Final Day Ad Blitz – Commentary and Analysis

Council-Race-2012It is never clear how meaningful the final ad really is.  There is a school of thought that people have largely made up their minds at this point.  And to the extent that they have not, it is hard to imagine that a final ad in the newspaper will be decisive.

That said, I find the Sunday Davis Enterprise campaign ads very interesting for other reasons – it tells us what each candidate thinks is their strength, who they believe their strongest or most persuasive supporters are, and what they want to emphasize.

For each of these ads, you can click on them for full size.  It is interesting to note that only one candidate went full page and one candidate went color with their final ad, and that also happened to be the candidate with the most money.


Sue Greenwald’s ad leads with the Davis Enterprise endorsement, which quotes her portion in its entirety.  It is an interesting decision, particularly since the Enterprise re-runs its endorsements the Sunday before the election.

Ms. Greenwald does not publish the full list of her supporters, but rather has extended quotes from six of her prominent supporters, though four of them are names that are among the most identified with her – former Mayor Bill Kopper, Professor Alan Hastings, former candidate for council Pam Gunnel, and Professor Mark Siegler, as well as Professor John Roth and author Kim Stanley Robinson.


As we mentioned, only one candidate ran a full page ad and ran it in color, and that is Lucas Frerichs, who also happens to be the candidate who raised the most money.

Because of the space, he is able to put about everything into his ad.  He leads off with a quote from himself about our community and our values.

He then has a section emphasizing one of his strengths – his lengthy service to this community.

He also has a lengthy section of endorsements including several highlighted endorsements from past and present elected officials – Assemblymember Mariko Yamada, School Board Member Sheila Allen, Former Superintendent of Schools Delaine Eastin and Former Mayor Ann Evans.  He also, without a photo, has a quote of support from Eileen Samitz.

He wraps up the ad with a picture of him, his wife and dog.


Brett Lee’s ad leads with three quotes on his position on his three most important issues – the budget, water and land use.

He then has a quote from Supervisor Jim Provenza and lists support from a number of former public officials.

He also quotes from the Davis Enterprise endorsement and emblazons his picture with former Mayors Ken Wagstaff, Maynard Skinner and Ann Evans.

Finally he closes with a list of endorsers.


Unlike the other candidates, Stephen Souza did not run a huge ad.  Mr. Souza told the Vanguard that four years ago he ran a big ad.  This time, he is using a different strategy.

The last three Sundays, he ran eight small ads, eight small ads, and 11 small ads this time.  So he has done 27 ads over the last three weeks on 27 different pages.

He also noted that using this strategy enables the ad to pop up when someone views the story on that page online.  That ad links to his website.

On onead, he has logo and a quote from Michael Bisch, who we now know is supporting Mr. Souza.

Mr. Bisch in the quote says: “Stephen is a leader that gets it.  You can’t have a healthy community without environmental sustainability, social justice, and a robust local economy to pay for it all.  He’s been fighting for these principles the past 30 years.”

We pulled six of the ads including support from his former colleagues on council: Supervisor Don Saylor, former Mayor Ruth Asmundson, also Assemblymember Mariko Yamada, former Assemblymember and Supervisor Helen Thompson, and developer Dave Taormino.


Finally we have Dan Wolk with another picture of his family.  His ad is basically a long list of endorsements.  We are surprised to learn that his two daughters, his wife, his mother who happens to be some obscure State Senator, and his father who happens to be a former Dean of the UCD Law School are all supporting him.

In the future, it might have been quicker for Mr. Wolk to have simply listed those of us who have not endorsed him.

The only shocking thing is that Dan Wolk did not run a color, full page ad.

In addition to the long list of 95% of all residents in this town, he punctuates it with some blow up quotes.  He lists his endorsements from both the Sacramento Bee and Davis Enterprise.  He is the only candidate to gain both endorsements.

He too has a quote from Bill Kopper.  He also quotes from Bill Habicht from Davis Community Church, Public Guardian Cass Sylvia, business people Rosalie Paine and Lynne Ferda, School Board Member Gina Daleiden, Barbara Archer, and Alan Pryor.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. davisite4

    Kim Stanley ROBINSON — i.e., our own internationally acclaimed science fiction and environmental write — endorsed Sue Greenwald. Not Kim Stanley. He is well-known enough that you should be able to get his name right!

  2. DT Businessman

    “Sue Greenwald’s ad leads with the Davis Enterprise endorsement, which quotes her portion in its entirety.” -David Greenwald

    This statement is false. Indeed, the selective emdorsement quote jumped out at me the moment I read the ad.

    -Michael Bisch

  3. DT Businessman

    “On this ad, he has logo and a quote from Michael Bisch, who we now know is supporting Mr. Souza.” -Michael Bisch

    I’m a bit surprised by the “who we now know” comment. No mystery here. I personally donated to the same 3 candidates that the Chamber PAC endorsed. I imagine this information has been public for some time due to campaign disclosure filings.

    -Michael Bisch, Davis Chamber PAC

  4. DT Businessman

    OK, nobody has bit. I’ll have to supply the missing part of the Sue/Enterprise myself. I believe it went something like, “While we often don’t agree with her positions…”. I don’t have the Enterprise endorsement readily at hand. David, are you saying Sue’s ad contains the entire endorsement save for this missing piece that I’ve now provided?

    -Michael Bisch, Davis Chamber PAC

  5. David M. Greenwald

    “I’m a bit surprised by the “who we now know” comment.”

    It was meant to be humorous because anyone on here had to know who you were backing.

  6. David M. Greenwald

    Michael: After looking at them more closely, it does not appear that she took the their statement verbatim. I retract that statement.

  7. wdf1

    Luke Skywalker’s endorsement of Lucas is pretty much the tipping point for me to support him. Skywalker’s name is actually on Lucas’ endorsement list. Check it out here ([url][/url]).

  8. Brian Kenyon

    David Suder:
    The “Write Site” for this conversation, for sure (and thanks for the tip!)
    With wisdom fresh in mind, I might extrapolate that Stephen would seem to be a “leader” that is an object (image, facsimile, etc.) rather than a person. Very amusing if Stephen thinks this way too, eh?

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