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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

MD-Sen: The Wheels on the Bus Fall Off, Off, Off

Posted by DavidNYC

Yet another key staffer bails as Say Anything Steele's campaign comes apart at the hinges:

In a matter of weeks, Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele lost his campaign manager, offended an audience of Jewish leaders by comparing stem cell research to Nazi experimentation and then confounded a conservative talk show audience by saying he actually supports embryonic research.

Yesterday came more turmoil, as the Republican with the best chance of winning a U.S. Senate seat from Maryland in two decades lost his communications director, Leonardo Alcivar, who resigned.

The public signs of disarray have exposed what campaign insiders confirmed yesterday are even deeper internal problems, stemming from a rift between Steele's longtime loyalists and the professional consultants who trooped to Annapolis to run his first big-league campaign.

As I suggested a few days ago, bringing in the big boys from DC wasn't likely to work. I had no idea it would get this bad this quickly, though:

The lieutenant governor's longtime supporters said yesterday that they have tried to fend off a national GOP "consultant culture" that espouses a cookie-cutter approach ill-suited for Maryland, a state dominated by Democratic voters.

National advisers, however, described Steele loyalists as rigid and unsophisticated about the needs of a campaign of that scale. They said a parochial approach being counseled by Steele aides was destined to fail in a media-driven race that has drawn national attention and could cost more than $10 million before it's done.

And yes, there is justice in this world:

The professional staffers argued that, had Steele been better prepared to face unanticipated questions, he might have avoided the kind of lengthy, stream-of-consciousness reply that left him equating the research to Holocaust experimentation.

Those closely monitoring the race said the resulting firestorm has left some Marylanders, and some national Republicans who have considered pouring cash into his Senate bid, reexamining whether Steele is ready for the race.

Ah, I could spend all day quote bits of this article. Go read the whole thing, and watch an allegedly top-tier Republican campaign crumble to dust before your very eyes.

Posted at 03:01 PM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Maryland | Technorati

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