Why is Mary Ann Baldwin robocalling from "Mortgage Services"?

Mary Anne Baldwin, candidate for the Raleigh City Council, has taken a lot of heat for being too closely allied with development interests, heat she claims is unfair. Why then, I wonder, are her robocalls coming from 414-208-1097, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin number registered to "Mortgage Services."

My wife reported a pro-Baldwin robocall from that number this morning. Now, there is nothing wrong with robocalls, but the company one keeps speaks volumes about the positions one might take on important issues likely to come before the board. So let's look at the company Ms. Baldwin is keeping.

414-208-1097 is a number associated with unsolicited business calls to homeowners, offering them amazing rates for mortgages. The Caller Id states that the number is registered to "Mortgage Services." Could this be Mortgage Services - America's Most Progressive Lender" the same company that keeps repeatedly spamming my fax machine with offers for "the lowest fixed mortgage . . . 1.25% 40yr Amortization ARM."

Now, this is a blatantly misleading pitch, since an ARM is by definition not fixed, but let's put that issue aside. The real question here is why is Ms. Baldwin using the spam call capability of a private business to run her robocall operation? And how are they being accounted for?

I decided to try to call the number, hoping against hope that I would get someone with the Baldwin campaign. Calling the number reaches a "full" mailbox for "Apex Mortgage." Now we're getting somewhere.

Apex Mortgage is a company that the Triangle Business Journal reported on October 5, 2007, had lost its business license in North Carolina and a handful of other states earlier this year" and "had been hit with suspensions or cease-and-desist orders by regulators in Alabama, Ohio, Illinois, Maryland, Georgia and Massachusetts."

Now, I am going to call Ms. Baldwin's campaign tomorrow and get her side of this, but in the meantime, ponder this:

Why would a city council candidate in Raleigh, North Carolina need to use a Wisconsin phone number affiliated with one or both of a pair of questionable mortgage companies to do her robocalling?

Baldwin is likely to be in a runoff with Russ Stephenson and Paul Anderson for one of two at large seats on the Raleigh City Council if early returns hold up. It seems to me this is a question Raleigh voters might want to know the answer to before they vote again.



And for the record:

Now, there is nothing wrong with robocalls,

I wholeheartedly disagree. I *hate* the things. Now that I have unlimited long distance, I have a good mind to start spamming the spammers. I have caller ID and I'm not afraid to use it. So Uncle Creepy Boylan, who used robocalls for his campaign in 2006, can consider himself put on notice.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi


We used robocalls too in 2006, to very little effect. They are cheap, but tend to annoy and are terrible at persuasion. They are good for reminders, and we may use them for GOTV (although in the 2008 election it will be hard to cut through the noise) but otherwise, they seem to be pretty useless.

As far as choosing a robocall vendor, no telling how that happened - we use a local polling firm (Public Policy Polling, you may have heard of it?).

Ed Ridpath

Ed Ridpath

For what it's worth

I would ONLY use it for GOTV.

Now, I would vote for you if I were in your district, so convincing me wouldn't be an issue, but if I got annoyed by robocalls on your behalf, I would be in your face about it constantly. I plan on contributing to your campaign, but if I got robocalls from your campaign, I might rethink that decision.

:-D Please take that in the spirit in which it is intended. I think you're terrific.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi


If you stopped using every campaign tool that some people find annoying, then you would have to stop campaigning all together.

My guess is that that would be bad for democracy, but maybe it's an interesting thought experiment. If nobody campaigned, what type of person would be more likely to get elected? I guess people with nice sounding names . . .

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good point.

I really was giving input - from a callee perspective - on how robocalling affects me. :)

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Respectfully disagree that they work and are good for Democracy


Many campaign people tell me that robo calls work and, moreover, they are good for Democracy and GOTV.

This is rubish.

Robocalls are doing huge damage to the political process by invading voters homes with no invitation. Voters are getting more and more cynical with politicians and robo calls are leading the way.

Think how many other channels to reach voters there are:

- direct mail
- email
- canvassing
- tv
- radio
- earned and paid media of all types
- events
- etc..

To think that ending robo calls would end Democracy is not a thinking "mans" answer.

As a result, we have started a movement to get politicians to pay attention and listen to the voters wishes.


Shaun Dakin
CEO and Founder
The National Political Do Not Contact Registry
Register Now for Free: http://www.StopPoliticalCalls.org/

Shaun Dakin
CEO and Founder
The National Political Do Not Contact Registry
Register Now for Free: http://www.StopPoliticalCalls.org/

Robocalls for GOTV are not advised

by our GOTV field manual ...

1 Thessalonians 5:21: But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks