Brooke Pinto Won the Primary Election. Now, We Must Elect Her on Tuesday.
She was the eighth candidate to enter the race, giving her the least amount of time to build a political name and recognition. She was outspent hundreds of thousands of dollars by other candidates and outside Super PAC money. She campaigned at a time when the electorate was quarantined and no public events were held.
How did she do it?
“We called 500 voters every day,” Brooke Pinto explained. “We engaged in individual outreach to one voter at a time, all day, every day. We knew that 50% of voters were undecided when we got in the race. Perhaps because so many people were home due to the pandemic, they were more interested in talking over the phone.”
Brooke’s work ethic and charm can’t be underestimated as the forces that drove her Democratic Primary victory over seven other candidates, some of whom had been campaigning for nearly a year by the time she declared her candidacy in February. While other post-Primary Election profiles of the Ward 2 Democratic nominee have chosen to shine a light on her Greenwich, CT upbringing or her “newness” to Washington, D.C. despite having lived here since 2014, it’s clear those things didn’t matter to Ward 2 voters. Brooke was able to connect with thousands of them in an authentic, warm way during a time when they were forced to be apart from so many others. As the adage says, “All politics is personal.”
“We built one-on-one trust throughout the campaign,” Brooke said, “Even on Election Day, we were connecting with residents who had not yet decided who they would be voting for and were waiting in long lines around the block to cast their vote.” She said that she worked to be as responsive as possible to any person who reached out, a practice to aims to continue during her term. “This seat is really all about constituent services.” Many voters noted that Brooke was the only candidate who they heard from directly.
On the surface, it appears as though Brooke’s campaign zigged as others zagged. Throughout the pandemic, political pundits have claimed that the best way to win is digital voter outreach. While her campaign did use this new media tool, they relied heavily on traditional voter outreach and were significantly outspent in digital advertisements. For example, Jordan Grossman, the candidate who spent most on digital ads and eventually landed in third-place, spent $31,439 on Facebook, and $8,500 on Google and YouTube. These two sums total $39,939, which is about 16.2 times more than the $2,466 the Pinto Campaign spent on Facebook ads.
Don’t forget about the near $3,000 of digital ads by DFER DC or their infamous mailers for Patrick Kennedy, the Ward 2 candidate whom they endorsed. DFER DC was one of two Super PACS who meddled in the race, both of which supported candidates who took Fair Elections Program public funding.
While the rigors of the Democratic Primary are now behind her, Ward 2’s Democratic nominee, potential first woman in the seat, and the District’s potential youngest DC Councilmember in history is now poised to tackle an unprecedented confluence of challenges facing the District.
We’re now officially in a recession as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Small businesses, their employees, and thousands of unemployed people are looking for immediate economic relief. Ongoing protests and public outcries over systemic racism are increasing political will for criminal justice reform, a divestment in the Metropolitan Police Department, and an increase in public safety programs.
But before she can tackle these issues with her COVID-19 Recovery Plan and take part in creating historical criminal justice reform in Washington, D.C., she must first win the Ward 2 Special Election on June 16th.
This election will determine who will fill the vacant council seat left by Jack Evans for the remainder of this term until January. All of the other candidates have dropped out or conceded from the Special Election; however, since the ballot has already been finalized, their names are still listed.
“Regardless of who people voted for in the Democratic Primary, I’m asking for their support,” Brooke stated. “We need consistent and capable representation more than ever to meet the challenges of this moment. Since Brooke will be the Democratic nominee in the November General Election to fill the four-year term, she argues that it will be important to have continuity in the seat, “I am ready to get to work right away.”
If you have already received your Ward 2 Special Election Mail-in Ballot, return it by June 16th either to a polling location or through the mail. You can check the status of your mail-in ballot here.
You can still vote safely in person through June 15th at Hardy Middle School and One Judiciary Square from 8:30 am-7:00 pm. On June 16th, both of the polling locations will be open from 7:00 am-8:00 pm.