Unique political mailer targets Kavanagh

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Political experts say it's ingenious and it may just be the first time the tactic has ever been used in the country.

We are talking about the new mailer from Republican District 23 state Senate candidate Jeff Schwartz. It's like one of those Hallmark singing cards but when you open it up, instead of hearing "Happy Birthday" you hear the voice of his opponent, longtime state politician John Kavanagh, from a controversial roast for Sheriff Joe Arpaio earlier this year.

"It's a little hard to understand," Kavanagh said when he opened the card for the first time.

The card was sent to many of the voters in Scottsdale and Fountain Hills.

You can hear Kavanagh making jokes about Arpaio at the roast, jokes that involved minorities, like this: 

"If you were in the Korean War, how come you aren't rounding up Asians?" and then you hear the crowd laughing.

"This is really amazing," Kavanagh said. "This is the last thing voters want -- negative hit piece-type advertising that avoids the issues."

But businessman Schwartz stands by his cards, saying, "This isn't an attack ad. This is just a reminder of who Mr. Kavanagh is. Our team thought this would be the best way to allow people to hear what Mr. Kavanagh had been saying."

When asked if he explains anywhere on the card that the audio recordings are from a roast, he didn't answer directly. He just said there is a YouTube link on the back of the card that will tell viewers what the event was.

This is just the latest attack on Kavanagh, a two-term legislator who has faced criticism for supporting SB 1062 and SB 1070.

"It's real simple. When you offend the big power brokers ... they can throw everything but the kitchen sink at you," Kavanagh said.

The hotly contested race has been fueled by special interests. Kavanagh said $90,000 in dark money has already been spent against him because of his support for SB 1070 and his opposition to Obamacare.

"You are dragging people's names through the mud and that's why a lot of people don't run for politics," Kavanagh added.

But with elections next week, his opponent is running hard and making no excuses for the novel yet controversial greeting cards.