by Max Brantley
Does admission of extracurricular dalliance doom Dustin McDaniel's gubernatorial campaign?
The Fix political blog at the Washington Post wools the issue around, comes up maybe/maybe not. Conclusion:
Remember the story about Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) billing taxpayers for travel on her private plane that surfaced early in the 2012 cycle? It became an afterthought by the end of her race as the controversy surrounding opponent Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) dominated the conversation.
Now, the Missouri race was a unique contest, and it’s not a certainty that other issues will overshadow McDaniel’s inappropriate relationship down the road in the campaign. But the fact that it came out in December 2012, as opposed to say, a month before Election Day, is relative good news for McDaniel.
My thought is that McDaniel is at risk as much, if not more, for his choice of companion than for a moral lapse alone. Continuing news coverage of his friend Andi Davis' messy personal and professional life seems likely to continue to underscore that. The news already underscores McDaniel's reputation for impetuousness. And arrested development. And questionable judgment.
The news has certainly made Democrats nervous. Nervous enough for some establishment figures to cast about for ideas on other potential candidates. No Bill Halter doesn't count because he's less well-liked among the Democratic political establishment than McDaniel, who isn't universally beloved. Love didn't matter when he had $1 million in the bank, a fairly clear path to the nomination, a strong office platform for free media and a demonstrated yen for campaigning. Now he has at least a few painful public appearances to endure before we'll have a sense of whether he has a Clintonian touch for soldiering on.
Republicans aren't even much trying to suppress their sniggering. Understandable if not advisable. There are sexual skeletons in a few closets on that side of the aisle, too.
PS — Speaking of sniggering: A spokesman tells AP that McDaniel and Davis never discussed the lawsuit over the school choice law in which she was a lawyer for the plaintiffs. McDaniel's office defended the state statute, which has been struck down. No. I'd guess interdistrict school transfers were not high on their agenda during their private "interaction."