Tuesday, August 22, 2006

When a scandal hurts. . .

Steve Huffman really stepped in it with this story. This is a semi-serious allegation as it stands on it's own. However, because of who he is and how he has positioned himself, this could be the death knell for Huffman. Here's why:

1. Huffman is a negative campaigner and a dirt digger. This was well known going into the contest and has shown itself in the primary. His first two television ads appeared to be almost formalities so that he could get to the mudslinging (although I bet he wished he could have the flashlight ad back). There is no one outside of Huffman's mother who would believe that he had nothing to do with the actions of Bill Arnold. It all fits to well with what is known about him and the way he campaigns. I wrote earlier on the Aiken scandal "" A campaign manager is not the candidate, and there is plenty of time to repair the damage and regain momentum." In this case, Arnold (treasurer, not the campaign manager) reflects exactly the actions and stances of Huffman and it will be hard for Huffman to separate himself.

2. The time factor, there really isn't much time to repair the damage and regain momentum. If Huffman had a crack staff (which at this point I am seriously doubting) this sets him at least a week back in terms of managing the damage and regrouping. We are exactly three weeks from the Primary and early voting has already begun.

3. It seriously hurts him if he continues to go negative. Anybody he attacks only has to respond "Have you been peeking into my windows again, Steve?" to deflect the attack. The correct way to deal with the scandal is to refocus the campaign and hit on Steve's positives and issues, and I am not confident that Steve is able to run this type of campaign.

4. The fact that it happened to Toni Hellon is also a huge negative. There would have been plenty of people that showed up to vote for Toni that also would have voted for Steve. This just isn't going to happen now. All of those votes are going to her ex-husband. It also has a lot of people who only follow politics marginally wondering what Huffman was doing spying on Mike Hellon's ex-wife not knowing about Steve's earlier plans to run against her. To these people this entire affair will just sound icky and make Steve look like a stalker.

5. Mike Hellon owns Steve Huffman. Does anybody actually think that Toni just found out last week who was posting the pictures back in April? Her and Mike have been sitting on this information and waited until Steve was hip deep in negative advertising to release it. It was a masterful bit of ju-jiutsu and subtlety that again shows that Mike has been ahead of Steve on every move since the Kolbe endorsement. There have even been rumors that Hellon was responsible for leaking the information on Steve Aiken which again was promptly blamed upon Steve Huffman. It would have been interesting to see this race play out with Hellon getting the endorsement.


Vandy said...

Focus on Steve's positives!!! Framer, what would those be?!

I only hope this doesn't give Toni some sympathy votes in her AZ Senate race. If I can take a quick break from the focus of this blog (CD 8), she needs to go. Al Melvin is the best choice to replace Toni. If she wants to represent LD 26, let her run as an honest Democrat as opposed to a RINO Republican.

Michael said...

Well, I can vouch for Toni being no Democrat. If anything she's a moderate independent. Much to some conservative primary voters' chagrin, however, this is bound to help her in her primary, especially with the female vote, who will strongly sympathize with a candidate being personally violated like this for political advantage.

As for the topic of the post, I'm still convinced that there isn't time for Hellon to catch Graf. It will be close, though, and if gets gets a big injection of funds, he might eek one out. Personally, I think he's the best fit for the district of all the Republican candidates.

But if Hellon and Giffords got the nod there would be a problem, how would anyone tell their signage apart? Have you seen them? It's spooky.

Early on, I was convinced that Huffman had too many advantages to fail, but I was wrong. I didn't consider the possibility that he would do himself in. Steve blew a golden opportunity by being too sneaky for his own good, and by taking plays from the Rovian campaign playbook without having the competence to execute those plays without causing a Watergate.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone considered the possibility that these allegations aren't true and that the Hellons are working some dirty tricks of their own to tank Huffman's campaign?

Just asking. Don't really know anything.