In actuality, three mail drops were done by the DCCC, total cost $68,400. The mailer was prepared by the Baughman Co. of San Francisco whose slogan is "We create direct mail that's got attitude." An estimated 150,000 mailers were sent, enough to reach just 54.7 percent of the 7th District's 274,000 households.
Brown, who is normally the first to scream racism, didn't seem much bothered by the use of the targeted, racist mailings against Dickerson because they were for the benefit of Rep. Julia Carson. As you may recall, some voters reported receiving three of the negative mailers over a 2-3 day period last week, while other voters received none of the mailers. Voters who received no mailings tended to live in areas that were predominantly African-American.
According to a Campaigns & Elections article from 1999, the Baughman Company, which did the DCCC mailer against Dickerson, is one of several firms capitalizing on the growing use of direct mail pieces. The article reported that political party committees had "found in recent years that targeted, quiet programs can be implemented 'below radar' without a lot of media attention." "As voter turnout has declined in recent years, the ability to mobilize and to segment voter participation has become crucial," Campaign & Elections reported.
Apparently, racially-motivated mailers are part of this company's forte. Describing a recent direct mail piece by the San Francisco firm, the magazine said: "This mailer, 'We're going to kick your ass,' was designed as part of a GOTV effort to galvanize black voters in Atlanta and surrounding areas to vote for the Democratic ticket. Produced by The Baughman Company, San Francisco, Calif." Controversy over direct mail pieces sent out by the Baughman Company during the 2004 election in a San Francisco Supervisor's election resulted in a restraining order against the company. The San Francisco Chronicle reported, "Judge A. James Robertson II ruled that the glossy mailers -- one of which displayed a swastika and called Sandoval intolerant -- violated campaign finance laws because they did not contain a disclaimer revealing who had paid for the literature."
Rep. Carson and her campaign denied any knowledge or involvement with the DCCC mailings, but the content of it simply aped the same attack Carson first leveled against Dickerson in a meeting of the Star editorial board in late September during which she accused him of being a wife beater based on a 15-year-old unproven police report. Both Dickerson and his wife denied that domestic violence had taken place. Rep. Carson's winning margin in this year's election was one of her smallest in recent elections. She defeated Dickerson by about 10,000 votes, receiving 72,983 votes to Dickerson's 62,903 votes, a margin of 53.6% to 46.2%.