Update at 4:45 p.m. — The Washington Post reports that Favola has ordered her pollster to stop calling Areizaga-Soto a “Republican” during the poll.
The Jaime Areizaga-Soto state Senate campaign, criticized last week for its negative campaign mailers, is now fighting back against a telephone poll apparently conducted on behalf of opponent Barbara Favola’s campaign.
According to three independent sources who received the calls, the pollster gave “negative quotes” about both Democratic candidates and asked the respondents to evaluate each. Most of the quotes, however, focused on Areizaga-Soto. Among the reported questions:
- How do you feel about Areizaga-Soto claiming to be a “senior advisor” to Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple – who has endorsed Favola — when the temporary position only paid several hundred dollars?
- How do you feel about Areizaga-Soto’s work on behalf of several corporations, at least one of which may have been criticized for environmental violations?
- How do you feel about Areizaga-Soto’s work as a Bush administration White House fellow and as a Treasury Department staffer during the financial crisis?
- How do you feel about trips and gifts Favola accepted while serving on the County Board?
“Having worked on several campaigns, the poll was a standard way to test negative messages before bringing them on the field [sic],” one call recipient told ARLnow.com. “The District 31 state Senate race is about to get a bunch nastier.”
According to sources and the Areizaga-Soto campaign, the calls were conducted by a polling firm on behalf of the Favola campaign. Favola spokesperson Mary Lawson confirmed that the campaign is conducting a telephone poll this week.
“Democrats in the 31st District deserve to know the facts so they can make an educated choice,” Areizaga-Soto said. “My campaign has been tough — we’ve pointed out some uncomfortable facts about who funds my opponent — but I have been and will always be honest.”
Areizaga-Soto campaign spokesperson said the poll contained “exaggerations” about the candidate, but did not elaborate.