November 25, 2022

Austin political candidates wear face masks in campaign ads

Masked Democratic political candidates may soon appear in your mailbox.

Driving the news: Margaret Gómez is pictured wearing a mask in her new campaign post as she seeks re-election in Travis County’s heavily Democratic Ward 4.

Between the lines: In a contested Democratic primary — Gómez faces a challenge from Susanna Ledesma-Woody — the masked image is an abbreviated way to convey her political values ​​to voters.

What they say : “If you’re vaccinated and you’re confident people are taking precautions, you’re more likely to vote Democrat,” veteran Travis County political consultant David Butts, who doesn’t work for either campaign, told Axios. . In Precinct 4, which encompasses part of central Austin and the southeast part of the county, “support for this is going to be pretty strong. It’s not a bad strategy.”

  • Don’t hold your breath waiting for Republican candidates to air primary ads showing themselves in masks, Butts says.

The image is everything: “Although many candidates support taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID, matching a visual with text reinforces that message in a way that text alone does not,” Gordon Abner, assistant professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, which writes about trust in government, tells Axios.

  • To note : Since 2020, some political candidates have presented themselves masked, including Wendy Davis in his unsuccessful attempt to represent part of Austin in Congress.

And after: Early voting runs from February 14-25. Primary day is March 1.