When the St. Louis Cardinals made the playoffs, Missouri State Senator (Senate District 1) Jim Lembke made a decision. Instead of another political flyer, he thought instead that something positive and fun was in order. His campaign got to work creating a new flyer, one that bore no official logos apart from the St. Louis Cardinals jacket both purchased and worn by Senator Lembke himself.
“We made the flyers because we just thought it would be a nice change for people who are getting weary of all the attack ads and other political mailers.” – Senator Jim Lembke
Those flyers were mailed to 50,000 households in Senator Lembke’s district, and almost immediately the phones in the campaign office began to ring. Constituents were calling to thank the Senator for sending out such a positive message. Nursing homes (three of them, to be exact) called to ask for extra signs because residents who weren’t even registered voters wanted them to hang up in their rooms. Senator Lembke himself saw one of his signs in the window of a McDonalds he happened to visit.
And then came the phone call that no one was expecting. A New York based attorney called Senator Lembke’s office, demanding on the behalf of Major League Baseball that he cease and desist printing and distributing the signs.
“I was taken by surprise and a little offended – we just wanted to do something nice for our district, for our team. It wasn’t meant to be political message. I wasn’t saying that the Cardinals were endorsing me – I was saying that I endorse the Cardinals.” -Senator Jim Lembke
Surprised that anyone would be offended by a sign designed to rally around an incredibly popular team in its apolitical quest for “12 in 12,” Senator Lembke asked the attorneys how the flyer had come to their attention. They replied that they had been tipped off by St. Louis News Radio station (and CBS affiliate) KMOX.
“That also surprised me, since I have a pretty good relationship with KMOX. I can’t understand why they would contact MLB attorneys and never approach me or my office on the subject.” -Senator Jim Lembke
But the fact is, someone claiming to be affiliated with KMOX did tip off the MLB organization. And no one contacted the Senator or his campaign office prior to the MLB attorneys. And Missouri now has a sitting Senator who is being attacked because he believes that he has the freedom to say in an official capacity that he (and the majority of his district as well) hope to see the St. Louis Cardinals keep that World Series trophy for at least one more year. Shocking, isn’t it?