31st District Campaign Becomes a Smear Campaign

There are nasty campaigns and then there are desperate campaigns, but it’s when those two things converge that political campaigns transform into smear campaigns.

That is exactly what’s happening in the 31st District race as Democrat Elizabeth Guzman not only berates Republican DJ Jordan with false and misleading attacks but she has started viciously attacking her own constituents on Twitter.

This week a 31st District constituent, Brandi Workman, voiced her support for Republican DJ Jordan; Guzman responded by lashing out at her publicly on Twitter. Back in the Spring, Workman, a special education advocate, had considered a run for a non-partisan seat on the Prince William County School Board but decided against it because she didn’t want to take the time away from her young children that a year-long campaign would require.

Apparently, according to Elizabeth Guzman, Workman deciding to put her family’s needs above her own desire to run for office means that she was “too scared to run.” The truth is that putting the needs of others above your own takes its own kind of bravery, something every mother should understand.

This attack is just the latest from the Guzman campaign, a campaign that in no way looks like it is riding a Blue Wave to victory but rather appears to be floundering like a fish on dry land gasping for breath hoping the wave will come and give it just enough oxygen to keep it alive. Guzman’s false attacks against her Republican opponent are crossing the line from political to personal, especially in terms of her attacks on Jordan’s work for at-risk youth in the foster care system.

While serving as a volunteer on the Virginia State Board of Social Services, Jordan was forced to miss a few select meetings for pre-scheduled work travel and to care for his wife who was suffering from health issues. He served on this board for 4 years and missed a total of four meetings, but somehow the Guzman campaign has conflated that into labeling him a “No Show” for our Commonwealth’s foster children.

DJ and his wife Glorya have fostered several children and their youngest child was adopted out of the foster care system so this attack against him seems to be treading dangerously close to a personal attack.  Especially considering that for his final year on the Board, his fellow appointees thought that he was “showing up” enough to unanimously elect him Chairman.

This November was supposed to be 2017 part deux. Democrats were supposed to have cakewalk victories with money flowing to them like beer at a college kegger. All they had to do was mention Trump, call Republicans evil, and their opponents would shrivel and retreat.

Yet here it is the end of October, and a Democratic candidate, who has over a half-a-million dollars of campaign contributions from her state party sitting in her coffers, is spinning out of control. As the old political adage goes, “You can tell a lot about how your campaign is going based on how your opponent is acting.” Right now, Elizabeth Guzman isn’t licking frosting off her fingers.

Politics is a rough business and legitimate policy differences should be brought to the forefront during a campaign. Since candidates can’t expect their opponent to air their own dirty laundry, it is perfectly acceptable for candidates to educate voters not only on their own record but on their opponent’s as well. However, that comparison should be based on truth.

The truth is that DJ Jordan grew up as one of the at-risk youth that his opponent is accusing him of abandoning; as a child, his parents sought out and received public assistance. Helping kids growing up in difficult situations isn’t a political pet project but a life calling because DJ knows exactly what it is like to be a child caught in a vortex of adult problems. Perhaps if Del. Guzman had known that, she wouldn’t have taken this line of attack, but, being that she publicly belittled a constituent for choosing family over politics, that seems doubtful.

The flaws in the state Democratic playbook are on full display in the 31st District. It is clear that they had their narrative written and were planning to drop any Republican into that predetermined story line: Republicans hate kids, hate the poor, hate minorities, and are mindless automatons serving their dear leader in the White House. It would be a campaign built on caricature instead of character.

The Republican Party and some of its candidates have some mind-boggling inadequacies and all too often legitimately fit the buffoonish farces they are portrayed as.

However, the letter next to a candidate’s name does not dictate their entire story, a concept that seems to have escaped some Democrats especially if the Republican candidate didn’t fit the cartoon they are drawing. The danger for Democrats is that once the truth is exposed, it is nearly impossible to get back the trust that they’ve lost with voters. The truth matters and voters have a right to hear it.