Over the course of the next week, more than 130 radio spots will advertise the newest installment of Congresswoman Nancy Boyda's newspaper inserts, one of the grassroots campaign tools Boyda used in 2006 to provide voters in the Congressional district with as much information as they could possibly want regarding where she stood on the issues.
The first installment this year follows a similar vein, but rather than feeding the voter's desire for policy, this insert, instead, focuses on what Boyda had done since being elected in 2006.
It's 20 pages long, and over the next week will be distributed in 48 Kansas newspapers.
From the campaign press release from yesterday:
"Democracy depends on a thoughtful, informed debate, and newspapers are the perfect forum for engaging voters," Congresswoman Boyda said. "Voters are sick and tired of seeing the most important decisions in our democracy fought out in 30-second ads. They want real, in-depth information. They want to be respected and included."A PDF of the insert, along with an .mp3 of the radio ad can be found at Boyda's Campaign web site.
Among the features of the Congressional Update:
- County by County, Working for You: A section detailing Congresswoman Boyda's official visits and accomplishments for each of the 26 counties of the Kansas Second Congressional District, including her 58 Congress on Your Corner events.
- Working for You in Kansas: An update on the constituent service work by Congresswoman Boyda's office, highlighting the 2,600+ Kansans her office helped in 2007. Also featured are several success stories written by constituents, including a cancer patient who was denied coverage by Medicare and a church group leader who sought help with passport applications for a mission trip.
- Working for You in Washington, D.C.: An in-depth section focusing on two laws that Congresswoman Boyda has helped to author during her first term in Congress: the Heroes Earning Assistance and Relief Tax Act, which permanently ended the Soldier Tax; and the Honest Leadership, Open Government Act, which abolished Congressional pensions for convicted felons.
Boyda's newspaper inserts aren't what you'd call a traditional part of a modern political campaign, and while there isn't any academic research on them to back up their effectiveness, Boyda certainly believes in them- and two of Kansas's top political scientists seem to like them, too:
"There's no academic work on this at all," [KU Professor Burdett Loomis] said. "But I think the last time (Boyda ran), it clearly didn't hurt. It may have worked very well."Distribution and printing of the insert cost approximately $50,000.
"It honestly works better for an incumbent because the sheer volume of stuff she's done, the numbers of cases she's done, passports helped with, is pretty impressive," he said.
Washburn University political scientist Bob Beatty said it appeared to work.
"I think it'd be great if all the candidates did the 30-page circulars and ran a few TV ads and told voters, 'Make up your mind.' "
He noted that Boyda took an unusual approach last time with the newspaper inserts and low-dollar TV ads that countered the slick politician image.
"The anti-campaign campaign was sort of their strategy," Beatty said. "I think the newspapers did help, though we'll never know how much."
Now Boyda will want to hold onto those voters who read and were swayed.
"If she picked up only a few thousand votes it's worth it, because they're so relatively cheap," Beatty said. "In modern political campaigning that's not a lot of money."
If anyone knows how active Boyda has been in her 2 years in office, it's those of us who write this blog, and those of you out there in Internet-land who read us- but we were taken aback by how much she has actually done. After 10 years of a man who did literally nothing at all, Boyda's track record is amazing.