What was David Rivera's shadow campaign sending to voters?
Frontiers in Direct Mail: Cash in Envelopes Edition
The New Science Of Winning Campaigns
Aug. 22 2012 12:11 PM

Frontiers in Direct Mail: Cash in Envelopes Edition

MIAMI - OCTOBER 20: Republican Congressional candidate David Rivera is greeted by supporters as he campaigns at an early voting site on October 20, 2010 in Miami, Florida. Rivera is running against Democrat Joe Garcia for the 25th congressional district. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

This bit of news from the Miami Herald’s Marc Caputo gives an inattentive reader the briefly delightful impression that Florida Republican Congressman David Rivera’s direct-mail program to prop up a sham candidate in the Democratic primary consisted of sending envelopes full of cash to voters:

As part of the effort, a political unknown named Justin Lamar Sternad campaigned against Garcia by running a sophisticated mail campaign that Rivera helped orchestrate and fund, campaign vendors said.
Among the revelations: The mailers were often paid in envelopes stuffed with crisp hundred-dollar bills.

Nonetheless Rivera's effort has made its contribution to the election-year knowledge base: the certainty that "shadow campaign" is the term whose history we wish we still had Bill Safire around to document.

Sasha Issenberg is the author of The Victory Lab about the new science of political campaigns.

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