What does kindly Uncle Scotty ask all candidates who embark on an intra-party challenge of an incumbent in local politics?
That’s right: “What is the incumbent of your own party doing so wrong that you think he/she deserved to be replaced … replaced by you, that is?”
Hard to believe so few of the contenders can, or are willing to, answer that seminal question. But it happened again yesterday, when a candidate announced plans to challenge U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th) next year in the Democratic primary.
Based on her positions, it seems she will be trying to outflank Beyer on the left, but doing so these days is kind of like the Germans in WWII trying to outflank the 10-million-strong Soviet Army as it rolled in from the east. Not gonna happen.
I got back with the campaign, asking my seminal question – what’s Beyer doing wrong? – but was met with the usual “we’re focused on what we can do right” or something like that.
Fair enough. But equally fair enough, I’m not going to cover a kamikaze political run, months in advance, if the campaign isn’t going to answer my quite legitimate questions. So we’ll get back to that one after the 2021 races have concluded.
And memo to candidates: You want to know who did a very good job delineating where she believed the incumbent was failing? Parisa Dehghani-Tafti in taking on incumbent Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos in 2019.
The Sun Gazette was not on Team Tafti on that one (in case there was any confusion about that), but we did recognize she was doing a good job differentiating herself from the incumbent. And that, plus a whooooooole lot of outside money, helped her squeak out a victory in the primary.
Other challengers should learn from that.
MAKING A NEW FRIEND: About 10 a.m. yesterday, I waddled out of Sun Gazette World Headquarters and into my car for a quick trip to the grocery store.
Just as the door slammed shut, I heard some rumbling in the back and turned around to find a squirrel desperate to find a way out.
Fortunately, the windows were open (the reason he/she – I didn’t get a good enough look to tell – got in in the first place), so my new little friend found an opening and scurried away, slightly flustered. As was I.
Apparently the squirrels in the neighborhood must know that I keep a big bag of dry cat food in the back seat, to scoop it out as needed for my cat. (I have tried keeping those big bags in the house, and Albert the wonder cat gets a little ravenous when he knows they are there.)
Anyway, I like squirrels and I do not discriminate: gray squirrels, black squirrels, even the occasional albino squirrel, I love ’em all. But I guess I’m going to have to keep the car windows up all the time now. Sorry, furry little friends.
- Scott McCaffrey