[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/31/art.fiorina1231.gi.jpg caption="A mass e-mail was sent on Tuesday from Carly Fiorina's senatorial campaign, appearing to not only come from the candidate herself, but from her personal BlackBerry."] (CNN) – A mass e-mail was sent on Tuesday from Carly Fiorina's senatorial campaign, appearing to not only come from the candidate herself, but from her personal BlackBerry.
While most campaigns send e-mails appearing to be written from the candidate, this one took the extra step of adding at the bottom, "Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device." This tag has raised questions about why the campaign, and others which have included similar tags, would take the extra step to tell readers what is highly unlikely: it was sent directly from Fiorina's BlackBerry.
The e-mail also had embedded links and a campaign FEC disclaimer inside a box; both functions are not available on a BlackBerry.
Fiorina's communications director, Julie Soderlund, did not say whether or not the e-mail was actually sent from the candidate and her BlackBerry.
"This was an e-mail from Carly to her supporters asking for their support at the end of the year," Soderlund told CNN. "It's consistent with what many other candidates are doing at the end of the filing period."
Fiorina is the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and now running as a Republican to challenge incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer. But while she uses a Blackberry, those in the business of campaigning know that the candidates seldom send out fundraising e-mails themselves, let alone directly from their handheld devices.
"I doubt anyone believed Carly Fiorina typed out that entire e-mail on her BlackBerry specifically to the recipient and took the time to add in the FEC disclosure box," Erick Erickson, the editor-in-chief of RedState.com, said. "It's just silly. I think it undermines the credibility of online campaigns for candidates to do stuff like that."
"I think when online outreach tries to be too cute, people stop taking it seriously," Erickson added.
Erickson also noted other campaigns were starting to sent out mass e-mails that appeared to come from the candidates' personal handheld devices. Karen Handel, who is running for governor of Georgia, recently sent out a note ending with "Sent from my iPhone." Bill Haslam, who is running for governor of Tennessee, ended a recent e-mail with "Sent from my BlackBerry."
Both Handel and Haslam use the online consulting firm Emotive for their campaign e-mail strategies. Emotive executive Peter Pasi said all of his clients do see the text of e-mails before they are sent. Pasi believes as a marketing technique, simple text e-mails that appear to come from a handheld device, are more effective in communicating with supporters.
"We have seen in some cases that plain text e-mails are opened more than those with heavy HTML," Pasi said. "But it varies case by case."
Handel does have an iPhone, but the device is not capable of sending mass e-mails. And while no campaign would ever admit their candidate did not personally pen an e-mail with their personal signature at the bottom, neither Soderlund or Pasi could confirm their candidates typed the e-mail themselves.