Case Study: Independent Expenditure Direct Mail

League of Conservation Voters

On Behalf of Ami Bera for Congress (CA-07)

After a narrow defeat in 2010, Ami Bera once again challenged Dan Lundgren in California’s 7th in 2012, defeating him in a nail-biting victory of roughly 9,000 votes.

In such a close race, everyone can claim that their efforts made the difference, but with ten pieces of mail, TBW is proud to have designed and executed one of the largest direct mail independent expenditures in the district. 

The challenge for Bera was two-fold, as is often the case with non-incumbents, particularly those not currently holding office. First, we had to introduce Bera to voters, many of whom were not familiar with his extensive environmental and other credentials. And second, we had to make voters aware of Lungren’s totally out-of-step voting record when it came to protecting California’s (and the country’s) environment.

As we generally strive to do, we created a mail program that drew a sharp contrast and drove home a clear message without being typically “negative.” Our favorite piece, “Cartoon,” was hand-illustrated in-house to show Lungren sinking into a pool of melting ice, highlighting his status as one of America’s leading climate change deniers in a district where voters are extremely concerned about the effects of climate change. By using humor, eye-catching graphics and short, clear text, we were able to drive this point home in the closing days of the election and played an important role in Congressman Bera’s close victory. 

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