Len Foxwell’s Facebook posts about his former boss and gubernatorial candidate, Comptroller Peter Franchot, have the marks of a kamikaze pilot rather than that of highly skilled political operative trying to rebuild his career after a major stumble.
Almost the least of these attacks was his takedown of a Franchot ad:
Earlier, Foxwell boosted Jill Kamenetz’s devastating video blasting Franchot’s behavior in office and at her husband’s funeral:
But most incredible was his exchange in the comments with Wayne Frazier in which he accuses Frazier of “trying to shake down vendors competing for government contracts” and writes “I have all the receipts.” He later replies: “My prediction is that if Peter wins, you will both end up getting yourselves indicted for extortion.” When asked for evidence that Franchot “screwed taxpayers”, Foxwell replied “Stay tuned.”
This is a stunning turnabout for Foxwell, who was Franchot’s biggest booster right up until his termination.
Regarded by many as Franchot’s political Svengali, Foxwell unquestionably played a critical role in Franchot’s office. First elected as a left-liberal, Franchot rebranded himself as a consumer advocate fighting for the little guy during Foxwell’s tenure as his chief of staff.
This smart positioning is a sweet spot for Democrats that counters an increasingly educated elite stereotype. It has echoes of popular Gov. William Donald Schaefer’s bread-and-butter focus, such as his “Reach the Beach” campaign resulting in new bridges and bypasses that cut beach traffic.
Positioning himself as a public ally of a Republican governor may seem more questionable but remember that Gov. Larry Hogan remains more popular than not with Democrats. While still risky, so many Democrats are fighting for the progressive label that it leaves room in the primary for Franchot. One can’t help but wonder where Franchot might be now with more of Foxwell’s help.
Though understandable from a personal perspective, Foxwell’s attacks make little professional sense, being as likely to inflict wounds on himself as Franchot. Politicians and others surely must hesitate before hiring someone who turned publicly on his former boss, wondering if he might do the same to them. If Franchot was so awful and corrupt, why did Foxwell boost him relentlessly? It makes Foxwell appear hopelessly cynical and unscrupulous, tainting himself as well as Franchot.
Franchot and Foxwell’s detractors, many of whom work at the General Assembly and clashed with both, will enjoy watching.