There has been a lot of political hand-wringing about Paulette Jordan’s campaign staffers abruptly walking out as Election Day draws near.
The political drama has been interesting, but I’d venture to say that few Idahoans will be voting for Jordan or Brad Little based on who coordinates their campaigns. Even fewer people will care if staff members sign non-disclosure agreements, or Jordan’s involvement with the creation of a super PAC for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe.
These developments are newsworthy, because they show signs of disruption in Jordan’s campaign. Jordan didn’t help herself in Idaho Falls by publicly calling out the Statesman’s Cynthia Sewell for doing her job as a reporter. Leave the media bashing to President Trump. The latest upheaval is almost a repeat of what happened just before May’s primary election. So, either she’s a difficult person to work for, or she’s hiring the wrong people for campaign positions.
If Jordan is making poor hires, then she can only blame herself.
But staff turmoil didn’t seem to matter last May when grassroots Democrats came out in droves to support Jordan. Democrats who voted apparently were not bothered by the fact that Jordan did not receive a single endorsement from one of her former legislative colleagues. I doubt if anybody, aside from political wonks, will be giving a sliver of thought about the recent happenings when they vote in November.
In the large picture, who cares?
What matters most in this election is who’s going to be leading this state in the next four years. It’s Jordan’s vision for Idaho, compared to Little’s, and both have distinct ideas about what they want to do. Little is telling folks that the state is on the right path to prosperity, thanks to actions taken by forward-thinking Republicans. Jordan counters that a lot of people are hurting unnecessarily, and Democrats have a better plan.
“The needs of the top one percent already are being addressed,” she told me a few days after the staff resignations. “In the meantime, we’re seeing four-day schooling, lack of resources and teachers getting paid less. As governor, I’d want to make sure that everybody is participating and involved.”
Well…those are some of the things that matter to her. And they go well beyond who is doing her campaign scheduling and sending out press notices.
I’ve always thought that if a candidate does not have confidence in a campaign manager, for whatever the reason, then that person needs to be removed immediately. Disloyalty in any form cannot be tolerated. Campaign managers have no business taking photo-ops with the opponent, as Mike Rosenow did with Little. That bonehead action, by itself, is grounds for firing. And Rosenow would have been fired had he not slipped in his resignation first, along with two other staffers. Good riddance.
“As a CEO of a campaign, you have to be mindful of those who are in this movement with you. Success lies with everyone, but if there’s a failure, then it’s on the leader,” she said.
“We have people who are relying on the future of Idaho to be a better place for their children and future generations,” Jordan said. “We take our role very seriously. People are looking to us to be the drivers of this influence and exchange, and ultimately a change for the better for Idaho. That is a responsibility that is upon us, and especially me.”
Jordan says she’s upbeat about her campaign, more so than a couple of weeks ago. “Everybody is working for the same cause, and it’s positive. I’d rather find out about the problems now, instead of two days before the election.”
I’ve attempted to reach out to the three displaced staffers. One declined to comment on the situation and two others did not return messages. As for Jordan, her focus is on the final weeks of the campaign — which will include some television and a continued high level of activity on social media.
Odds of winning are against her, given the success of Republican gubernatorial candidates over the last three decades. But there’s a certain confidence about Jordan that tells a different story.
Is she going to win?
“Absolutely,” she said without hesitation. “I will be endorsed by the people.”
Now, if she can just get rid of the distractions…
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Chuck Malloy, a Silver Valley native and longtime Idaho journalist, is a columnist with Idaho Politics Weekly. He may be reached at email@example.com.