Fargo Campaign's New Mantra: "Trust"

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Every political campaign has its buzz words – words the strategists and pollsters hope voters will latch on to and associate with their candidate.  In the Sacramento mayor’s race, you might say Kevin Johnson’s buzz words have been “vision” and “leadership.”  See if you can spot the Fargo camp’s new buzz word in her supporters’ comments at yesterday’s event.
Christopher Cabaldon, Mayor of West Sacramento: “Heather Fargo has earned our trust as someone who believes in the potential of every Sacramentan.”
Linda Tuttle, Sacramento City Teachers Association: “Teachers have come forward to support Mayor Fargo because we trust her.”
Matt Kelly, Sacramento Building and Construction Trades Council: “We just have a lot of confidence in somebody that has dedicated a large majority of their professional life to making Sacramento a better place to leave.  And we don’t have the same confidence in her opponent.  And we certainly don’t trust his judgment.” 
And if you’re still stuck, turn on your TV – and check out the new 10-second Fargo campaign ad, the first of any candidate so far.  It simply shows Fargo’s name and the word “trust.”
Elmets: “Cleary, she’s trying to juxtapose her image against that of Kevin Johnson’s.” 
Local political consultant Doug Elmets has worked on more than a few campaigns himself.
Elmets: “Any word can be selected.  You can put competent, you could put loyal.  But trust is something that is really a key buzz word in politics.” 
And especially in this race, Elmets says.  He points to questions that have come up about Johnson’s leadership at Sacramento High School and the activities of his non-profit group, St. HOPE.
Of course, the problem with using buzz words in campaigns is it’s not too hard for the other side to come up with a response.
Setzer: “I’d put Kevin Johnson’s character and trustworthiness up against anybody’s.” 
Johnson spokeswoman Christy Setzer points to Johnson’s work in developing Oak Park, and to the city’s struggles to balance its budget, revitalize K Street and protect the levees.
Setzer: “I just think there’s a strong contrast between someone who says you can trust her to get things done and someone who actually has gotten things done.” 
And the timing of this debate is everything: vote-by-mail ballots just got sent out last week.