After bashing GOP rival’s doughnut dropoffs, Democrat sent political email to school staff
Jessica Anderson campaign says message was sent in error after FOIA request
A Democratic candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates sent a mass political email to employees of the Williamsburg-James City County school division where she works shortly after criticizing her Republican opponent for dropping off campaign-funded doughnuts at some of the same schools.
The campaign of Democrat Jessica Anderson, who is running against Del. Amanda Batten, R-James City, said it obtained the school division email addresses through a Freedom of Information Act request.
After incorporating the information on school employees into its database on local voters, the campaign said, a staffer inadvertently sent out almost 1,900 emails to school division employees, many of whom didn’t sign up to receive political communications from Anderson.
“It was a mistake. It was my fault. It was stupid,” Tim Stewart, a James City resident who described himself as a volunteer acting as a senior adviser to Anderson’s campaign, said in an interview. “Jess has never even logged into this system.”
Anderson, who works as a part-time receptionist at one of the division’s elementary schools, said she was aware Stewart was acquiring teacher information for “data purposes.” But she said it was only meant to help her connect better with people in the district, not to gather more email addresses for political messaging.
“When I go door-knocking, this is a way to have this information in our database,” Anderson said in an interview Thursday. “This person is an educator.”
The email was first reported this week by Virginia Scope.
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