Tuesday, November 08, 2005

"West Wing" Writer Comments on "Santa Paula for Vinick"

From the Los Angeles Times:
"Neither "The West Wing" nor NBC have played a part in Santa Paula's promotional campaign, making no mention of it in commercials or on the show's website.

But when it came to fleshing out details of Vinick's early political life, Santa Paula was a natural fit, said story editor Lauren Schmidt, who is the point person for the promotional campaign, receiving letters, postcards and invitations to community events playing up the Santa Paula connection.

She wrote a biography stating that Vinick was born in Brooklyn, New York, but raised in Santa Paula, where he worked on the family's citrus ranch and learned the value of hard work. After graduating from Yale University and Stanford Law School, he opened a law practice in Santa Paula and won a City Council seat in the town's first write-in victory.

"We just really wanted him to have that small-town upbringing," Schmidt said. "I personally love the fact that this town is so into it. That's exactly the effect we want to have on our viewers."

But Vinick has yet to mention his Santa Paula roots on the show, and it's unclear whether he will, Schmidt said.
City residents certainly have.

Dozens showed up Sunday night at the Santa Paula Community Center hoping to hear mention of Vinick's agricultural roots during a live televised debate between the Republican nominee and his Democratic opponent, Matt Santos, played by Jimmy Smits. The closest Vinick got was a mention of Santa Barbara as he talked about oil drilling.

Still, in a large hall peppered with American flags and hand-written signs reading "Victory for Vinick" and "There Can't Be Too Many Arnolds in Government," the faithful cheered every Vinick statement.
Energized Vinick supporters took a group photo in front of a sign, inviting the California senator to Santa Paula in the final days of the campaign — a possibility that writers have not ruled out."

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