Thursday, November 1, 2018

The L is also for “Lethargic”

I was at the Wilde Lake Starbucks recently.  Specifically, I was there during the mornings of Early Voting Days 6 and 7 (October 30 and October 31, respectively).

Much to my surprise, District Two County Council candidate John Liao (R) was also there on both occasions.  Was he holding court? No.  Strategizing with volunteers? No.  Talking with voters? No.

On 10/30, he was just sitting there, by himself and on his laptop, for around 90 minutes. I saw him engage with one non-barista the entire time.  I know not every candidate can be outside an Early Voting center at all hours for all eight days, but come on.  With about 2,000 voters a day (many of them District 2 residents) going to the Bain Center alone, how do you spend 90 minutes on your computer nursing whatever was in his cup?  Where is the voter contact?? 

The very next day, he is there again…sitting at a table by himself with his head-phones on.  Mid-morning.  This time we only over-lapped for 30 minutes, as I had business to attend to.  Just zero sign of hustle from this candidate.  Sitting alone by the wall while hundreds of voters are a short jog away is not exactly engaging in “community activities that foster relationships and build trust.”

Where did I pull that language from?  Funny you should ask.  Apparently, the Howard County Republican Party sent out a mailer about Liao that featured an attack on the Democratic candidate for the Second County Council District, Opel Jones. 

Mr. Jones is both highly accomplished and active in the community.  He has been meeting with his neighbors, listening to County residents, and going to community events, for a long time.  What’s more, his hard work and dedication to the District are among the key reasons why he is well-positioned to win.  So why is the Howard County Republican Party wasting money on a mailer that is ostensibly about Liao?  Because they are trying to suppress the District Two vote.  They know that other candidates (most notably County Executive Kittleman) are relying on low turnout in District 2, which is heavily Democratic. So that is why they are engaged in an attempted last-minute smear of Mr. Jones.

Does John Liao condone this attack?  We may never know.  Perhaps I could ask the cardboard cutout of himself that was made for unfathomable reasons.  Maybe the cutout was at the Bain Center while Mr. Liao was sipping on his beverage of choice, grooving to a song on his headphones, a tune that only he could hear. In any event, I guarantee it wasn’t “We Are the Champions.”

One last thing, for some reason, that same mailer name-dropped Board of Education candidate Anita Pandey.  It cited the fact that both Pandey and Liao were multilingual.  Being a polyglot is great…but why did the Howard County Republican Party feel the need to mention Pandey in this particular mailer, half of which was an attack on Opel Jones?  How does she feel about this? 

Very interesting Late Campaign developments.

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