Friday, November 2, 2007

Jeffre’s voter van is a mobile campaign office

Jeffre’s voter van is a mobile campaign office

In what has to be one of the funniest - and largest - pieces of Cincinnati City Council candidate campaign attention-grabbers ever, former 98 Degrees band member Justin Jeffre has bought a former bookmobile and turned it into his mobile campaign headquarters.

Jeffre, who is endorsed by the Green Party and unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2005, happened into the RV-sized circa 1970s former library-on-wheels courtesy of the Cincinnati Public Schools, who sold it to him for a little more than $500. All it needed was the brake line repaired, but, beyond that, it runs fine, Jeffre said, who lets his father drive it.

He had the big white vehicle - which he calls his “mobile command communications unit,” or MCU - parked Saturday afternoon at Bellevue Park on Ohio Avenue in Clifton Heights. His buddy, former band mate and Cincinnati-native Nick Lachey (who I missed) christened the bus with a bottle of Christian Moerlein’s OTR Ale. Lachey spent about a half-hour there with his girlfriend, Vanessa Minnillo, Jeffre said.

The bus’s trim has been painted Jeffre-campaign green, been adorned with vinyl wrap stickers of Jeffre’s face, campaign signs and stickers, a big red cross with “neighborhood rescue” written next to it, plus a wire can-sounding sound system that was playing The Who’s “Magic Bus” and making frog sounds. Plans include adding a green emergency vehicle-type light bar (think “mall cop”).

Jeffre plans to take the bus around to all of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods and tout his campaign’s platform. One of the campaign’s workers said Jeffre’s voter van makes fellow candidate Mitch Painter’s very recognizable and ubiquitous ice cream truck look like a “bitch mobile.”

Still awaiting word about when and where Jeffre’s whistle-stop tour will be next. Jeffre said the campaign would be releasing that soon.

Next to former Cincinnati City Councilman, Hamilton County Commissioner and current Congressman Steve Chabot’s famous holding-a-sign-and-waving-on-a-highway-overpass stunt that propelled him onto Council in the mid-1980s and former Cincinnati Vice Mayor Jim Tarbell’s “Tarbell, What The Hell!” buttons, I think this ranks pretty high for way-to-go, you-can’t-ignore-me retail politicking.

posted by Joe Wessels on 10.21.07 @ 1:37 pm |