In a telephone interview on April 15, 2013, coincidently tax day, Armstrong points out that prior to the city going after his livelihood he was “docile in his political approach”. When the current political faction, as he identifies them, targeted his business he realized he had to get involved.
Armstrong says that he realized that politicians can affect small business owners and therefore he could no longer afford to stay on the sidelines. Therefore he setup the “We the People of El Paso” Political Action Committee. He states that the PAC is not supporting any specific candidate, but rather is promoting “anyone but Steve Ortega”.
When I asked him why Steve Ortega, he stated that Steve Ortega belongs to the current “political faction in control” that is making decisions contrary to the good of the city.
Armstrong stated that on Saturday, April 13 he had 20,000 robo-calls made with a strong message that Steve Ortega should not be elected mayor of the city. Armstrong stated that he expects to contract another four to five additional robo-calls.
Armstrong added that he had no expenditures or contributions to report during the latest financial disclosure window. He did not want to disclose any financial figures prior to the next filing deadline. James Armstrong expects to announce more promotional events as the election gets closer.
Besides the robo-calls, Armstrong has an active social media campaign and a website.
Although Steve Ortega seems to be the front-runner candidate at this point because of name recognition and general electorate support, Armstrong seems to be adding an unanticipated wrinkle to Ortega’s political future.
Depending on what grass-roots support Armstrong is able to generate will determine whether Steve Ortega coasts into the mayoralship easily or has to fight an uphill battle. The other candidates are mounting a cookie-cutter passive, ineffective campaigns that only empower Ortega further.
These cookie-cutter type campaigns are ineffective against an entrenched electorate that will vote for Ortega for vested interests. In order for the other contenders to have a possibility of forcing Ortega into a runoff they will have to mobilize untraditional votes that rarely vote.
Armstrong’s entrance into the political scene may have a mobilization effect of disfranchised voters but it will only be effective if the other contenders begin to push the envelope and mobilize their bases.