Anita Todd responds to mailer.
I had what I thought was a good idea to send a mailer showing Joel in the community with other community leaders at various events - at the Blessing of the Combines, the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce dinner, Joel getting an award from the Berlin Mayor and Council, that sort of thing. He is very involved with the community all year long, not just at campaign time, and I wanted to highlight that. Something along the lines of "Joel Todd in the Community" was the original headline.
There were different fliers going to different zip codes. For example, Pocomoke residents probably don't care about Ocean City's community leaders, so some of the photos were specific to the area where they were mailed.
At a certain point I decided to change the verbiage and put in the headline "Community Leaders Support Joel". I had dozens of photos I was dealing with, so I had to go to each proof and remove certain photos for each zip code for those people who did not expressly give support or who didn't want their support made public.
Although the majority of the photos printed were those who support Joel, unfortunately, there were a few photos that should have been removed and I missed them. We have no campaign staff, so I did my own proofreading. Joel was very busy last week doing his job, and I did not want to bother him with a project that I thought I could handle on my own. As everyone knows by now, I screwed up. I was juggling several printed projects at work as well, and I just took on too much.
So, I would ask your readers, how many times have they seen a photo in the newspaper with the wrong person's name below it? Or the wrong headline above a story? This happens with printed materials all the time, even with major newspapers who have several editors read everything before it goes out.
Just a few days ago the State Election Board mailed the wrong sample ballots to voters throughout the county. If a big agency such as that could make such a major mistake, is it so difficult to believe that this was a mistake too?
There are those who are trying to use this mistake to their political advantage, attempting to deflect the issue from who is more experienced and qualified for the job. That is unfortunate because they are doing a disservices to the voters. I truly believe with all my heart that the people of Worcester County are a smart group and they will vote for who they believe is the most qualified and experienced person, and not base their decisions on photos or endorsements.
The bottom line is this: I screwed up. I made a mistake. I take full responsibility, not because I am his wife, but because I took on the project and assured him he could trust me to do it right. I let him down, and I am sorry for that. I am also sorry to those people who did not want their photos used in the context of supporting Joel. I truly feel bad if I put them in a tough spot.
This experience has confirmed what I already knew: Partisan politics is an ugly thing.
I have also learned two very important lessons from this experience: Multitasking is dangerous, and never, ever be your own editor.