Yesterday, at-large County Council Candidate Brandy Brooks announced that she is “taking a period of two weeks to care for myself and reflecting” in the wake of a “report of a hostile workplace environment caused by me.” Brooks says that “a mediated agreement was developed and the terms of that agreement executed.”
While stating that she seeks “to be as transparent as possible” and decrying “increasingly inaccurate and malicious reports,” Brooks’s campaign has not disclosed more information about the matter.
Campaign Manager Michelle Whittaker let me know via email that she disagreed with my post stating that Brooks “has suspended her campaign.”
I guess Whittaker can say that taking two weeks off is “taking a brief break” rather than “suspending her campaign.” In Dave, a comedy from back in 1993, the White House claimed that the president had “suffered what doctors describe as a minor circulatory problem of the head” after a major stroke. But engaging in self-care and reflecting doesn’t sound like an active campaign. It’s hard to imagine others will be working hard on it when the candidate and campaign manager aren’t.
When asked about the hostile work environment claim, Whittaker explained that: “I cannot add further comment about that at this time. If you have a question about the campaign operations, I may be able to provide more information.”
The campaign has been plagued by rumors regarding its high burn rate—campaign argot for spending money fast—and that it doesn’t have enough left for printing and sending campaign mailers and other forms of voter contact as the primary approaches.
Brooks’s most recent campaign finance filing, filed on February 15, reported $55,227.76 in the bank—significantly below what is normally needed for a viable countywide campaign. Nothing in the media, printing or postage sections of either the January or February filings indicate that the Brooks campaign has prepaid for mailers or much other media. She reported spending a total of $1,803.21 on Facebook ads.
According to these two most recent filings, 61% of $47,178.07 in expenditures were on salaries and other compensation. Payments to MCW Creative, Michelle Whittaker’s company accounted for $7,550.00, or 16%, of the total spent on salaries and other compensation. Besides being Brooks’s campaign manager and a communications professional, Whittaker is also her sister.
Here are the screenshots from the reports:
Whittaker did not respond last night to questions on the total amount paid to her or the cash-on-hand available to the campaign.