October 6, 2007
Oppo-tunity knocks, opens door on candidate's past
And, here we go. One day after the primary firmly established Andy Berke and Oscar Brock as the nominees in the 10th Senate District special election, a news item was written — and appeared in print this morning — about a two-decades-old misdeed by one of the candidates.
I'd say we can chalk this one up as "global strategy, local tactic." If, ahem, you know what I mean. No doubt both campaigns have hired firms to do opposition research ("oppo" in political jargon), but Berke's quarter-million-plus in campaign receipts likely gives him the upper hand in terms of airing the dirty laundry.
The paper gave its article all due appearances of balance by mentioning Berke's record as well, but three parking tickets — all paid, mind you — are all that they could flush out.
Is Brock's dismissed (UPDATE: and expunged) DUI in 1987 a relevant story in 2007? In general terms, I suppose it's good for us to be aware of things like this, if they're still on record, in case the crime were even more serious. Of course DUI is a serious and dangerous offense, but the General Assembly is not immune, as unfortunate as this fact may be, to sitting members being charged with it: former Senator Kathryn Bowers and current members Sen. Jerry Cooper and Rep. Rob Briley come immediately to mind, and I'm sure there have been others. I'm not excusing anyone, but trying to put perspective on a youthful mistake in light of more current problems.
By the way, what's with local GOP chair Connie Weathers' statement that the tale is "troublesome," and the implication that Brock should not have run for the seat? With well-known Republican donors (like, for instance, CBL executives) on the books for Berke, it's not too much of a stretch to imagine that additional Republicans are crossing over. Perhaps I do speculate too much, and the fact is that the local party has elected Brock to several consecutive terms on the State Executive Committee; but it can't hurt to ask questions. For whatever reasons, Democratic chair John Bailes had less to say about this story than did Weathers.
Though it may be painful for the candidate and/or his family,
there's nothing wrong with a story like this coming to light (I wrote that sentence before realizing that the expunge attempt had been successful). However, even though I am admittedly adding to the coverage by pointing to it here, I only bring it up to stress that what I want to focus on in the coming weeks is how each candidate will serve the district — more so, as erstwhile primary contender Travis Layne pointed out to me, the entire state — and not on dated personal histories that figure very little, if at all, into how each will go about helping to solve our present-day issues.
State Senate Elections | By joe lance | 1:50 PM