Politics is a relationship business. But some pols, regrettably, are bad at relationships.
Some with the press. Some with the truth. Some with money. Some with themselves.
Did it kill them? Did it make them stronger?
The results that come out just after this piece goes live tell the tale.
But these three below … well, they didn’t exactly help themselves.
Full disclosure — I personally like Angela Corey. I also think that, instead of spending a metric ton of money on the beyond-lazy and woefully misnomered Victory Group to run her campaign after Alex Pantinakis got Leighed out, she might have been better served hiring a group that felt comfortable maximizing her positives.
I saw a side of Corey at the WOKV Hob Nob — which she lost, though not quite as bad as that UNF poll last week — that came out so rarely in this campaign cycle.
I asked her a question about the outcome of the race, along the lines of “What’s your next move if you lose?”
Corey’s answer was perfect.
“The title they can’t take away from me,” Corey said, “is Aunt Angie.”
The human side of Angela Corey did not show during this campaign, or at many points during the last eight years. Corey, a woman who rose to the pinnacle of power without giving lip service to feminism or post-feminism or girl power, but who instead was the toughest person in any given room.
There’s a picture I took of her, from a debate in Fleming Island, with a picture of Scarface-era Al Pacino behind her. It resonated with people; you’d have to ask them why. Perhaps it’s because, like Pacino in Scarface, Corey — an outsider who had to own the space to play the insider game — had to project toughness above all else.
Thus, when her campaign or her hired spokespeople tried to message the “kinder, gentler” Angela, concerned with victims above all else, it didn’t resonate. Because the message was drowned out by rants at the media, the families of murder victims, or others. That works when you don’t face opposition, or face Wes White — the Andy Johnson of the Republican Party.
It doesn’t work when you face Melissa Nelson.
HANS TANZLER III
I had an interesting conversation with Tanzler before he became a candidate. He was quiet, soft-spoken and credible.
Then he launched his campaign, and dude was serious. Spent nearly a million dollars — $400K out of his own pocket.
And what did he do with that money? An ad with him on horseback, brandishing a shotgun and hollering, “Mr. Obama, we the people say get out of our town.”
A reader of this magazine said it evoked Klan images; perhaps the less-explicitly Klanny — but similarly loaded — evocation is that of the dreaded Sundown Town.
Tanzler may have been the most inauthentic candidate of this cycle, running a Ted Yoho gimmick that likely was tailored to bluehairs and rednecks.
By the end of that spectacular flameout of a campaign, his team was reduced to flame wars on Twitter with lowly bloggers who wrote up fundraising reports.
Meanwhile, Lake Ray —who couldn’t raise money, who got screwed over by the party he chaired just months ago in its official straw poll — surged past Tanzler in the polls, neatly mirroring Ray’s performance at straw polls.
Ray and Tanzler cannibalized each other, and the anti-Rutherford vote. If Lake Ray had Hans Tanzler’s money, he might be headed to D.C.
I like Corrine Brown — a lot. I always hear it from people when I say that. But I have no illusions about politicians. They aren’t going to expand my civil liberties. They aren’t going to curb entitlements. They aren’t going to lower the deficit or stop inflating the money supply.
So at least they can entertain.
And Corrine delivers when it comes to that.
As I wrote last week, after the TV debate between Congressional candidates, Corrine went off on me for asking about her charges regarding One Door and which of her cronies/compatriots was actually responsible for the 46 pages of documented malfeasance in the indictment.
She compared the indictment to a verbal charge against a reporter of being a “pedophile.”
Then she doubled down on the metaphor the next day in an email to the Florida Press Corps — an interesting move.
You won’t believe what happened next, though.
In court last week, I was sitting behind her. She got up from her table, came over, and said that she didn’t really mean what she said, regarding me.
It was an apology. I told her there was nothing to forgive.
Corrine Brown has a long legal struggle ahead of her. And a lot of what she says comes across as BS, especially statements related to One Door and the redistricting case that came before it.
But I’ll say this for her: On some level, she keeps it realer than almost anyone else.
On another level, though, she faces serious charges that she should seriously consider pleading out of before she loses her congressional pension.