Online problems continue to plague campaigns


I’ve previously written about problems in execution various candidates have had for social media and email platforms. This time I have an item for three different campaigns.

Authority lines are one issue. Here’s what John Wagner pointed out in a December 2013 story about many candidates and legislators not having authority lines on their Twitter account:

Under regulations issued in 2010, all candidates in Maryland are supposed to include an “authority line” when they promote themselves on social media, including Facebook and Twitter. Violations are subject to a fine of up to $500.


With new enforcement powers that were included in legislation passed this year, [State Board of Elections official Jared] DeMarinis said the elections board intends to start cracking down on candidates who aren’t following the rules.

A reminder about the social-media requirements was included in a memo that the board sent in September to candidates, their chairman and their treasurers. There are also reminders on the board’s campaign finance Web site.

I noticed yesterday that Mike Hough, via his @houghforsenate twitter account had an authority line, but it was an incorrect one. The authority line was attributed to Hough for Delegate. After checking to make sure his current campaign organization was indeed called Hough for Senate, I made this tweet:

Shortly thereafter, the profile was changed to correct the authority line. This was apparently just an oversight made back in February when Delegate Hough announced he was running for senate.

There’s another candidate in District 4 running for delegate with authority line issues. David Vogt has no authority line at all on his Twitter or Facebook accounts.

Here’s his Twitter account profile for @Vote4VogtTeam:


UPDATE:  Almost a month after he filed, Vogt’s campaign corrected the Twitter account shortly after I made this post today (3/17/14)

This is something that should have been taken care of when Vogt entered the race for delegate after dropping out of the congressional race. He withdrew from the congressional and filed for delegate on February 20. Vogt had another Twitter account (@Vote4VogtMedia) affiliated with his congressional campaign, but it has been inactive since November.

Vogt also neglected to put authority lines on his campaign Facebook page. (UPDATE: His campaign added an authority line to the about section on the Facebook page shortly after I posted this also. That was something they previously neglected to do since February 20.)

Here’s the main view:


Here’s the full about page:



Moving on from the authority lines, the next issue is a minor one by comparison.

Today, the campaign of Charles Lollar posted a link on Facebook to a message from Art Laffer. It was clear when you clicked on the link that the message had originally been sent as an email. However, when you go to the page from it being linked in Facebook or elsewhere the code for variables (for mail merge) show like this:

Dear {{ recipient.first_name_or_friend }},

This relates to the message text being manually posted into a blog post (NationBuilder does not auto-generate web versions of emails)  from the original email without the codes being removed. As I said, it’s not a huge deal but it’s something that can be fixed moving forward.

Here’s what it looked like:


As I’ve noted,  I have critiqued campaign/political emails and social media on more than one occasion before. Most recently a critiqued a poorly executed David Brinkley email and a brutally ugly Larry Hogan email. Additionally, I pointed out the problems in another Hogan email.

I previously wrote about ethical issues with Wade Kach emails. I did the same for an email sent by Kathy Szeliga and got a very nice response and reaction from her about it. I also criticized a Maryland GOP email sent out in April. Additionally, I was critical of one of the worst political emails I’ve ever seen sent by the Lollar campaign (that was in addition to writing about all the twists and turns while the Lollar campaign website was down for 11 days.) I wrote about the Maryland GOP sending out a 1300-word email on the 4th of July and the campaign of Ken Cuccinelli sending out an 1100 word email. These are all subjects I have written about before based on my experiences being  involved in the process of creating and sending political emails all the way up to the point of clicking on the big green send button in the email system.

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton is an award-winning blogger who has been aggregating and blogging since 1998. He has worked as a reporter, in government, and as a communications professional in Columbia, SC and Washington, DC.

Quinton is a native South Carolinian who has lived in Baltimore since 2006. He is a recent convert to the Catholic Church and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He has been involved in the pro-life movement nationally and locally since 2010.

Quinton is a veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. He is also an Eagle Scout.
Jeff Quinton