Monday, December 12, 2011

Mande Wilkes Outfoxes the Competition On Equal Time ..



    Right now, with all the hubbub of the Presidential Primary coming in January, not much attention is being paid attention to the smaller races yet.  Well, maybe you're not paying attention (neither are we) ,  but the good candidates have been working on this for months or years.  Those with an actual plan usually aren't surprised when good things happen later on.  It's no accident. Planning makes better candidates, and better public servants...


   Honestly though, we're a little torn on the small space between smart and legal and sneaky... We're going to do our best to avoid judging anything here.  Instead, we'll do our best to state the facts, give all sides, and let you guys decide for yourself.  Maybe as a former candidate, we're jealous of a tactic that we never thought of, or could afford even if we did think of it...


    I was slightly familiar with Mande Wilkes.  I often remember Will Folks ogling over her on his blog, and that she was an up and comer on the GOP scene.  One day a few weeks ago, I ran into her page on Facebook, so I requested, and it was accepted. Ok'ing a blogger to see your FB page and comments may not always be a good thing, but it is what it is... Last week, I read the notes about Mande holding an event, and much to our surprise.... she was a candidate for the 7th Congressional district!  That, and she hosted a show on WPDE, called On The Spot.....


     Almost immediately, the question popped into my head: How does a candidate for office manage to have a TV show without violating Equal Time laws with the Federal Election Commission?  To me, it made no sense initially.  Wilkes is promoting her candidacy on her website, on Facebook and there is some cross marketing between the two.  The rule seems pretty simple: if you are a candidate, you cannot have air time or work for a media company , without giving all others equal time on that market, at the same rate.  To our surprise, no one asked about this.. Our guess is it's from one of three possibilities: they are infinitely more familiar with FEC laws than us, they didn't know either, or they don't give a damn... We went straight to the horse herself on this, and Wilkes DID bother to check with the FEC.  Long story short, Wilkes' ass is covered. We think....

     iIf you don't care, indulge us anyway, because we think it's a good nuts and bolts campaign story... We called WPDE and e-mailed Wilkes, and here is the skinny.  Wilkes is not an employee of WPDE, and the show she hosts is a paid programming ad - kinda like Wayne's World, except that Mande is the schwing!!  We haven't seen the show, but Wilkes states it has disclaimers left and right during the airing.  On it, there is no mention of her candidacy. Of course, that doesn't mean viewers aren't aware of it.  What does the FEC have to say?  Wilkes says nothing...


     To us, the minute you say 'I'm running' , you're running - but the FEC doesn't see it that way.  The moment a campaign really starts is when you raise or spend $5000.  Until then, you're up to your own vices.  Our first question was a local TV paid programming can't be cheap, so the $5k has to be coming up soon... Wrong again, Mister Know Nothing!  Wilkes says the TV program is a separate business venture. Again, not having actually seen the show, we don't know if the business is selling her book or what it is... That being the case, whatever she is spending at WPDE, the FEC is cool with it...


    We'll give Wilkes credit... It is a shrewd game plan.  Mostly when a woman beats the guys at their own game, they call her something else. There is no denying that being on WPDE is going to assist the campaign - an ancillary benefit.  Direct or indirect, Wilkes is getting help from being on TV, when no one else is... Will it propel her above the crowd? That remains to be seen.



   No, this is not a strategy that we'd go for.  To us, we think selectively marketing your campaign, while still sending out promotions online that mention both the book, the show and the candidacy will backfire once someone sheds more light on it than we could.  That isn't our motivation here.... We don't even know the entire field of candidates in the 7th District race yet (and we're not alone), and we don't know Mande Wilkes at all.  Never met, and Will is the only one that has ever mentioned her.  If anyone in the race were employing this tactic, we'd be asking...  It's a rare opportunity for us to discuss a REAL campaign issue, not just jokingly attacking our Congressman for molesting puppies..


    It's an odd case of what is legally acceptable, and what could be hopskotching what is fair and right.  What do you guys think? Are we asking about nothing, is Wilkes a marketing genius, or is she headed for due criticism?


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4 comments:

mg said...

We were just talking about her Thursday night at the Hilton in Columbia.

Mike Reino said...

As usual, I'm just keeping my finger on the pulse of the SC voters... even from 700 miles away!

Anonymous said...

My God what a nutjob she is and you are falling for it. Watching her show is like watching a titty train wreck, they fly everywhere damaging anything in sight. But really, it shows how stupid she is. She is stupid on the issues and big tits will not help any. Then the book that one reviewer said was really a stretch to call it the worst book of the year, it was the 3rd worst book of the year. but what a whacko!!!

Mike Reino said...

Not sure I'm 'falling for it', as I'm commenting on the subject of equal time - not a TV program I've never seen.... I'm not saying that you aren't correct on the assessment. If this is all packaging, and nothing's inside the wrapper, it'll come out. You're the first to comment on the show, and we appreciate it!