Sometimes candidates take the term “running” and apply it entirely too literally.
In 2010, failed Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle — who had ongoing issues with avoiding the media — agreed to field questions from reporters. It didn’t go well. As reported by the Las Vegas Sun:
In the warehouse of a family-owned clean diesel manufacturer in Sparks, Angle delivered a three-minute speech on her desire to permanently repeal the estate tax. When invited by the final speaker to stay and answer a few questions, she turned on her heel and rushed out a back door with a small cadre of staff members.
Reporters, including one who is six months pregnant, chased after her, calling out questions on unemployment benefits and other topics she has largely refused to address.
Seriously. After agreeing to talk to the media she had developed a relationship for ditching, she ditched. The scene was absolutely bizarre.
Earlier this year, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Steve King (R-IA) were interrupted during lunch by DREAMers hoping to influence the lawmakers’ opinions on immigration reform. Upon hearing the term “DREAMer,” Paul dropped the hamburger and walked away from the table, still chewing.
And it’s hard to top
Massachusetts New Hampshire GOP Senate hopeful Scott Brown, who ducked a Guardian reporter Paul Lewis’s questions about contraception by taking shelter in the restaurant’s bathroom.
When Brown finally emerged, jumping into a white SUV that pulled in front of the diner to grab him, campaign staff told Lewis: “You’re getting in the face of people that don’t care to talk to you[.]”
Ducking reporters’ questions is not new; it’s tradition. But it’s a stupid one. And one that generally trails with many, many, many more stories about how the candidate ducked questions by running out side doors, hamburger-fleeing, or bathroom-hiding. Buzzfeed, for instance, published an article entitled “7 Places Scott Brown Could Have Hidden (Other Than A Bathroom) To Avoid Hobby Lobby Questions” just days after Brown’s misguided adventures in avoidance.
The fallout is most always worse than just answering the question.
Last night, Alaska’s GOP Senate candidate attempted another vanishing act after Wednesday night’s fish policy debate in Kodiak, when KTUU reporter Grace Jang asked how much support Sullivan’s campaign was receiving from the Koch brothers.
The multi-billionaire heads of Koch Industries, Charles and David Koch, are mentioned in the majority of pro-Begich campaign ads and Alaska Democratic Party press releases, maligned both for their decision to shut down the Flint Hills oil refinery in North Pole and for heavily involving themselves in Alaska’s senate race, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars attacking Begich through Americans for Prosperity — a SuperPAC the Kochs helped found.
Jang asked Sullivan — who’s no stranger to issues with the media — how much backing he was getting through the Koch brothers, to which Sullivan had difficulty piecing words together:
“Look, um, we’re getting broad based support from Alaskans first and foremost. That’s where I’m focused on in this race. And getting out the message with regard to what we’re doing in this race.”
Then, before any sort of follow up, Sullivan’s lifeline — a seemingly nine-foot tall staffer who suddenly remembered they had somewhere they needed to be immediately — took him by the arm and escorted him out of the room. All of a sudden.