Jeffre’s voter van is a mobile campaign office

Justin Jeffre's Voter Van

In what has to be one of the funniest – and largest – pieces of Cincinnati City Council candidate campaign attention-grabbers ever, former 98 Degrees band member Justin Jeffre has bought a former bookmobile and turned it into his mobile campaign headquarters.

Jeffre, who is endorsed by the Green Party and unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2005, happened into the RV-sized circa 1970s former library-on-wheels courtesy of the Cincinnati Public Schools, who sold it to him for a little more than $500. All it needed was the brake line repaired, but, beyond that, it runs fine, Jeffre said, who lets his father drive it.

Justin Jeffre's Voter VanHe had the big white vehicle – which he calls his “mobile command communications unit,” or MCU – parked Saturday afternoon at Bellevue Park on Ohio Avenue in Clifton Heights. His buddy, former band mate and Cincinnati-native Nick Lachey (who I missed) christened the bus with a bottle of Christian Moerlein‘s OTR Ale. Lachey spent about a half-hour there with his girlfriend, Vanessa Minnillo, Jeffre said.

The bus’s trim has been painted Jeffre-campaign green, been adorned with vinyl wrap stickers of Jeffre’s face, campaign signs and stickers, a big red cross with “neighborhood rescue” written next to it, plus a wire can-sounding sound system that was playing The Who’s “Magic Bus” and making frog sounds. Plans include adding a green emergency vehicle-type light bar (think “mall cop”).

Jeffre plans to take the bus around to all of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods and tout his campaign’s platform. One of the campaign’s workers said Jeffre’s voter van makes fellow candidate Mitch Painter‘s very recognizable and ubiquitous ice cream truck look like a “bitch mobile.”

Still awaiting word about when and where Jeffre’s whistle-stop tour will be next. Jeffre said the campaign would be releasing that soon.

Next to former Cincinnati City Councilman, Hamilton County Commissioner and current Congressman Steve Chabot‘s famous holding-a-sign-and-waving-on-a-highway-overpass stunt that propelled him onto Council in the mid-1980s and former Cincinnati Vice Mayor Jim Tarbell‘s “Tarbell, What The Hell!” buttons, I think this ranks pretty high for way-to-go, you-can’t-ignore-me retail politicking.

Author: Joe Wessels

Joe Wessels is a freelance journalist and photographer. Wessels covers local news events for Thomson Reuters news service and features for About.com's Cincinnati Guide site, plus is the executive director of hyperlocal news site, iRhine.com. He wrote for The Cincinnati Post, covering Cincinnati City Hall and Hamilton County government and wrote a weekly political column, which continued weekly at Cincinnati CityBeat. Previously, he was a reporter for the Cincinnati Business Courier and writes or has written for several publications in Cincinnati and around the country including The Cincinnati Enquirer, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine and the Sacramento News & Review. He is a native of Colerain Township, one of Cincinnati's western suburbs, and now lives in Over-the-Rhine near downtown Cincinnati. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a journalism writing certificate from the University of Cincinnati. He also graduated from Colerain High School, is an avid photographer, news junkie and was once a roller rink disc jockey, and sometimes rides a scooter around town.

8 thoughts on “Jeffre’s voter van is a mobile campaign office”

  1. The correct name is the Mobile Communications Unit (MCU). It has carried knowledge to people since it was created. It still works!

  2. “green” “environmentalist” Jeffre is driving around an antiquated gas-guzzling behemoth to campaign in. Does that sh*tbox even get 10 MPG? How much carbon dioxide does its aged engine push into the atmosphere?? What a hypocrite.

  3. I knew the shape of that bus looked familiar! I probably got books from it when I was a kid.

    I’m not too worried about the gas mileage on a bus that will only be used for a few months, but how can a green candidate be against electric streetcars?

  4. Two Things about the Jeffre Mobile:

    1) I can’t understand why Justin drives that gas guzzler as a “Green” Candidate, but am incredulous as to why he drives that AND his pick-up truck to events. Can’t the bus fit everyone- he only travels with his dad.

    2) The articles that hilariously mention the bus include phrasing about Nick Lachey being present and christening the bus with a bottle of OTR ale. Don’t you think if Nick Lachey was there for this “ceremony” that there would be a picture included with Justin’s article? What a bunch of crap.

  5. How embarrassingly hypocritical of Jeffre!

    And WHAT pray tell, kind of “knowledge” could the bangbus, i mean, MCU possibly be disseminating!

    What a joke!

  6. “about a half-hour there with his girlfriend, Vanessa Minnillo”

    Is that the chick he banged from behind in the hottub?

    “Bitch Mobile”? I’m sure that sentiment endeared the candidate to legions of female voters.

    “Dan Jeffre”? Is he the new “Kevin Dillon”? Or “Nick Lachey’s brother”? Or “That Other Guy from ‘Wham'”?

    Unreal.

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