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The Mapp-Potter campaign has been outpaced by the more nimble yet sophisticated Bryan-Roach effort, which has encompassed internet, TV and radio advertising. The push has also included a strong canvassing deployment, and the campaign has had a seemingly better organized strategy than that of Mr. Mapp’s.
Some political observers said the governor was campaigning through governance, and was hoping that his work would take him over the edge on November 6. But it did not, and Mr. Mapp was roundly defeated by Mr. Bryan, who ended the night with 37.93 percent of the votes, to Mr. Mapp’s 33.71 percent, for a lead of more than 1,000 votes.
In the last few days, however, following the general election, the Mapp-Potter campaign has been attempting to find solid footing, and has waged a more concentrated fight against their opponents. The campaign has been spending more dollars on video ads, and is finally making use of social media, specifically Facebook, a platform the Bryan-Roach team has utilized from the onset of their campaign. In fact, the Bryan-Roach camp was ahead of all other teams during the general election in harnessing the ubiquitous platform.
For example, Mr. Mapp this week started hosting Facebook Live events with young Virgin Islanders, a strategy that has been used on numerous occasions by the Bryan-Roach campaign. The Mapp-Potter Facebook page now includes a myriad of video ads, among them an effective attack on Senator Tregenza Roach, highlighting the number of times Mr. Rocah has voted No to projects affecting St. Croix. The video has been seen by over 17,000 people on the Mapp-Potter page (The Bryan-Roach campaign has responded with a video highlighting Mr. Roach’s Yea votes for St. Croix.)
The latest effort by the Mapp team is a flyer ad that claims former Governor John P. de Jongh to be the head of the Bryan-Roach campaign. The flyer, seen below, is dubbed “Tree of Patronage”, and shows Mr. de Jongh at the top along with some of the former governor’s more infamous decisions, including the cutting of government employee salaries by 8 percent, the borrowing of $800 million, Mr. de Jongh’s failure to pay income tax refunds, and the massive layoff of government employees.
The tree then shows what it claims to be the Bryan-Roach campaign’s ties to certain individuals, among them Sebastiano Paiewonsky, the multi-millionaire business man in St. Thomas, Roosevelt David, former senator and special assistant to Mr. de Jongh, Carlton Dowe, the former VI Port Authority director, and Arturo Watlington, a former senator and current Board of Elections chairman.
The tree ultimately leads to Albert Bryan and Tregenza Roach.
The tree method was first used by the Bryan-Roach campaign, when it attempted to portray Mr. Mapp as a governor who puts his family members in high-paying positions regardless of their credentials. “The Bryan-Roach team believes Virgin Islanders should be hired for their résumé, not DNA,” read the flyer ad. It was described by someone in the Bryan-Roach campaign as a “major body blow” to the governor. The Bryan-Roach team later released a similar ad that purports to show the many individuals Mr. Mapp has fired, in an attempt to paint the governor as vindictive.
Mr. Mapp had promised to drop bombs and missiles once the campaign started, but it was the Bryan-Roach campaign that had been the more aggressive team. One member of the campaign put it this way to The Consortium recently: If an opponent threatens war, then you must prepare your arsenal.
Whether Mr. Mapp’s attack will inflict damage to Mr. Bryan remains to be seen. It comes well late in the race, when many individuals have already made up their minds. And while the “Family Tree” ad from the Bryan-Roach camp was easy to understand, in that it made clear its claim that those on the flyer were family members placed in position by Mr. Mapp, the “Tree of Patronage” ad assumes that Virgin Islanders already know the individuals listed, and their alleged sins. The ad’s most clear reference is to Mr. de Jongh, a governor many claim fractured the party and paved the way for the current Independent governor to take office.
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