I have nothing against a guy trying to earn an honest living. In whatever field of endeavor. And for someone trying to make their living in political consulting, it's a pretty difficult, competitive business. You need to have some special talents in order to stand out from the crowd. Bring some unique skills to the table.
Allan Kittleman's campaign's doing pretty well in terms of social media presence. It's rare that I open a phone app that doesn't contain a link to a page on the kittleman.com website. And Allan's got some serious FB ads going. You don't even need to click on the ad to open it-- just seeing it gets the message across. And apparently the guy responsible for the Kittleman campaign's impressive online presence is Sean Murphy, once known in these parts as the Gentleman from North Carolina (he's really from Washington DC, originally from Chicago) and his company, SPM Strategies.
And these services don't come cheap. Between mid-June and mid-August of 2014 the Kittleman campaign spent almost $30,000 on SPM Strategies' services, including funds to pay for some field staff. That was about 25% of all expenditures Kittleman made during the campaign finance reporting period from June to August. And SPM is hiring! Or have they hired? Their list of current available jobs is here. Interesting what Sean is hiring people to do, isn't it?
And I would imagine that working for Sean Murphy, your boss would be more of a player-coach. Because he surely doesn't seem to behave like other paid campaign staff I've known in my 25 years of political experience, spanning local, state, and Federal races all over the country, including national campaigns. No, it's been my experience that paid staff stay in the background. They take notes, record candidates, observe the room, and , at their most mischievous, they plant questions in the audience. And they may be involved in more forceful attacks, but generally, those are strategized and executed from the out of the way location of a campaign office. Unless of course, if their job is to be the press secretary or a position clearly in the public eye.
But not Sean. His job is not in the public eye, but he surely gets in the public eye. Or in the eyes of the Watson campaign, starting with the candidate on down.
Three times I have seen this guy. The first time was at the Oakland Mills festival, which I've written about. Second time was last Tuesday at the Baltimore Sun-sponsored debate. At that forum library staff had to move his camera set up twice and direct him as to where to go as if he was about three years old. And then, Sunday evening, Sean made a spectacle of himself at the PTAHC forum, and I've written about that too.
I don't know about anyone else, but I'm a little tired of Sean Murphy and his special brand of excitement. Because November 5, Sean will be in DC counting his Kittleman cash. And regardless of whatever happens, we in Howard County all have to live with each other. And Allan Kittleman has a lot to answer for, by this man's hand.
So far, about the only thing I have heard from the other side about Sunday night's shenanigans were "they started it with the mailers". How puerile. Not a single person has claimed that what happened Sunday night didn't happen. They know better.
And it's the actions of people like Murphy-- heck, let's just say it, the actions of Sean Murphy-- that are threatening to spoil the record of public service of Allan Kittleman, and indeed, tarnish the entire Kittleman name-- and even more. Because now, if Allan Kittleman wins, it's a message that Howard County is OK with campaign tactics where it's acceptable for paid staff to bully and intimidate their opponents.
People come at me with talk about mailers. That because I have been involved in Democratic politics and that I am a Democrat, that I'm politicizing this. At me, the person who has been as critical of politicians and activists of the political party of his registration at least as much as the other party? I'm politicizing this? I'd be disgusted if it wasn't so funny.
A mailer doesn't flash bulbs in your face. A mailer doesn't shout things from the second row. A mailer doesn't bump into people. A mailer doesn't mutter threats at the bottom of its voice. Sean Murphy does these things. I wish him all success in his chosen field, but I have to wonder if he doesn't have some issues to sort out first.
Sadly, I think things might get worse before they get better. I'd expect a full out social media blitz courtesy of Mr. Murphy sometime in the closing days of the election. And they won't be pictures of Allan Kittleman playing with puppies.
Tomorrow, let's learn more about Kevin Forrest Schmidt, shall we? It just keeps getting better.
Let's be careful out there.
#hocopolitics #hocoexec #kittleman #teamwatson