A political advertisement from a Los Angeles-area organization landed Tuesday in Fresno mailboxes, and among the candidates it touts is Fresno mayor hopeful Henry R. Perea – who it says has the endorsement of Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims.
As it turns out, Mims hasn’t endorsed Perea.
How that happened, I can’t even tell you. But I’ve got to own it. It’s my campaign.
Fresno mayoral candidate Henry R. Perea
Never miss a local story.
“How that happened, I can’t even tell you,” Perea said. “But I’ve got to own it. It’s my campaign.”
The California Voter Guide has for years come out most every election, and has long been associated with Republican candidates and causes. But the organization behind the campaign advertisement is free to accept anyone it wants on its mailer – usually as long as they pay. And Perea paid – $2,977 on May 12, according to state campaign finance data. Perea is a Democrat, though the Fresno mayor’s race is nonpartisan.
Known in the political trade as a “slate mailer,” several are sent out during election season to registered voters. There is usually an asterisk next to those who paid for a spot on the mailer.
In the case of the California Voter Guide, its front side says “Attention: Republicans. Election Day Voting Guide.”
The back features U.S. Senate candidate Duf Sundheim and Fresno Assemblyman Jim Patterson, both Republicans, as well as Perea. Under his name is a listing of supporters. Mims is the first name on the list.
Mims, for her part, appears to have forgiven Perea.
“I have not endorsed any candidate as of yet in the mayor’s race,” she said. “I appreciate that Supervisor Perea has taken responsibility for the error.”
Two of Perea’s opponents for mayor, however, weren’t so forgiving.
“That’s why I’m very careful and not just grabbing for straws to see what names I can throw on my brochures,” candidate Doug Vagim said. “Throwing (names) around – or if you don’t get caught it works – just doesn’t work in my mind.”
If he can’t get that right on his campaign, what’s he going to get wrong as mayor? We can’t afford to take that chance.
Tim Orman, campaign consultant for Fresno mayoral candidate Lee Brand
Tim Orman, campaign consultant for candidate Lee Brand, criticized Perea’s explanation of how the mistake happened.
“It’s one of the lamest excuses I’ve ever heard,” he said. “If he can’t get that right on his campaign, what’s he going to get wrong as mayor? We can’t afford to take that chance.”
H. Spees, a fourth candidate, declined to comment.
Perea, however, defended the slate mailer as an honest mistake. He said he was driving to Sacramento on Tuesday when he got a text message from Mims asking about the mailer. When Perea got to Sacramento, he called around and found out about the mailer. He said the name on the card was supposed to be former Fresno County Sheriff Steve Magarian.
“I circled back with her and apologized,” Perea said. “You wish, in a perfect world, mistakes weren’t made, but they are. I feel bad. Obviously, I didn’t intentionally want to do that.”
To try to make amends, Perea said he pulled back a mail piece due to go out Wednesday and added a line to it saying that Mims has not endorsed him.