Sports do not imitate life often — we encounter few folks wearing football helmets, and Giant black-bearded men are usually confined to our nightmares — but political campaigns have been quick to jump on the San Francisco Giants’ winning bandwagon.
Canvassers for state and local ballot measures as well as local candidates have been staples at AT&T Park for Giants home games throughout their World Series run, and campaigns have been working to connect with the voters found in delirious pub crowds, as well.
But some campaigns have taken it a step further.
Debra Walker’s Facebook logo, for instance, is now a baseball, with “Go Debra, Go Giants” written on the perimeter. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has placed robocalls with a similar “Go Giants, Go Debra,” message, according to a commenter on Walker’s Facebook page (how’s that for attribution?).
Walker competitor Jane Kim has gone Giants-mad, too: a recent newsletter was full of baseball references, and the candidate herself has reached out to voters in area bars during the games. And it’s prime outreach time, according to Sunny Angulo, Kim’s campaign manager.
“Everyone that is normally locked up in their apartments is out and in the streets and feeling ‘like a San Franciscan’,” Angulo said Monday. “I think it’s been really great for Jane – it’s probably been one of the funnest ways to meet voters.”
But does it work? And how far is too far? This reporter remembers all too well the spectacle of John Forbes Kerry donning a fresh-off-the-rack Red Sox hat in the waning weeks of the 2004 presidential campaign, a move that looked painfully contrived.
Walker communications director Christopher D. Cook did not respond to a request for comment, but political consultant David Latterman — who is, the record will show, working for District 6 candidate Theresa Sparks — thinks that incorporating the local sporting club into one’s campaign doesn’t have much of an effect.
“You don’t want to look like you don’t care at all, since it makes you seem out of touch,” he said. But in order to have a true impact, “[campaigns] would need to hit occasional voters who aren’t otherwise interested,” he added.
“A candidate wearing Giants stuff won’t matter to anyone who’s thinking about politics, what would matter is if he or she could target Giants fans who otherwise aren’t engaged.”
Or if the candidate could buy loads of airtime on television, print or radio. Nothing quite complements a GIANTS WIN THE SERIES like a campaign ad, right?
Thus far most of the baseball outreach appears to be limited to District 6 (in which AT&T Park and the Giants’ corporate offices are located), from this reporter’s experiences. That’s not to say that the candidates in District 8 or 10 don’t care about baseball; maybe they just care about… other stuff more.
One more day of this, people. Just one more day.