If Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andy Gronik’s first decision as a would-be politician was hiring his campaign manager, you’d think he might have wanted to Google their name first.
Every person who has ever been a paid campaign worker has something in their career they’re not proud of. Some have made small mistakes they hope they can laugh about years later trading stories over drinks. Some have seen minor screw-ups get blown up into national scandals. Others have made mistakes which eventually torpedoed their candidates.
Then there are those willing walk into the fires of Hell when every single warning sign is telling you “DO NOT ENTER.” For Gronik’s campaign manager Maura Tracy, that happened in 2013. It was at that time she served as a “Senior Staffer” to former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s bid to be mayor of New York City.
Yes, that Anthony Weiner; the same who resigned from Congress in 2011 over a sexting scandal only to try to resurrect his political career with the aforementioned mayoral run in 2013. That too collapsed when a second sexting scandal erupted, imploding Weiner’s candidacy once and for all.
How do we know she was a “Senior Staffer” for the Weiner campaign? Well, it’s not listed on her LinkedIn page. It’s because it says so in cast listing of the IMDB page for the award-winning 2016 documentary “Weiner” which documented the 2013 scandal as it happened.
Tracy would later discuss some of the goings on with what happened in the Weiner campaign in an article for UW-Madison alumni who have worked in politics about how social media has changed campaigning. Here’s what she said:
In 2011, married New York congressman Anthony Weiner was accused of using Twitter’s private messaging feature to share sexually explicit photographs of himself with multiple women. Weiner tried, at first, to claim someone had hacked his phone, but he eventually owned up, apologized, resigned from Congress, and swore off sexting. Two years later, more evidence from those indiscretions surfaced during his campaign for mayor of New York.
[Maura] Tracy, the UW alumna who is a veteran of several campaigns, was a senior staffer on Weiner’s mayoral campaign at the time. The former congressman had launched his campaign by owning up to his previous transgressions and promising a fresh start. “He really thought about the best way to handle that, because it’s a very public part of him now, no pun intended,” she says.
Once Weiner apologized yet again, Tracy says he followed “classic communication 101” by trying to change the conversation and resumed unveiling his ideas for the city of New York, but by that point, voters had stopped listening.
Following the Weiner campaign’s implosion, Tracy stayed in New York politics working for a Manhattan-based public relations firm with ties to the Democratic Party for three years before returning to the world of campaigns. Most interesting is that in the firm’s announcement of her hiring, they only mention her being on a “high profile New York City Mayoral Campaign.”
Maura Tracy, Associate, Grassroots, New York
Maura joins GSG from the glitz and glamour of being a Senior Staffer on a high profile New York City Mayoral campaign. Prior to this, she worked for the DCCC in Illinois’s 10th congressional district. Additionally, Maura has directed many field campaigns for congressional races throughout the country.
Prior to being hired by Gronik to run his campaign, Tracy managed the campaign of Minnesota congressional candidate Terri Bonoff (D-Minnetonka). Bonoff was a sitting state Senator in Minnesota who challenged Republican U.S. Representative Erik Paulsen of Eden Prairie for the state’s 3rd congressional district.
Paulsen defeated Bonoff by a margin of 56.7 percent to 43 percent in the November 2016 general election.
One of the first decisions a candidate must make when running for public office is who they hire to manage their campaign. What does it say about Andy Gronik’s judgment when that first decision is to hire someone so willing to enter into a political mine field owned and operated by the likes of someone like Anthony Weiner.