[UPDATE: It appears Mr. Halcro took down his blog post. Apparently he didn't agree with his accusations either.]
To start off the week in questionable campaign political coverage, former gubernatorial hopeful and two-term State Representative Andrew Halcro took to his blog on Monday, going after State Senator Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage).
McGuire has been in the news a considerable amount lately. Reelected for the first time in 2010, the State Senator did not escape the wrath of redistricting. She now fights to retain her seat representing the newly crafted District K – comprised of parts of midtown and south Anchorage west of the Seward Highway. Often described as a “moderate” Republican, and part of the bipartisan working coalition in the state senate, McGuire faces opposition from the right in the primary, and – should she clear the first hurdle – a seemingly weak Democratic Party challenger in November.
Sen. McGuire’s name has been a popular one on the media’s political play list all summer. She’s a formidable campaigner, raising nearly five times her in-party opponent and 62 times her Democratic challenger by the end of July. Her primary opponent, Jeff Landfield, leaked a tape of a fundraiser at the Petroleum Club to Alaska Dispatch, where she introduced a “challenger fund” coordinated by the state GOP and the Governor aimed at winning a Republican majority in the senate.
And, in a nod to the bizarre and unhelpful, McGuire sent out a press release in mid-August announcing that over $1,700 worth of her billboard-styled campaign signs had been stolen.
Acknowledging the commonplace of this sort of behavior in the lead up to an election, the state senator took it about ten leaps further and all but named Landfield as the culprit, stating that such a theft “shows a coordinated and deliberate effort.” Because of the value of the theft, McGuire was lobbing the charge that her opponent was guilty of a felony.
Leaked tape recordings and wildly pointless accusations are ubiquitous characteristics of what we have come to embrace, tragically, as normal occurrences of the “silly season;” the time where candidates sling mud and hurl campaign rhetoric in desperate attempts to gain traction with undecided voters, fuel passion from decided super-voters and volunteers, while avoiding specific policy statements that they can be held accountable for in the future. It’s the unhelpful period of time that doesn’t do anything for the voting public that precedes the legislative session, which is largely a period of time that doesn’t do anything for the voting public. But it keeps getting more and more ridiculous. It encourages those who feel disenfranchised and unrepresented to remain apathetic, as they struggle to acknowledge government’s relevancy to their lives.
Today, Andrew Halcro decided to pile on. His addition, however, is hard to dismiss as part of the arbitrary silliness that we should all wade through as we cling to the belief that something meaningful will come out of it at the end.
Lesil McGuire’s crime, according to Halcro, is that she is an alcoholic, in the downward spiral of an “alcohol fueled meltdown”.
Halcro describes how, during his tenure in the House, she was mocked in legislative skits as a drunk; rehashes a near-decade old case of McGuire and then-boyfriend Tom Anderson getting into a public squabble; reminds us of her not-so-awesome behavior on an Alaska Airlines flight in 2008. He reminds his readers that alcohol was the common theme in all these incidents.
When someone doesn’t like a particular candidate and happens upon an internet connection and one too many cups of coffee, many times that person investigates what dirt he can dig up and parade around on his forehead for all the world to see. The final week before a primary or general election traditionally bears the most fertile soil.
Halcro, however, did not simply write the standard purpose-serving history lesson. He instead starts adding his own additions to the archives. He concludes his article by letting us all in on a dirty little secret relating to the present (with possible – read: probable – impacts on the future).
Channeling House Majority Leader Harry Reid, readers are informed of three individuals who have personally reported to Mr. Halcro that McGuire has been showing up drunk to events over the past few weeks. No names behind the people; no specific examples. She is drunk on the job and we need to know about it. Preferably, within moments of heading into a voting booth.
Apparently, Halcro serves on the voluntary citizen “Lesil McGuire Alcohol-Related Activity” subcommittee. Membership is not disclosed.
Coming out for or against a candidate is a civic right we should cherish. Having the credibility to do so (and be taken seriously) in a public setting, like on a blog or in a newspaper, is a privilege. But it requires actually doing so. In this instance, Andrew Halcro did not.
He is an advocate for Governor Parnell’s brand of oil tax reform and has complained before about Sen. McGuire’s measured criticism of previous bills. McGuire’s primary opponent, Jeff Landfield, is coincidentally in perfect allignment with Halcro on the matter: Blow up ACES. On August 16, he tweeted: “Sen. McGuire voted for #ACES and refuses to stand with @AKGovParnell on oil tax reform”.
Monday’s post by Halcro exudes the tone of a concerned citizen. The former Republican legislator is concerned about his allegedly wayward colleague, dogged by addiction. But, in effect, he has publicly accused a state senator of being unfit to serve. He has attempted to carve out a way of endorsing her opponent without having to officially spend any of his political capital on the unlikely Ron Paul challenger; without having to stand next to him, or even in the same room. A last minute declaration of this nature is well deserving of, and should be afforded, the “gutless” label. This is the bargain bin in the basement level of cheap – and personal – politics.
Or, I could be wrong, and he could be genuinely concerned about his representative in Juneau. Perhaps he truly believes an intervention is called for – that she is powerless over a debilitating affliction.
But if the latter is the case, perhaps one could find a better venue to host that discussion than the internet.