Tales from the Campaign Trail

Candidate quality can matter.

Majewski’s campaign said last week that he was punished and demoted after getting in a “brawl” in an Air Force dormitory in 2001. Military records obtained since then by The Associated Press, however, offer a different account of the circumstances, which military legal experts say would have played a significant role in the decision to bar him from reenlisting. They indicate Majewski’s punishment and demotion were the result of him being stopped for driving drunk on a U.S. air base in Japan in September 2001.

[…]

Since starting his campaign to unseat longtime Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Majewski has repeatedly said he was a combat veteran who served a tour of duty under “tough” circumstances in Afghanistan. By his own account, he once went more than 40 days in the country without a shower due to a lack of running water. 

His story came under intense scrutiny last week when the AP, citing military documents obtained through public records requests, reported that he did not deploy to Afghanistan as he claimed, but instead spent six months based in Qatar, a longtime U.S. ally, where he helped load and unload aircraft.

[…]

Military records show Majewski’s only deployment was to Qatar. Last Friday, during a defiant news conference, he insisted that he did indeed serve in Afghanistan, though he declined to offer specifics because he said the details were “classified.”

I have a friend who did classified work while deployed in Afghanistan, but he can prove he was, you know, in Afghanistan even if he can’t talk about what he did whilst deployed.

It takes a special kind of hubris/stupid to lie about such things, especially in the internet era, and assume that no one will find out.

FiveThirtyEight gives Majewski a 25% chance.

It was billed as a blockbuster, but ended up a flop. If Doug Mastriano’s “big rally” last weekend were a movie, its Rotten Tomatoes score would be in the single digits.

Only a few dozen supporters joined the Republican state senator on the steps of the Capitol building in Harrisburg — some of them members of a local militia group.

The photos looked bad, because it was bad. The press coverage? Brutal.

[…]

On Monday night, Mastriano’s campaign posted on Facebook a photo of two hands under the words “40 days of fasting & prayer” with the dates Sept. 29 through Nov. 8 — Election Day. “Interceding for our elections, our state, and our nation,” it stated, along with a verse from the Book of Isaiah.

“Starting in a few days,” Mastriano wrote in the post. One Facebook supporter responded: “It’ll be my honor to fast with you.”

While I hate to question a person’s sincerity, this just sounds to me like a cynical attempt to reach out to a particular set of voters. I am having a hard time seeing most Americans, let alone a politician in the middle of a campaign, engaged in 40 days of actual fasting.

The whole piece is, to borrow a word from the quote above, brutal.

FiveThirtyEight gives Mastriano a 5% chance.

Dixon’s campaign has spent just $25,000 on paid ads since the primary. Her campaign’s last finance report showed her with $523,000 on hand, compared to Whitmer’s $14 million. And the two most recent polls have shown Whitmer leading Dixon by double digits.

[…]

A political novice best known for her work in conservative media before running for governor, Dixon surged to the front of a cluttered GOP primary field after two leading candidates were disqualified and Michigan’s influential DeVos family bankrolled a super PAC to support her. Trump’s last-minute endorsement helped close the deal. 

“Tudor Dixon would be a much stronger nominee today if she won on the strength of her own candidacy,” said John Yob, a Republican strategist who advised the two disqualified candidates. “The famous lesson is that it’s better to teach them to fish than to buy them a fish. Now we’re at a place where she can’t raise enough money to run a real campaign and somebody has to decide whether they’re going to come up with the $10 million or so it would take to make her competitive.”

Trump is coming to town to do a rally this weekend.

FiveThirtyEight currently gives Dixon a 5% chance.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2022, US Politics, , , , , , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Heh. I wonder why so many Republican candidates are little more than con artists. Actually, no I don’t. If your sitting at the Republican poker table, you’re the mark. So is the guy to your right, the lady to your left, The 2 sitting across the table from you…

    Trump is coming to town to do a rally this weekend.

    But support her with a little money? That’s what suckers do.

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  2. Sleeping Dog says:

    The R’s have squandered numerous opportunities by nominating knaves and fools, but it is what should be expected from a political party that hasn’t been serious about governing for at least a decade.

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  3. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Actually, I assumed the opposite. I’m sure her campaign or some other entity is paying his “expenses”.

    That was one of the ways Trump was able to afford that private jet for so long. Trump shows up for a one hour meaningless meeting about a “deal” some sucker is investing in then heads off to a golf date? That sucker didn’t realize his investment just paid for Trump’s jet to fly him out and play golf somewhere.

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  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: He never does anything without first asking, “What’s in it for me?”

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  5. Kathy says:

    Via the The Philadelphia Inquirer: As campaign struggles, Doug Mastriano plans ’40 days of fasting and prayer’

    Isn’t it too late for Ramadan?

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  6. Chip Daniels says:

    A field of candidates filled with con men, googly eyed lunatics and fanatics is the inevitable result of a party which has abandoned any philosophy or ideology in favor of resentment and grievance.

    The benefit of this (to the party) is that grievance based politics doesn’t demand skill or ability to govern; No matter how incompetent or corrupt a candidate or official may be, there is the core base who will reliably vote for them no matter what.

    The downside is that it becomes impossible to attract new voters or broaden the appeal because ordinary people are repulsed by the dregs on display.

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  7. Argon says:

    Candidate quality can matter

    “Terrible” is a quality.

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  8. @Chip Daniels:

    No matter how incompetent or corrupt a candidate or official may be

    Worse, the incompetence just proves how ineffective government is!

    @Argon: Indeed.

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  9. mattberniuS says:

    Candidate quality can matter.

    Wait a second…

    Steven, are you using these as counters to arguments that the Republicans are a cult and will vote en mass for anyone who gets on the ticket regardless of who they are?

    Nah, that couldn’t be. It’s clear that these folks have failed to get the support of all of those independent(tm) voters I keep hearing so much about.

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  10. RWN says:

    Gandi’s longest fast was 21 days. I fasted for about a month once; no solid food, but milk for at least the last week so I would not die. Maybe he means no Froyo or Crudités for 40 days

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  11. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @RWN: Hey! If Jesus can fast for 40 days and 40 nights (Matt. 4:2), certainly Mastriano can! After all, what’s so special about Jesus anyway?

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  12. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..special
    There’s really no good way to know since Jesus never wrote anything. My understanding is that the earliest writings about Jesus are from at least 30 years after he died. How much of this was recorded by first hand observers? I suspect much of it is second hand information at best.
    Unless there are Fox News reports by Tucker Carlson about the resurrection “on the ground from Jerusalem” I ain’t buying it.

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  13. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Unless there are Fox News reports by Tucker Carlson about the resurrection “on the ground from Jerusalem” I ain’t buying it.

    The beauty of believing in agency is that you don’t have to and others don’t need to get upset that you don’t. I wish more evangelicals actually believed in agency instead of just saying they do. [sigh…]

    As to why you’d be willing to believe “on the ground” reports from Tucker Carlson, I got nuthin.

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  14. Jay L Gischer says:

    You know, “fasting” is used to describe a whole raft of behaviors not all of which entail total abstinence from eating.

    I mean, observance of Ramadan is known as “fasting” but you eat once the sun goes down.

    But man, there’s definitely a “look at me! I’m fasting!” thing here. Kind of the opposite of “doing good in secret”.

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  15. Franklin says:

    Anyone else see the name Doug Mastriano skimming through this post and get reminded of a more beloved Doug (RIP)?

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  16. Franklin says:

    Also: I live in Michigan, and not until this post did I even realize Tudor Dixon was female. There is zero visibility for her, and she should have zero chance against “that woman from Michigan.”

  17. @Franklin: Yes, this has happened to me any number of times.

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  18. MWLib says:

    @Franklin: I am also a Michigander, and the RepuliQan candidates for several offices are…awful. One writer here described Tudor Dixon’s campaign as a “pretty spirited campaign for a local school board”. The congresscritter R candidate (to replace Peter Meijer) is on record as writing that giving women the right to vote was a big mistake, and that women tend to vote for more authoritarian governments. With a little luck, the Democrat will win and represent this district as the first D in over 60 years. She’s running an actual, you know, campaign.

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  19. Matt says:

    @MWLib:

    The congresscritter R candidate (to replace Peter Meijer) is on record as writing that giving women the right to vote was a big mistake, and that women tend to vote for more authoritarian governments.

    Wow I didn’t think that level of stupidity existed outside of /b/.

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  20. Kathy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    But man, there’s definitely a “look at me! I’m fasting!” thing here. Kind of the opposite of “doing good in secret”.

    What, didn’t Jesus say to flaunt your piety so you’ll be known as the humblest man in the world and damned proud of it?

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  21. Kurtz says:

    @Matt:

    Wow I didn’t think that level of stupidity existed outside of /b/.

    Ha. You are referencing a group of posters who named themselves /b/tards. Then, after somehow entering the political zeitgeist, gained enough followers irl to the point that it captured one of two viable political parties.

    Ben Kenobi had a quote about this, I think.

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