By Adam Pagnucco.
District 20 House candidate Darian Unger has fired his campaign manager for stealing and destroying literature belonging to his opponents. Unger terminated him immediately upon seeing video of the act.
Unger’s campaign began paying John Rodriguez as a campaign manager in November 2017. Rodriguez was profiled by the Washington City Paper’s Loose Lips in 2016 for his work with a firm called District Political in D.C. political campaigns, including fundraising. The article ends with these paragraphs.
Apparently, Rodriguez still has some money to splash out. While LL was reporting this column, Rodriguez called, unbeknownst to his partners, to ask the name of the City Paper employee in charge of ad sales. He went on to ask whether LL would be aware if City Paper suddenly received a lot of money, and pondered how much he would have to spend in ads to gain more “power” to kill stories like this one.
It’s one more offbeat scheme from an outfit that tried to make its name with unlikely candidates. Unluckily for District Political, though, the problem with underdogs is that they tend to lose.
Update, 10 a.m.: According to a District Political statement released shortly after this article was published, Rodriguez is no longer a partner at the firm.
Now to the matter at hand. The video below is security footage from the Silver Spring Civic Center on June 17. At the beginning of the video, Senator Will Smith, Delegate David Moon and House candidate Lorig Charkoudian can be seen delivering lit to a storage area. Smith, Moon and Charkoudian are running as a team in District 20 along with Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins. Unger is a House candidate in the same race. Smith deposits a box of lit on top of other materials and the group departs. Soon after, a man matching Rodriguez’s description enters the room, looks around, grabs the lit box and places it in a dumpster outside.
The District 20 team all went on the record and identified the man as Rodriguez. The team said the lit was worth $600. Your author sent the video to Unger and asked him for comment. Unger replied, “I just saw your email and the video. I spoke with the campaign consultant and fired him immediately. I consider such behavior to be completely unacceptable.”
As of this writing, we are unaware of an apology by Unger to the District 20 team.