If you’ve been in politics long enough, you’ve been there. Waking up on Wednesday morning, blinking the encrusted tears from your eyes, staring at the ceiling. As grim reality comes rushing back into your brain, you ask yourself: “Did I really just wager my time / money / reputation on a campaign that finished in second place, in a business where there is no such thing?”
Fortunately, politics is a business where comebacks are often possible. Where candidates can reinvent themselves, and where former staffers, volunteers, donors and consultants can always find another campaign that stokes the competitive fire within.
It helps, of course, to leave the field of battle – in this case, the political arena – with one’s dignity intact. A true measure of a person’s character is how he or she handles adversity while in the public eye. Acting like a sore loser on election night is not the final image a candidate should want in the mind of the voting public as he or she exits the stage.
And yet, across Florida, several candidates nominated themselves for the The Capitolist’s Primary Election Sore Loser Award. And now, the results are in.
Representative Corrine Brown – Dishonorable Mention
“You know they’ve been after me for years. Tuesday they won a battle.”
While she doesn’t exactly say who “they” are, she is certainly blaming someone other than herself for her political demise. That’s not the classy way to exit stage left. Still, to be fair to the longtime Congresswoman, she was actually classy in defeat in her remarks toward Al Lawson, which given the circumstances, is reason enough not to award her the Primary Sore Loser Award. Wednesday morning had to be rough on her. In Congress for a quarter-century, she first had to endure a string of courtroom losses over the redistricting issue, then a 22-count federal indictment for conspiracy to commit fraud, wire fraud, theft of government funds, obstruction of justice, filing false tax returns, and making false statements (while the indictment includes 24 counts, two of those are indictments of Brown’s chief of staff, and not her. For a fantastic write up on the subject, here’s a great read from Florida Politics’ AG Gancarski). So, for her, it’s a safe bet that there isn’t going to be a political comeback for Corrine Brown, and thus, keeping it classy has no long-term payoff.
Angela Corey – Dishonorable Mention
The national media has been incredibly cruel to Angela Corey, which may explain her complete disappearance from the public eye over the last 24 hours. A caption on a photo on the Florida Times Union website says:
“State Attorney Angela Corey talks to the media at a results party Tuesday night at the Fraternal Order of Police.”
But after a relatively thorough search, I can’t seem to find any quotes from her conceding defeat or commenting in any way on the outcome of the race. She was soundly beaten by one of her own former staff prosecutors. The classy thing to do would be to publicly wish Melissa Nelson good luck. Maybe she did, and nobody reported it. But she appears to have deleted her campaign account on Twitter, as well as her campaign website. Both have vanished, a good indication that Corey isn’t in the mood to be gracious in defeat.
Tim Canova – Third Runner Up
“I’ll concede that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a corporate stooge.”
Losing is never easy. But firing a part shot is. Still, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Full story here.
Alan and Dena Grayson – Second Runner(s) Up
“The sewer money came in. It clearly had a big effect. That’s what ended up happening. Dirty money wins, and Democracy loses.” —Dena Grayson
Both Dena Grayson and her quick-quipping hubby unloaded both barrels on Patrick Murphy, calling him the dirtiest of words (a “Republican”) and accusing Murphy of running “possibly the dirtiest campaign Floridians have ever seen.” Read more about the Graysons’ disgraceful duet in a story just posted at FloridaPolitics.com.
Carlos Beruff – First Runner Up
“Once Mr. Rubio went back on his word, all the other candidates (being the politicians that they are) ran scurrying for the exits. David Jolly went back to running for Congress, Ron DeSantis went back to running for Congress, and Carlos Lopez-Cantera went back to doing whatever it is that he does, which is basically nothing except collect a check from the Florida taxpayers.”
When one ill-advised comment won’t do, Carlos Beruff posted a 14-paragraph manifesto outlining his ill-tempered disposition following his utterly embarrassing defeat on Tuesday night. What made it truly awful, though, is how he insulted those who weren’t even remotely responsible for his loss, like Lopez-Cantera, Jolly and DeSantis. Of course, Beruff left one name out of the mix: Todd Wilcox. And Wilcox fired back on Twitter, pointing out that Beruff spent big and lost big, but that the real winners in the race were his consultants, Curt Anderson and Melissa Sellers:
@carlosberuff spent big and lost big. Curt Anderson and Melissa Sellers won at plus $1 million.
— Todd Wilcox (@ToddWilcox2016) August 31, 2016
And now, it’s time to introduce our winner. Drum roll please…
Jason Maughan – 2016 Sore Loser Award
“We faced a genuinely bought and paid for bad person in our current State Senator, with unlimited money from out of county and a fawning cowardly media that refused to interview me even once about the issues and blocked any chance for debate or head to head.”
I know what you’re thinking. The quote above isn’t that bad. But that quote is just the beginning. This guy published his own manifesto, similar to Beruff’s. The guy is accusing LizBeth Benaquisto of nothing short of corruption, and refuses to consider the possibility that, just maybe, spending his resources on a campaign boat might not have been the best way to reach voters.
Last time I checked, exactly no voters lived in the ocean around Sanibel Island, and cruising around in a custom speedboat emblazoned with a hybrid sand-dollar / USAF roundel logo wasn’t the most efficient way to find voters.
Then again, maybe the guy knows something I don’t. In his manifesto, he makes some big promises about a scheme he cooked up in the wee hours of the night after his crushing defeat.
Here’s a few more gems:
“Let me assure you my friends, we shall not be slinking off to lick our wounds, we are greater than before and we shall press on to a victory over those who would threaten our culture and community.”
And my personal favorite:
“…if we had had six months she [LizBeth Benaquisto] would have zero votes; I intend to give her that experience. My team and I sat up last night and drafted a multi front battle plan to move forward for clean water and real conservative values. Please stand by as we convert this page to that end. Once more unto the breach dear friends…”
That’s right. Jason Maughan, sore loser that he is, intends to hold LizBeth Benaquisto to ZERO votes next cycle. ZERO. He and his friends drafted a “multi-front battle plan” and best of all, he’s going to convert his Facebook page and share that plan with us all.
I predict the plan calls for more campaign boats. Lots and lots of them.