Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Nuclear War in District 19

Roger Manno was warned about what would happen if he ran against Mike Lenett. In November, we wrote:

In 2006, Lenett helped drive long-time Senator Len Teitelbaum from his seat and knocked off two Delegates in the Senate race, producing a possible MoCo record for incumbent removal in one contest. He is smart, tough and well-financed. He also employs David Goodman, a notably aggressive campaign consultant who helped produce Nancy Navarro’s infamous negative mailers in the 2009 District 4 special election.
And in December, we wrote:

…Lenett is a cunning, well-funded incumbent with an ultracompetitive nature. A Lenett-Manno faceoff would be a hell of a barn-burner between two legislators whose policy positions don’t differ all that much.

One more thing: any challenger to Lenett must beware of his campaign consultant, David Goodman. Goodman delights in leaping for the jugular of opponents, and Lenett will be sure to let go of his leash when the time is right.
All of the above can be summarized in this now-legendary image from a Lenett mailer last fall.

But Lenett did not hit Manno with a bat. Instead, he dropped a nuke.

Senator Mike Lenett has constructed the best-researched, hardest-hitting negative website in the history of Montgomery County: The Truth About Roger Manno. It is an exquisitely evil shrine to political destruction. Its gleaming opposition research is matched only by its radiant aura of malice. Many things Manno did not want the public to know about – his former name (Rajah Manno), his college drop-outs, his failed run for office in New Hampshire, even his wife’s career on Wall Street – has now been thrown bloody and naked to the world like a roadside carcass.

But Lenett has extracted another pound of flesh – this one from his own hide. Manno’s ethics filings are fair game. But many will see the references to Manno’s former name, his prior career as a guitar-playing bartender and the criticism of his wife as pure character assassination. What do such things have to do with Manno’s readiness for office? By mounting such a vicious attack on his opponent in a district that does not care for such things (especially in Leisure World), Lenett is taking an awful gamble.

And so who will be destroyed in the hellfire of Lenett’s atomic bomb? Its hapless target? Or its malevolent creator? One will rise from the ashes of apocalypse in a week. The other will disintegrate into political oblivion.