Fabiola Santiago

Politicians need to stop campaign texting! It’s obnoxious — and infringes on privacy

2018 campaign mailers
2018 campaign mailers

Political candidates, do you really think that I’m going to vote for you because you text me, “Hey, Fabiola....”?

Far from it. Instead, I may hold this infringement on my voter privacy against you.

We get enough of you in the excessive number of mailers that arrive every day and the robocalls to the land line — and now you think you can text me as if you were my kids?

Get real.

I’m only one voter and I’m holding in my hand 24 poster-like mailers and two letters. Oh, and one large postcard from Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, who sends what amounts to campaign promotion at taxpayer expense. The repeat campaign literature is wasteful, but at least I pick it up on my time, and I can just feed it straight to the recycling bin. Or I can keep it. Some endorsements can be helpful in deciding who not to vote for.

The cellphone texts, on the other hand, get in the way of important stuff and throw off my concentration. They come into my life whenever you feel like it, interrupting my writing, interviewing, and problem-solving throughout the day. I didn’t invite you. I didn’t give you my number. You bought it off some list. You’re paying someone to send the texts — and, believe me, you’re not winning by making people mad.

Disruptive, intrusive silliness is what I got on a busy Monday from former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine’s campaign for the Democratic nomination in the too-crowded race to become Florida’s next governor.

“Hey, Fabiola! Nicole here with Philip Levine’s campaign! Little reminder to return your vote by mail ballot — are you able to return it today?”


So not only is his campaign using my private cellphone number to spam me — a number I give out only to people close to me and important folks like doctors and bosses — but they’re also tracking my absentee ballot.

I will do with my ballot what I well damn please, thank you. But if you’re going to remind me to put it in the mail, try to do it before 4:53 p.m. The mailman’s already come and gone. (Oh, and by the way, he brought a “Dear Friend” letter from you).


Next up on the text — ding! — is former Congresswoman Gwen Graham’s campaign.

The “Hi Fabiola” message from Casey features phone smileys at the beginning and the end. Casey wants to know if the “daughter of former Florida Governor and Senator Bob Graham” can count on my vote. Because all four humongous campaign mailers with pictures of Gwen and Bob Graham haven’t driven the political dynasty point home? Can we get some straight talk on the mega-mall? There’s still room to mitigate impact.

Next up is Andrew Gillum, whose campaign isn’t satisfied with just a “Hi, Fabiola,” vote-for-me message. They also sent me his photo — twice! I get it, folks. The Miami-born, Gainesville-raised African-American Tallahassee mayor is easy on the eyes and charismatic. I like him, but he’s got that FBI thing pending. Let’s get through that first.

What we know — and don’t know — about the FBI investigation hanging over Andrew Gillum’s campaign

Next… oh, Lord, it’s the state races. Give me a break!

I sympathize with the working mother campaigning with little cash — and addressing important local issues like White Rock Quarries blasting homes — but not some idiot claiming that someone in a state race is not a real Democrat and supported Trump Republicans. At least this texter has the decency to say that if you reply STOP, this darn system will unsubscribe you. Do I trust it? Hell no. The PAC that claims to be paying the text doesn’t exist (or the texter can’t spell).

As for billionaire Jeff Greene, also running for governor, I believe I deleted his texts without even reading them.

I’ve had enough with six poster-sized mailers in which Greene is running against Donald Trump in this primary instead of his opponents, a theme he repeats on ads every time I turn on the television. He’s got money, I get it.

No one detests and rejects Trump more than me, but while I appreciate Greene’s stand on all the basic human decency issues he’s bringing up — no kids in cages or kids shot in schools, for example — this is a race for governor of Florida. Nothing else. I want to hear about state issues.

All I can say is thank God, I’m not on the texting radar of the other candidates for governor (or they’ve given up the Democratic race to these four).

Texting while campaigning; there ought to be a law against it in Florida.

Just stop it!

Follow me on Twitter, @fabiolasantiago