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To love, cherish – and vote for?

To love, cherish – and vote for?

Heading into the final stretch of the general election campaign, Democrat Jon Hulburd is making a last-ditch effort to court women voters in Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District.

It’s clearly a group he’s appealed to before, as earlier Christian radio ads used a female moderator to attack his opponent, Republican Ben Quayle, for contributing to the predecessor of the sex-themed website

This time, though, Hulburd is veering away from the negative campaign tactics and is going positive.

Actually, it’s his wife, Carrie, who is going positive with what is designed to look like a personalized, hand-written, “woman to woman” letter talking up her husband.

She’s even included a small glossy photo of the couple on their wedding day in 1984.

A wedding photo? That was a new one for me.

Hulburd’s campaign would not disclose the cost of the mailer nor would it reveal the number of female voters who received it. Josh Abner, Hulburd’s spokesman, would only say it was sent to “tens of thousands” of women voters of all political stripes. In the letter, Carrie discloses that she’s a lifelong Republican.

Even political veterans such as Democratic strategist Mario Diaz said he’s never seen a wedding photo dropped as an accompanying piece to a political mailer.

But overall, Diaz said it’s smart to go after independent and moderate Republican women, who might be more persuadable to the Democrat in the heavily Republican district. The mailer also did a good job of painting Hulburd as a candidate with character, without veering into a negative contrast piece that voters are, late in the campaign, growing tired of, he said.

“This is a great, in my opinion, closing argument for Hulburd’s campaign,” Diaz said. “If Quayle had not had the character issues, I would say it probably would be a piece that should have been sent out as an introductory piece at the beginning of the campaign.”

But will it work? Hulburd battles Quayle in a district that has 50,000 more registered Republicans than Dems. He’s also outmatched in fundraising and name ID.

An Oct. 18 poll by Public Policy Polling showed Hulburd faring slightly better among men than women, despite his attempts at courtship.

– Bill Bertolino

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