The Springfield Good Government Committee paid for thousands of mailers in the final days before the election that called Tom Martz an "unacceptable alternative" to candidate Robert Stephens in the race for General Council Seat A.
Stephens defeated Martz by 510 votes or 4 percentage points Tuesday night.
The opposition flier, which hit Springfield mailboxes just days before the election, is evidence that Martz' candidacy was a bigger threat to some in the business community than originally expected. Such hardball tactics are expected in legislative and statewide races, but are less common in local, non-partisan races in Springfield.
The flier takes half of the page to advocate for Stephens as the candidate "endorsed by a formal coalition of local business and community leaders." But in big bold print, the left side of the flier blares, "The Alternative Is Unacceptable."
"Opponent is NOT A LONGTIME RESIDENT OF SPRINGFIELD," reads the flier. "While he does have a history of sitting on the sidelines at meetings, he DOES NOT HAVE A PROVEN TRACK RECORD OF CIVIC INVOLVEMENT."
The flier never mentions Martz by name. But it clearly takes him to task on issues. "INSTEAD OF LISTENING TO A CITIZEN TASK FORCE forming to recommend solutions to the police and fire pension fund, OPPONENT WANTS TO TAKE AWAY YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO VOTE TO APPROVE THE CITY'S HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS PROGRAM, stopping important infrastructure projects to improve traffic flow and safety by expanding our intersections and streets," the flier blasts.
Martz, a conservative with libertarian leanings, ran an outsider candidacy, consistently pushing for less city spending and smaller government.
Finally it targets Martz on parks: "Opponent REJECTS OUR VOTER-APPROVED BALLOT INITIATIVES to improve and maintain our award winning parks system which also brings thousands of out-of-town dollars to our city hosting events and tournaments."
Springfield Homebuilders CEO Matt Morrow is listed as the Treasurer of the Springfield Good Government Committee, which paid for the flier.
According to campaign finance reports, the Good Government Committee paid $3,077.26 to Ozark Mailing Services on April 2nd. The committee also lists a $2,525,66 direct expenditure to Stephens on that same day. The group also gave $551.60 to unsuccessful incumbent Denny Whayne, who lost to Nick Ibarra Tuesday.