Didn’t you get the Memo? Negative Campaigns thrive in Ranked Choice Voting Races

How many times have you heard “There will be clean campaigns with RCV because candidates want the 2nd and 3rd place votes”.  This is a common pitch by RCV supporters that just doesn’t hold any water.

The effectiveness of Negative Campaigns in RCV was demonstrated by the Jean Quan campaign in Oakland.  Quan paid for many hit pieces against Don Perata, and supported a “Anyone but Don” campaign, which included a negative website.  Quan spent the most money out of any elected Mayor.  The League of WOmen Voters lamented about how negative the campaign got, as they promoted RCV would introduce clean campaigns.

This formal is now being used in several RCV races around the country.  Negative campaigning abounds, beginning with the San francisco Mayor’s Race where candidates Herrera and Yee have come out with attacks on the current Mayor.

The Huffington Post reports “Dennis Herrera Releases Savage Attack on Ed Lee” and the Lt. Gov. of California asked Leland Yee to take down his attack video.

On the other side of the country, the RCV negative attack playbook is being used in Portland Maine, where they will be using RCV for the very first time.  Jed Rathband, who ran the RCV campaign, is now going negative.  His attacks have been relentless, and have caught the eye of the press.  Mayor Mavodones states he is sorry that some candidates “are going down the path” of negative campaigning.

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