Politico is running a story about Martha McSally henchman Sam Stone offering unsolicited advice to a staffer for Ron Barber’s campaign.
The advice wasn’t exactly useful: that Barber was three points down, that the campaign needed to go after independents and Republican women and to campaign against Jesse Kelly on social issues.
The trouble with the advice was it was offered too late to be useful (the Thursday before the election), based on old polling and a bit obvious (what, Barber needs Republican and independent votes in a marginally Republican district? Why didn’t anyone tell us?). The one piece of advice that was different than what Barber was actually doing at the time was that Barber go after Kelly on choice. This was disregarded.
I’ve never met Sam Stone. My knowledge of him is second hand, so whether or not he’s particularly full of himself is an open question. However, there is a tendency for people in politics to want folks to know how smart and connected they are. Some of this behavior is manifested by, well, blogging. Other times, it means running one’s mouth a little too much in an attempt to impress people with who and what one knows.
I’m willing to chalk this up to Stone talking a bit too much out of school. His problem, and it’s McSally’s problem too, is it fits in with a growing narrative among Republican talkers that McSally and her operation may have been a bit too eager for Kelly to lose. There were rumors the weekend before the election about McSally’s campaign encouraging supporters to vote for Barber to set her up for the September primary. I have my doubts that it happened, and even if it did, it could not have accounted for more than a tiny fraction of the 14,000 votes that Barber won by.
Still, the currency that these stories have among such activists can’t be good for McSally. Add that to this latest story and the sometimes thinly disguised disdain that some moderate Republican leaders had for Kelly during the election, and you have the makings of a “McSally torpedoed Kelly” story. Not a good place to start her campaign.
Here’s an indicator: I don’t always check Politico. I found out about this story when it was Tweeted by conservative website Gila Courier with a demand that McSally’s campaign respond.
Advice to up and coming politicos that want to impress people with their insider knowledge: talk all you want, just don’t write anything down.
NB: The Tucson Sentinel has an even more detailed story.