“The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.”
– Machiavelli, “The Prince”
Today marks ten days since Charles Lollar’s campaign website was functional. It should be up and running by tonight based on what he told Michael Dresser in a Tuesday interview (the same interview where Lollar incorrectly said the site had only been down four or five days.)
After my original post appeared, the Lollar campaign flipped the switch to unpublish their NationBuilder website at lollar.nationbuilder.com within an hour. It should have been that way all along. And yes, it literally involved just flipping a switch. Here’s what you get now at that link:
If you want to see what their new site is probably going to look like, be sure to see my original story.
As Dresser reported in the Sun story:
But Jeff Quinton, author of the Quinton Report blog, questioned why the campaign didn’t follow the more typical practice of leaving the old site up and making a transition to the new site during a time of little traffic.
It’s standard practice (because it makes the most sense) to leave your old site up until your new site is ready, despite Lollar basically giving a “we meant to do that” response.
Mike Swartz even criticized the Lollar campaign’s website issues.
At this stage in the game, the most valuable introduction to a campaign is their website, which is supposed to serve as a one-stop shop for getting to know the candidate, soliciting donations and volunteers, and keeping abreast of their comings and goings. Certainly there’s a place for Facebook, Twitter, and other social media as well, but I prefer to have all of this information in a single point source and I’m sure others do too.
So I have to question why the Lollar team has had three separate URLs, including a .co which made little sense as a political website. While the other campaigns have registered a fairly simple, straightforward .com address, these guys can’t settle on a site.
Swartz also noted that having no site up is a problem for people researching candidates.
I’ve talked to several other people who do online media and websites for a living, and they all were aghast at the fact the site has been down for so long. There was a lot of laughing about the use of the number 4 in the lollar4governor domain name as well.
One digital director even tweeted about the Dresser story:
— Joe Mansour (@jmansour) October 30, 2013
The website woes are just one example of the general mismanagement problems plaguing the Lollar campaign. I’ve already covered the campaign’s implosion and the fact that it is generally a train wreck. I regularly hear from new contacts who used to be involved in the campaign somehow and are glad they left.
One commenter noted:
I have made numerous attempts to reach out to donate time in very specific ways to the Lollar campaign, to include being told by Charles Lollar to contact the campaign coordinator of my county, to this day I don’t know who it is.
Furthermore the campaign manager has not only isolated me but refuses to return emails or phone calls.
And I’m not the only one who has had this problem.
It seems the campaign manager is doing a fine job of sinkng whatever ship Charles Lollar is on, and He is a great person, but the mismanagement of the campaign is becoming a huge issue.
I at this point in time don’t have time or energy to donate to a sinking ship.
And as long as things stay the way they they are in the campaign, as much as I love Charles Lollar, I can not donate and will not donate my time and energy to a cause that the campaign staff doesn’t deem worth fighting for.
Simple as that.
I’ve heard and seen similar comments from several other people.
Of course there is an alternate view. As Dale Kelley, a Lollar team member, commented:
We are not paid, we are fighting because we believe in the changes that are coming. This requires putting concern over the individual citizens above complete concern over the acceptance of the GOP establishment. Charles Lollar is the ONLY candidate who has a shot at winning the General Election.
I am proud of the people in this campaign, what we are accomplishing and what we will continue to accomplish. I would be happy to talk with you in person. I think our biggest criticism of your approach would be the seemingly lack of balance. We expect the criticism, but where are the posts about the Craig, and George campaigns, both whom have had problems as well, within their campaigns. We do not and will not highlight those issues as we respect the campaigns that they are running, but we would expect you to have some balance in your coverage. Perhaps it is because Charles is the only candidate that generates enough buzz to make a blog worth reading. If so, I understand that.
The sad thing is, that this smacks of the tactics of the other side. To get so bogged down with the minutia of things like the website, dissatisfaction of some with the CM, where plates on the bus were from, that the hopeful message of Charles is drowned out. We are not talking about eliminating the burdens of the O’Malley tax hikes, financial independence as a state from the Federal Government, how to get the ever increasing unemployed Marylanders back to work, and the myriad of other important issues facing our state.
So in final, our web site will be up soon, the internal workings of the campaign are in great shape, and we will continue to pick up supporters from this great state. We love Maryland and want to see the changes that will allow for our children and grandchildren to settle here as well. I believe in the work that I am doing and am privileged to be a part of the coming change.
Mr. Kelley points out that they aren’t worried about “acceptance of the GOP establishment” as if I’m a member of the establishment. That laughable implication wouldn’t matter if it showed an ignorance of reality. If Lollar truly is the “ONLY” GOP candidate with a chance to win the general election, his campaign might want to focus on winning the primary. Otherwise, he will have wasted his chance to win the general election, if that is truly his potential.
I also find it interesting that I’m now getting seemingly random Lollar campaign team members approaching me and offering to talk with me in person. Of course, they did lose two people who were working on communications recently so maybe campaign roles are “evolving.”
From what I’ve heard, the information Kelley, and others like Julie Brewington, have alluded to regarding the Craig campaign derives from some information that was being actively shopped to bloggers and the media by Karen Winterling. I guess I’m just too obscure to be contacted by the Lollar campaign on things like that since I never got contacted. From all I’ve heard about the details of that supposed story, it’s a bit of a stretch. However, if I get information showing otherwise, I’ll be glad to cover it.
And the notion that I have to rely on Charles Lollar to drive traffic to my site is laughable. I write about plenty of other topics and get most of my traffic from places other than Charles Lollar. I have no problems with Charles Lollar personally. I do think he needs to show some leadership over his campaign and rein in an element of his campaign team that is doing more harm than good. The buck stops with Karen Winterling as campaign manager. If she isn’t reminded by the candidate that she works for that her goal is to actually get him through the primary so he can have that chance to win the general election, then it’s ultimately the candidate’s failure of leadership instead of just the campaign manager’s.
Speaking of Karen Winterling – when asked whether she was still with the campaign by Michael Dresser, Charles Lollar punted and refused to answer. That would seemingly indicate things aren’t so happy and shiny inside the campaign, despite protestations that they are. In fact, most people would see that as an indication that Lollar was looking to get a new campaign manager.
Countering that notion was this Facebook post on the Lollar campaign page that was made Wednesday morning (despite the erroneous reference to a “rainy Tuesday morning.”
Getting past the fact that the Lollar campaign apparently has a “special ops” arm, this post would seemingly indicate that Winterling isn’t going anywhere.
“Not so fast my friend!”
In the past, Charles Lollar has said in campaign staff meetings that he doesn’t even read Facebook because he doesn’t have time for it. Others in the campaign take care of the Facebook postings and that is likely the case in the above posting. In other words, Winterling or someone acting on her behalf likely wrote this post and then posted it. Has Lollar read it or seen the copy at some point? If he was totally uninvolved in the post, then it doesn’t really show that Winterling is necessarily anymore secure in her job than she was when Lollar declined to answer regarding her status.
Another point Mike Swartz made was about Lollar being late for a debate:
While I admire Julie’s tenacity in sticking up for her chosen candidate, the question she doesn’t answer is why Charles has missed a number of key events, including the opportunity for free media on Pat McDonough’s radio show last week (for which he ran a few minutes late.)
Lollar was actually 20 minutes late for the debate at WCBM. Swartz apparently missed Michael Dresser reporting that Lollar said he “got lost.” I was honestly skeptical of this excuse at first with the ubiquity of things like Google Maps, smartphones with GPS, and even regular GPS units. However, I then heard that Lollar refuses to use a GPS and that answer made more sense. Either way it shows a failure of planning and advance work.
Swartz also points out that there are certain events that an appearance needs to be made at by a candidate while also pointing out that, of the currently announced candidates, Lollar is the only one who hasn’t ever won a general election.
Swartz also refers to Julie Brewington’s reaction to things by saying:
That light you see on the horizon is all those bridges she’s torching.
As promised, I’ll have more on that later.
One thing that Swartz takes out of context about my original story:
Some, like blogger Jeff Quinton, are comparing Lollar to Doug Gansler – to me that’s way out of bounds.
My exact reference in the post in question related solely to the number of gaffes or self-inflicted wounds that both Lollar and Gansler were suffering from recently. That’s it. It’s spelled out pretty clearly if Swartz wants to go back and read it again.
Of course, Swartz sums up by pointing out one thing that could be contributing to all the screwups:
I think Charles is learning that being a statewide candidate is an entirely different animal than working around a Congressional district.
The Lollar spin machine, led by the man himself in the Sun story, will continue to call me a liar while talking about how robust the campaign is. What exactly am I lying about? What exactly have I gotten wrong? Provide some actual facts instead of just trashing me.
I’m not even taking offense at a politician calling someone a liar, despite the irony. The worst case scenario (in modern times) for calling someone a liar publicly without proof is usually litigation, but I have no desire to go there.
Dum Oderint Metuant
Quinton is a native South Carolinian who has lived in Baltimore since 2006. He is a recent convert to the Catholic Church and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He has been involved in the pro-life movement nationally and locally since 2010.
Quinton is a veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. He is also an Eagle Scout.