Politics is an ugly business, and it usually gets uglier the closer you get to Election Day. This year, however, things feel just a little uglier, and how voters are going to react remains a mystery, especially with so much still up in the air.
Helen Blocker-Adams remains on the ballot for mayor in spite of the humiliation of her financial troubles, and as the fog lifts, the iceberg only seems to be getting bigger. Though certainly enough to sink her campaign, if she doesn’t remove herself from the ballot, the problems stand to be damaging to others as well.
Then there’s Eugene Yu’s mysterious $700,000. Unless that money tree took root, the source of that money remains a mystery. His campaign apparently got it from him, but he supposedly didn’t have it to give.
This, of course, is after that $50,000 in prohibited donations his campaign received earlier in the race, which he chalked up as a rookie mistake.
Now, crooked or inept seems to be the either/or with Yu, neither of which makes him electable.
And then there’s the mud still being slung in Columbia County. A lot of uncomfortable stuff has surfaced about Jim Bartley and there’s a lot more floating around out there, plenty of which is hearsay and a lot of which, even if confirmed, remains more of what people already know – he’s a hothead, he’s made a lot of enemies, he’s made some questionable decisions and he’s not afraid to mix it up, whether he ought to or not.
That’s not to say people aren’t out there trying to throw stuff at Ron Cross, but the difference in just about every case is that the stuff against Cross centers on the way the county has done business, which is not only harder to pin on an individual, even the individual on the top, but is also harder to get people to take as personally as they do the conduct of someone they see looking back at them from a campaign sign.
In the current gloomy atmosphere of disappointment and outrage felt by the voters, there is still plenty of damage that can be done by last minute allegation and innuendo. Nothing new there, but given what’s transpired over the last week, people might be more prone to believe things like Al Gray’s ominous pronouncement that even if Ron Cross is elected, there’s information about to surface that might blow him out of the water.
Maybe he’s got it, maybe he doesn’t. But you don’t have to be a grizzled political operative to be cynical enough to take that with a grain or two of salt. Remember, Marshall Square and Magnolia Trace were both going to be nails in Cross’ coffin, too.
This time of year, crap is crap. Some of it sticks, some of it doesn’t.
All of it smells.