The Ann Coulter campaign said telephone polls over the past several days put her in the lead in the 8-person mayor race.
Officials said, "The results show Ann to be in a leading position, backed by voters who express a greater certainty about their choice than the opposition backers do – great news for a candidate who hasn’t even started running her advertising!
"Even more surprising is Ron Littlefield, who is running a distant third. Littlefield was expected to do better, having had the highest name recognition coming into the campaign."
Leaders in the Littlefield camp branded the Coulter news release as “political hogwash.”
Littlefield officials said, "Ms. Coulter’s campaign had said that telephone polls conducted by her contractors over the past several days put her in the lead in the 8-person mayor race.
“No one should underestimate the commitment, tenacity or Machiavellian tactics of the Coulter campaign. The RiverCity/Design Studio constituency has significant access to power and money and there is real money at stake. They have hired an entire stable of expensive and devilishly effective political operatives – including Bill Fletcher, Nashville’s so-called 'Prince of Darkness,' recently hired by Coulter to handle media.
"It’s traditional at this point in a race for one side to make calls to identify uncommitted voters, find a number that provides the right spin and issue a release making outrageous claims. Everyone familiar with the political process knows that the vast majority of voters are either uncommitted or only moderately committed at this stage – six weeks from Election Day. The Coulter people do make reference to this fact in their release. It’s also interesting that Ms. Coulter’s claim is carefully crafted to claim leadership only among those ‘who express a greater certainty about their choice’. It’s also traditional to proclaim that the best-known candidate is ‘running a distant third’ since most voters shop around and compare newcomers to the incumbent before making up their minds. Unless challengers resort to negative campaigning, voters usually come home to the best-known, most experienced option and in this case that is Ron Littlefield.
"Regarding the specifics of her poll, after all the crying and finger-pointing about 'push polls' the calls that many received had an element of pushing as some recipients were told that the calls were from Ann Coulter’s campaign. Others have reported that if they responded that they planned to vote for Littlefield, they were asked in a disparaging tone 'Are you sure that you want to vote for HIM?' Apparently from scattered reports, these practices did not happen with every call, but there were enough to make the results highly suspect.
"It is also likely that the timing of their release was moved up in an attempt to cover the negative attention that Ms. Coulter was receiving from the wrong-headed support expressed for the proposed hotel at the Walnut Street Bridge that was planned during her time at RiverCity and supported by her handpicked staff at the Design Studio. Interestingly, during a Mayoral Forum before members of the Associated General Contractors, Ms. Coulter seems to be trying to distance herself from many of her previous views.
"The Coulter poll does have an important purpose in that it does identify truly uncommitted voters. Now, those poor souls can expect to be showered with positive and negative information carefully crafted to turn them away from the other candidates. That’s how it’s done in a no-holds-barred campaign – and that seems to be what’s shaping up.
"The Littlefield Campaign is doing its own research and we’re comfortable but not complacent. Our first mailing should begin arriving in voter’s homes this weekend. We are also conducting calls and working door-to-door in the neighborhoods. We’re finding that most people want a seasoned leader with proven experience and that is Ron Littlefield.”
Coulter officials said, "We emphasize that the majority of likely voters remain undecided at this point, so we must continue to work and work hard! Your efforts are critical if Ann is going to build on her lead, and we have a lot of opportunities for supporters who want to get involved."
Coulter officials said thousands of expected voters were polled.
Ms. Coulter "continues to walk in Chattanooga’s neighborhoods almost every day along with a small army of dedicated volunteers. To date, they have knocked on 3,500 doors in neighborhoods from St. Elmo to East Brainerd," it was stated.
They said a number of Coulter supporters have hosted events "to introduce their friends and neighbors to the next mayor. So far, Ann has addressed 20 neighborhood gatherings, with 26 more scheduled."
Mai Belle Hurley, former City Councilwoman, is involved in setting up the neighborhood meetings.