Bell Challenger Compares Him to a Cheating Husband

The Democratic challenger to Delegate Rob Bell sent out a mailing earlier this week comparing him to a cheating husband, Brian McNeill writes in the Progress. Cynthia Neff‘s glossy, 8.5″x11″ one-page mailer shows a bouquet of roses on one side, with large text reading: “It’s like a cheating husband who sends flowers to cover up what he’s done.” (Image here.) The back side says that “Rob Bell is just like a cheating husband who gets away with it,” saying that he sends a lot of friendly letters to constituents, but—Neff argues—he does it to cover up that he’s voting against the interests of the citizens of the 58th District. (Image here.) Bell immediately incorporated the front of the image into a fundraising e-mail, which he sent out on Monday, calling it a “doozy” of an attack ad. He calls the attack a sign that Neff’s campaign is desperate. In the Progress, Neff’s campaign spokesman didn’t address the implication that Bell had been unfaithful to his wife, but instead repeated some of the criticisms already present in the mailer, such as that Bell has voted against increasing teacher pay and voted to prevent rape victims from receiving emergency contraception in emergency rooms to prevent pregnancy.

22 thoughts on “Bell Challenger Compares Him to a Cheating Husband”

  1. Cheating husband is in bright red and stands out.
    On the other side it has Rob Bell in red. There is little chance this is other than a desperate attempt to slime Rep. Bell. If you take out the cheating husband part of the ad and all those references, I have no problem with the rest of the ad as fair comment.

    This is very bad ad and Neff should be ashamed of it.

  2. I seriously doubt that any reasonable voter would interpret the mailer as an attempt to slyly accuse Bell of cheating on his wife.

  3. I gotta say that although I agree with Big_Al, I also think it’s kind of an obnoxious metaphor. I liked the bulleted information on the back, about things he voted against, and I wish the ad could have made THAT the story rather than leaning so hard on this metaphor that wraps around the relevant information.

  4. I looked at it for .2 seconds longer than I would have any other political mailer……and tossed it in the trashcan like any other political mailer!

  5. Aside from the inappropriate metaphor in this ad, I don’t find attack ads helpful: “Vote No on Rob Bell” does NOT tell any voter why they should vote for his opponent. Does Neff have any record of public service of her own? Does she have any specific strategies for change?
    This is not an ad which a candidate with integrity should have approved.

  6. Gail – Neff DOES have a record of public service, as she serves on the Advisory Council for the Legal Aid Justice Center, as Chairwoman of the AIDS/HIV Service Group, and as a Court Appointed Special Advocate protecting endangered and abused children. More importantly, she has a very long and successful record as a businesswoman, both as a small business owner and as an executive at a major international company.

    If you visit her website ( you’ll see that, as a matter of fact, she DOES have some very specific policy proposals, and whitepapers on issues that are actually more substantial than anything ANY candidate in Virginia has put out. Her transportation and education plans, for instance, are actually more specific and detailed than the comparable plans for both gubernatorial candidates. Bell’s website has … nothing, just as Bell himself has no ideas about how to tackle these tough issues. Writing letters to children is nice, but other than that, he’s an empty suit with an ideological agenda.

    Now what were you saying about not having ideas or a record of public service again?

  7. Concerned Taxpayer- I asked questions about her record and strategies because the attack ad I received in my mailbox yesterday did not contain any mention of her achievements. I will spend time at her website and Bell’s site next week. I do not watch much television and have not seen much else about her in the local print media. I am a moderate/liberal Democrat and have rarely voted for anyone who was not a Democrat. However, I am not impressed by personal insults against political opponents and in my opinion, Neff should not have approved the “cheating husband” metaphor ad.

    Also, Bell is not an “empty suit” because he sends graduation cards. I appreciate his work on mental health reform, for which he had bipartisan recognition. I have found him to be quickly responsive every time I have contacted him about an issue.

  8. Why is it that both Democrat and Republican hardline party only voters strongly believe that their bought and paid for candidate is the best for everyone. This is absurd! How can anyone, who is paid by both state and national organizations, represent the “people” of Albemarle county. Well, they can’t and they have no interest in doing so. Why, because if they cared, they would not receive backing or funding of the party.

    So, I for one will not vote for any candidate that does not represent what is best for the people of Albemarle county.

  9. Preventing rape victims from getting emergency contraception in the emergency room is horrible. How could you do that to a woman who has just been raped? Seriously?

  10. How can anyone, who is paid by both state and national organizations, represent the “people” of Albemarle county. Well, they can’t and they have no interest in doing so. Why, because if they cared, they would not receive backing or funding of the party.

    So, I for one will not vote for any candidate that does not represent what is best for the people of Albemarle county./blockquote>

    I’m not sure what you’re saying, Steve. Are you positing that nobody who has been nominated by a party could represent the voters? And that you won’t vote for anybody who has been nominated by a party?

  11. Makes me wonder what the reaction would be if Bell put out a mailer that used the metaphor “Neff sleeps around and is trampy when it comes to politics”.

  12. Waldo, The major parties will not endorse anyone that does not pledge to place the party’s agenda ahead of any other “promises” that a candidate may have made or makes. So, how can they represent the people they to their full extent. They cannot. They have to press forward with an agenda that is decided at the state and national levels. Or they face loosing the party’s endorsement and funding.

    So, any elected official that is in debt to a national party, is in fact only representing the party line voters. The other voters that elected them, most likely do not realize what they are actually voting for. Because, most people do not understand politics.

    This is why is it better for the people at the local levels to vote for independent candidates, who do not hide behind political trickery, masking their true intentions of only pushing a national party’s agenda.

  13. Steve, that’s just not true. Your depiction of the partisan political process is divorced from the reality of how it works. In the vast majority of cases, they simply nominate the only candidate who steps forward, no questions asked. In the rare case in which there is a challenge for the nomination, they nominate the candidate who the greatest number of caucus/primary voters support. Each individual voting is free to decide for themselves who they’re going to vote for and why. Look at Creigh Deeds, the Democratic nominee for governor. He was the farthest right of the three candidates—much farther to the right than Democratic primary voters—but he won by a landslide. By the mechanism that you describe, he never should have had a chance. But he won easily.

    The national party’s agenda has absolutely nothing to do with most elections, or even most offices. What the DNC’s platform says nothing to do with the Charlottesville sheriff’s race. What the RNC’s platform says has nothing to do with the Albemarle BoS race.

    I understand how you could believe that parties are monolithic, and that there’s some sort of a top-down organizational structure that binds elected officials to a national platform. But spending more than a few hours volunteering for a campaigning or at a party caucus meeting would show you that absolutely nothing of the sort is true.

  14. As one who made a living designing and running political campaigns, I can say for certain Steve is closer to home than he realizes when he says, “… most people do not understand politics.”

    From what he said above, Steve is on the list of misunderstanders.

    And from that same background I soundly condemn the Neff team for issuing a rotten campaign ad.

    It is by such ads that we learn the quality of a candidate’s staff. It is by the candidate’s apology for such ads – or the lack of it – that we measure a candidate’s integrity.

  15. Hey Waldo, with the Progress starting it’s endorsements, care to take a crack at predicting who (if any) in the Gov-Lt.Gov.-AG races they’ll endorse?

  16. I don’t think there’s any mystery there. :) The only surprise that’s possible—but deeply unlikely—would be if they endorsed Creigh Deeds. He’s awfully conservative, would be considered a Republican in most states, and is the Progress’ own senator. But the Progress generally endorses the most conservative candidates, so that would be McDonnell. On the other hand, they endorsed Slutzky (shockingly), which means that it might not be totally impossible that they’d endorse Deeds.

    I never tire of reminding people that they endorsed Kenneth Jackson for City Council back in 2004, which I expect will be remembered as a low point for the editorial board’s political picks.

  17. I just don’t see the big deal. Unless you’ve never seen political ads before, this looks to be typical sleazy mud slinging to me. They all do it. It’s nasty. And yes, they should be ashamed. But they’re politicians.

    Next we’ll hear that someone is shocked that some politician lied. Say it ain’t so.

  18. does anyone know about the health/safety of Cynthia Neff? the Taliban video they’re replaying on NBC29 every 10-15 minutes looks like she could be beheaded any time now. what can we do to help her?

  19. I’ve heard it asked before but never seen an answer. How long has Ms. Neff lived in the constituency she wants to represent?

  20. April, have you tried looking that information up yourself? It took me less than a minute to find an answer at It says she moved to Albemarle in 2006.

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