that Al Weed is by far the stronger candidate when it comes to honesty alone. : ) Bern was vocal about Al’s earlier flyer. Well, give me a break. You can’t whine one minute and then send your own questionable flyer without seeming somewhat weak and ineffectual in response.

    In addition, Al is also the only one of the two candidates who actually states his stand on issues and supports his stance in forums. Bern may have ideas, but they are not original and seem disjointed and incomplete. The only things he mentions in public are economic development, his 20-30 year old record (only the parts he likes, of course) and Dickie Cranwell’s (undocumented) support of his candidacy.

    I’ve researched both candidates heavily and everything I’ve found points to problems and mistruths with what Bern says in public. Bern has yet to provide answers to questions I asked him back in February. He continues to talk about his record regarding civil rights and jobs—but refuses to provide any documentation that can be validated. He deliberately misleads by providing information on one area when we are talking about another. I’ve posted on all that before.

    By the way, have you checked out Bern’s April 15 FEC filings? I’ll be posting about these this week. Very interesting reading–especially when you crosscheck the locations of some of the donors with other places he has worked. One guy from CT appears to be the same person he hired in Peoria to check over a proposed site already approved by people in IL. If I remember correctly, the city had to pay the guy about $15,000 for the job. Bern had worked in CT after leaving Charlottesville. Isn’t networking grand? There are also donations from people in Galveston (including the mayor who emailed you), Roanoke, and Peoria.

    Some of the disbursements are just as interesting. And, just as I expected, someone who kept up the negative discourse on your site from time to time shows up as both a donor and a disbursement recipient (on more than one occasion for each category). I’ve found it kinda hard to connect “I wasn’t paid for my work” to a disbursement of any type. I believe it gives new meaning and a totally different inflection to “junkyard dog.”

    It all comes out in the end, doesn’t it?

  3. As a delegate, I made a pledge to my fellow democrats to represent them in my initial vote. I am disappointed at Bern’s apparent lack of respect for that pledge and wonder what pledges he is willing to forget if elected to the 5th CD.

  4. I have recieved two of the mailings, looking forward to the third.

    These things are pretty lame, actually quite pitifull! You can tell this guy is not ready for primetime.

    They look like he made ’em at kinkos the morning before the mailing went out.

    Also, some of my favorite lines go something like, “even though my oppenent has had three year head start on organizing I still got a relative hight number of votes”, blah, blah.

    Yeah, I suppose you did, considering what a piss-pour campaing you ran.

    Ummm, ok Mr. Sourgrapes, you think thats a good reason to break a promise us commited delagates made to our fellow Democrats? I mean, generally wouldnt we want to field the canidate with the better organization? You say so yourself that your opponent has the better organization, right?

    I have been trying to figure out this guy’s motivation . . . all I can come up with is the C.W., that this guy is arogant as hell, holds a grudge, doesnt understand that poltics is a full contact sport, and he wants a little revenage.

  5. As a “level-set” on all Virginia house races, the CQPolitics.com (http://www.cqpolitics.com/risk_rating_house.html) scorecard has every Virginia Congressional House incumbent as “safe” with the exception of Thelma Drake in 1st and she is “favored”.

    Nothing on the foreseeable political horizon seriously jeopardizes the assumption that the 5th CD is still “safe” for Virgil. The reasons are many.

    In a time when it is clear that we need real leaders, we get mud slingers.

    When Paul Hackett ran in Ohio’s 2nd, he came within a couple of points of knocking out his opponent in one of the most solidly Republican districts in the country. He energized, not only Ohio Democrats but Democrats across the country.

    Democrats are asking for leaders that will energize the party and voters and help set us on a new course. We have had years of negatives, mud slinging and division. We don’t need anymore. We need leaders who will begin the process of reconnecting to the working class voters who have not voted Democrat in years.

    The Democratic nominee has an obligation to the party as a standard bearer and as a unifier. We have every reason to expect more leadership than we’ve seen so far in this campaign.

  6. Welcome back to the debate, Greg.

    Since you have a problem even keeping your own story straight, I don’t really feel I can count on you for advice about improving the Democratic Party for everyone. Your constant whining is counterproductive and silly.

    I suggest that if you feel you know what the party and the Fifth District needs, run for office yourself. I can only hope that if you did, you wouldn’t resort to the underhanded actions of Mr Ewert. He is beginning to sound and look more like Virgil Goode every day.

    If he was really concerned about the issues presented in his latest flier, he would actually take a stand and tell us how he feels about the issues rather than lecturing us about how we can all get together with the Republicans and solve this pesky gay marriage issue. In fact, that is the way he has addressed each of the important issues. He either says nothing about them, because he knows nothing about them and is not curious to find out, or he wants to pander to voters and scream ‘immigration’ and ‘gay marriage’ like they are epithets.

    I can’t remember seeing a more weak and pathetic candidate in recent memory.

    Nothing on the foreseeable political horizon seriously jeopardizes the assumption that the 5th CD is still “safe” for Virgil. The reasons are many.

    Are these your reasons, Greg? Or the reasons listed at CQ? From an article first published in December 2005? I will be listening to Patrick Fitzgerald and other law enforcement for my cues as far as Virgil goes. On your CQ list, it still has Tom DeLay as ‘Leaning Republican’, when we all know he has resigned amid many scandals.

    And yes, Jon, he takes them to OfficeMax or whatever, and runs them off, not even being able to sign them individually. He must be too busy planning that next strategic move. After all, after Explore Park, he left the country for several years.

  7. Here’s the email I sent to the Ewert campaign yesterday in response to the “please switch your vote” letter:

    Subject: Re: “Virgil Goode Can Be Defeated” campaign letter

    To: Bern Ewert, c/o Marlin Adams, Bern Ewert for Congress

    I have received a letter from your campaign asking me, as an elected 5th District caucus delegate who voted a preference for Al Weed, to vote for you on the first ballot on May 20th. You state: “Your first vote will be private. Your only obligation in your first vote is to consider the importance of beating Virgil Goode in November…”.

    As you are aware, as an elected delegate to the District caucus I signed a pledge reading, “If elected a delegate or alternate to my Congressional District Convention, I understand that, having expressed the above candidate preferences [Al Weed], I will in all good conscience vote in that candidate’s caucus on the first ballot at the Convention.”

    The clear implication is that you believe I have no obligation to my conscience. Even if I thought it were the case that you are capable of beating Virgil Goode and Al Weed is not, a candidate who can appeal to individual citizens to break their pledge is not one whom I can support.

    David Sewell
    Crozet, VA

  8. David,

    Thank you for sending your letter. I had thought about doing that myself. Also it was good seeing Meg and you at the Crozet Crafts fair!

    Mark and Greg . . . hmmm, I dont know, I am one of the people who thought it was fine for Al to go negative on Bern; but that being said, going negative always has a pandora affect. Which we are seeing now.

    But I believe that this will be the real test of leadership for Weed. I think that this is one of the positive things about these inter-family fights, if the winner can smooth things over and bring the slighted activists from the other side back into the fold, then the winner is only made stronger.

    Reconciliation is a powerful thing, and if the candidate can pull it off then you know they’ve got the goods.

    Anyone, have any feed back on how Al’s campaign is handling this?

    From what I can tell they seem to be taking it in stride like pros.

    I got a letter from the campaign in the form of a reminder of my obligations as a delegate. They also summarized the results of the local caucus, which seemed like a smooth way of rebutting Ewert’s letter’s without having to acknowledge their existence.

  9. I’m glad Al is taking this in stride. I was undecided until the caucuses, and given Bern’s response, I’m glad Al has 54% of committed delegates.

    Now is the time that Bern Ewert should be gracefully bowing out and pledging to help Al Weed defeat Goode in any way he can.

    Too bad he took the low road.

    I don’t think the average 5th district voter will give a damn about this intra-party squabble. But say there is another seat that Mr. Ewert might desire in the future… it’s damed foolish to be pissing off all the 5th CD Democratic activists now.

  10. Yeah, I have to say I am becoming impressed with the organization Al is assembling. They really turned out their voters for the caucuses, are raising money at an impressive clip, getting the “asks” out, and defining a tight campaign message.

    Its going to be a long shot but they seem to making sure its going to be one hell of a fight.

    Of course a lot is going to be dependent on Dem activists like our selves, getting out there and working our asses off . . . hopefully the Senate race heats up! Which looks like it will, anyone see the little Webb piece in Time?

  11. Two men vying to be the king of nothing. Neither of these guys has a prayer. I can’t understand why each of them keeps stooping to these lows in order to beat each other up for a nomination that will get them nowhere. Both of these guys are going to be losers, it’s just a question of when. They might as well each lose gracefully.

  12. ATA,

    Aren’t YOU the Voice of Doom?

    I don’t know what “ATA” stands for, but perhaps you can change it to “VOD”.

  13. Dan and others,

    It’s good to hear some words of encouragement for the campaign. The fundraising’s up over $100k now! This is the first campaign I’ve ever worked closely with, so watching the various pieces fall together is very exciting. I hope you’re right about regular folks not caring about this stuff; hopefully it will all be past tense by May 21st.

  14. Al Weed has more integrity in his little finger than Ewert has in his whole body. I’ve watched Ewert on two occasions and see him as an angry, aggressive personality. I’ve read some of his correspondence for the last week, which sounds worse than even Virgil Goode would compose. Is Ewert a fundamental religious right Republican posing as a Democrat? As a moderate Democrat, I’d vote for Goode before I would tolerate Ewert to represent me.

    I don’t understand how anyone could be his delegate and why, after seeing his egregious, unethical tactics, could stick with him.

    I also don’t see how a neat guy like Mitch Van Yahres could support Ewert, who isn’t gracious enough to resign from the race and save lots of folks the time and money of attending the convention on Sat.

    Milt Moore
    LTC, USAF (Retired)

    P.S. What did you do in any war Bern?

  15. I am wondering why Al Weed is so proud of paying $8 and change to his migrant workers- which is probably the minumum he is required to pay under the law. How can he send letters to DR. Casteen at UVA and demonstrate for the living wage if he is not willing to lead and pay that to his workers ? I will bet if he would pay the living wage he could find workers from the 5th district. Has he gone down to the VEC and offered the living wage to get workers ? Has he advertised anywhere and offered the living wage to get workers ? Have those who support the living wage asked Al why he doesn’t pay it ?

  16. I am wondering why Al Weed is so proud of paying $8 and change to his migrant workers- which is probably the minumum he is required to pay under the law.

    Has the minimum wage been raised to $8? On what basis do you suggest that $8/hour is “probably the minumum he is required to pay under the law”?

  17. Agricultural workers who come here are paid what is called “adverse wage” and it is higher than minimum wage. I believe it is in the $8 range now -far below the living wage that Al writes letters to UVA President Casteen supporting that UVA pay. Al seems very two faced in this to me. One pay rate is good for Al’s migrant workers and almost 50% more is what all of Charlottesville should pay.

  18. Agricultural workers who come here are paid what is called “adverse wage” and it is higher than minimum wage.

    That’s interesting — I’ve never heard of this before. A quick google yields lots of information, though.

  19. Agricultural workers who come here are paid what is called “adverse wage” and it is higher than minimum wage. I believe it is in the $8 range now -far below the living wage that Al writes letters to UVA President Casteen supporting that UVA pay. Al seems very two faced in this to me.

    According to the Virginia Organizing Project, “A living wage is an hourly wage sufficient to support bare-bones living expenses for a worker and the worker’s family.” The protest at UVa was based on a calculation of what that would be for families in the Charlottesville area. Before calling Al Weed “two-faced”, you should probably do enough research to determine whether the $8.25/hour that he is paying falls short of that definition in the case of migrant workers. Maybe it does–but you can’t just automatically assume that a living wage in C’ville = a living wage in rural Nelson County.

  20. John – seems like you might be assuming what rate Al actually pays his workers. The only campaign info that I have received referred to the minimum that farmers are required to pay their seasonal worker not the actual amount that Al pays.

    Seems kind of harsh to assume and judge with perhaps no data.

Comments are closed.