Desperation, Disaster and Dirty Tactics: the Campaign of Terry McAuliffe

Dark money king Marc Elias, of Steele dossier fame, was hired by the lagging campaign of Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia in a desperate move.  As Professor Jonathan Turley wrote:

It is worth noting that it is not just Professor Turley that questions Dark Money Marc Elias’ ethics as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld disciplinary sanctions against Elias in another election law case. 

But what is Terry McAulife buying with Dark Money Marc?  So far legally and politically, it is of questionable value.  His first expensive effort was to ensure the post office delivers the mail, as it was already doing.  As Jessica Furst Johnson put it:

Maybe Terry McAuliffe’s campaign is having second thoughts having Elias involved.  When Fox News wrote a story questioning Elias’ hiring, the desperate McAuliffe campaign made another mistake:

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe's campaign raised eyebrows by spending nearly $60,000 to hire a high-profile attorney known for masterminding election-related legal challenges.

When Fox News sent the campaign a request for comment, the McAuliffe campaign scrambled to "kill" the story, according to emails mistakenly sent to Fox News. . . .

Elias had formerly worked as a partner at the law firm Perkins Coie, which the Hillary Clinton campaign hired in 2016 in order to conduct opposition research on Donald Trump – research that included the infamous Christopher Steele dossier. Republicans have accused Elias of lying to hide the Clinton campaign's role in funding the dossier.

House Republicans accused Elias of having a "serious conflict of interest" when he represented Iowa Democratic candidate Rita Hart in her effort to overturn the results of her extremely narrow loss to Republican Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks.

Fox News reached out to the McAuliffe campaign for comment following a suggestion by George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, who wrote that McAuliffe hiring Elias is an "astonishing move." McAuliffe spokeswoman Christina Freundlich responded to the email with a message apparently meant for colleagues, not for Fox News

"Can we try to kill this," Freundlich wrote.

This is not just a recounting of ethically questionable and imprudent decisions.  The Real Clear politics averages of polls show Terry McAuliffe’s challenger Glenn Youngkin with a narrow lead.  Former DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe has a long history of not accepting election results, even this month saying Stacey Abrams was elected Governor of Georgia.  Should Youngkin win, we hope that McAuliffe and Elias will accept the results of the election.  However, given Elias’ ethical history and McAuliffe's failure to accept election results, we are not optimistic.