Perriello’s (mom’s) cookie campaign

Gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello is backed by a serious cookie brigade that meets at his mom’s house to ship out
cookies and thank-you notes. Photo by Amy Jackson Gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello is backed by a serious cookie brigade that meets at his mom’s house to ship out cookies and thank-you notes. Photo by Amy Jackson

While Tom Perriello tours the state seeking support for his gubernatorial run, his mom is running her own grassroots campaign, chocolate chip cookie by chocolate chip cookie.

During her son’s 5th District congressional campaigns in 2008 and 2010, Linda Perriello took cookies with her everywhere she went as an icebreaker. “I’m kind of shy,” she says. That effort added up to 12,000 to 15,000 cookies, she estimates, and left permanent marks on her cookie sheet.

For the governor’s race, a friend was blunt. “I said, ‘Linda, that’s the whole state,” says JJ Towler, the campaign’s chocolate chip cookie coordinator. A cookie crew of eight to 10 friends and family get together every couple of weeks to send cookies to every group that’s invited Tom Perriello to speak.

“We box two dozen cookies, information on Tom and a handwritten note, and mail them after the event,” says Towler. “It’s grassroots politics at it’s very best.”

And in a world of divisive and often ugly politics, says Towler, “It is refreshing to find a politician whose campaign includes something as simple and sweet as a chocolate chip cookie.”

“People love it,” says Linda Perriello. “It’s personal.”

On April 1 the cookie crew packed up 70 boxes, each containing two dozen cookies, to ship out. “You can never send too many chocolate chip cookies,” Perriello advises.

And she’s learned one other thing about cookies and politics: “I’m convinced more than ever that campaigns are won person to person.” Sweet.

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