Newbie candidate David Trone is making waves again, this time apparently with a little ham-handed political espionage.
Kathleen Matthews’ campaign for Congress on Tuesday accused newcomer opponent David Trone of trying to plant a volunteer in her office — a remarkable allegation in one of the state’s most closely watched primary contests.
In a letter to the Trone campaign, Matthews campaign manager Ethan Susseles recounted how a man named Joseph walked into their offices on Monday offering to volunteer. Matthews aides became suspicious when he returned from his canvassing assignment too quickly, and then tried to access the campaign’s senior staff office.
The man, whose last name was redacted from the letter, had identified himself on a social media website as a field organizer for Trone, the wealthy businessman who entered the race last week.
“We are very disappointed that this occurred yesterday, not only because it is unethical, but also because it came less than 24 hours after David called Kathleen and personally pledged to run a clean, positive campaign,” Susseles wrote.
But this is politics, David, not business, and the rules are a little bit different. But I’d like to think that even in business, nobody is dumb enough to send an actual CAMPAIGN STAFF MEMBER to infiltrate an opposing campaign. Any possibility of denial goes out the window in that situation.
Trone may be a pro at business, but this was a decided episode of political amateur hour. And his response was equally clumsy.
Trone told Bethesda Magazine he was not aware of the allegations, or the staff member.
“It’s certainly nothing I would ever condone, that’s for sure,” Trone told the magazine. “It sounds like somebody is struggling over there and they’re mad about the money we’re spending on TV and radio.”
That’s at least twice now he’s taken a page from the Donald Trump playbook. And not the shrewd, how to get free media pages, but the less popular, how to make everyone hate you pages.
And it leaves Trone in a bind. If he truly doesn’t know what’s going on, he has to investigate. And when he “finds out,” he has to take action, because surely, surely, this boneheaded maneuver wasn’t sanctioned by anyone important. No, of course not. So he’ll have to fire the staffer to show he doesn’t tolerate such behavior. Who was, in the real, world, just doing what he was told, however badly he may have actually done it.
Read the letter and look with wonder upon what has become of the supposedly genteel and principled practice of politics in Montgomery County. Which really haven’t been that genteel - if ever - for a very long time. But most people aren’t this stupid in the way they do it.
84 days to go. Lovin’ every minute of it.