Doug Gansler's Wishful Thinking

The former Attorney General can't really think his past won't become an issue, can he?

It’s been hinted at for months, but former Attorney General Doug Gansler has formally announced that he will be running for Governor next year.

Gansler, of course, ran in 2014 against then-Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and then-Delegate Heather Mizeur. Gansler finished a surprisingly distant second, receiving only 24.2% of the vote, though Gansler was on the business end of a sustained assault by the Democratic establishment and the Brown campaign in which the establishment effectively napalmed Gansler’s campaign.

Gansler of course carries quite a bit of baggage beyond having handily lost his most recent statewide election. As Attorney General, Gansler ordered his Maryland State Police driver to drive at reckless speed. Gansler made racially charged comments at Brown. And then Gansler was at a beach party in Ocean City with a bunch of underage teenagers who were drinking alcohol.

Gansler, however, seems to think that none of those things are going to matter in 2022:

Gansler, 59, has largely been out of the public eye since 2014, following a rocky run for his party’s nomination for governor. He said now that voters are not interested in past “political shenanigans” that caused that campaign to struggle, such as concern over his visit to a beach party where teenagers were drinking….

….He said he thinks the drama over the beach party, the troopers and the like is in the past and not important to voters now. In meet-and-greets Gansler has been doing in the past couple of months, “not once has any of that political shenanigans come up,” he said.

Denial is not just a river in Egypt, and it seems to be driving the Gansler train right now. I find it hard to imagine the Gansler even believes this when he tells newspapers that his past hasn’t come up when considering that his anecdotal evidence are meet and greets of people who came specifically to meet the former candidate. When Gansler gets into the real world you better believe that this is come up. And we have already seen that Gansler is very sensitive to mentions of these controversies considering he got into a late night Twitter beef with high school students about it before attempting (and failing) to send the tweet down the memory hole without being noticed.

Gansler’s past is what makes it even more puzzling that he decided to get into bed with a guy with plenty of political baggage of his own:

Colin A. Curtis, a veteran campaign manager, will pilot Gansler’s gubernatorial bid — and he is getting advice from Len Foxwell. Foxwell served as chief of staff — and chief political strategist — to Franchot until he was ousted amid reports of an improper personal relationship.

Why on earth would Gansler do this? At the very least, why would he admit it on the record to a member of the media? It’s understandable, without context, why somebody would want to bring aboard the former consigliere to the Democratic frontrunner as a sounding board. However, when that somebody is Len Foxwell that brings up all sorts of questions. When I wrote about Foxwell’s fall in October, I closed by writing that “no politician should ever trust Foxwell ever again.”

By entrusting Foxwell with an advisory role on his campaign, Gansler has already shown the voters that he lacks the judgment to be Governor, notwithstanding all of the other mistakes Gansler has made along the way.

Gansler’s nonchalance at his past foibles is political hubris of the first order. The voters will decide what is and what is not of importance. And if Gansler truly thinks that his misuse of state resources, his inaction at dealing with underage treatment, his comments about Brown, and now his affiliation with Foxwell won’t be issues in the campaign, man does he have another thing coming.