I started writing this story in September and let it sit on the shelf until now. This second part is taking some twists and turns. Initially, I thought I would just mention this candidate in passing as a casualty of the smear campaign of the ACA, but now it’s turned into something different. It will be interesting to see where it goes.
You can catch up on Part 1 of this story HERE.
Big Brother – Part 2
Samantha Agnew sat in the desk chair of her suite at the Hartford Downtown Marriott hotel with her campaign manager, publicist and proposed candidate for lieutenant governor. As she looked around at the the pillars of her all-female campaign team she marveled at their ability to bring her gubernatorial campaign from cocktail party chit-chat to her leading in the polls in the state of Connecticut.
The state was solidly blue as was most of the northeast in terms of political leanings, but Agnew knew her platform was dark blue. After all, she had the three strikes that usually spelled doom in the world of politics. She was a woman, a lesbian and a celebrity.
Here campaign manager, Helen Reuben, was a political veteran in the state of Connecticut. She had worked under some of the most successful campaign managers in both state and and national elections including the last democratic presidential campaign that came as close to toppling the heavily favored conservative candidate as any candidate had in the past three elections. Helen was ready to be in charge of a campaign and the results of Agnew’s campaign for the highest office in Connecticut were indicative of what she could achieve.
Agnew’s publicist, Zoe St. Moritz, was her friend of 25 years. She had been with Agnew since her first staring role on the soap opera, Memories of our Life, back in the late 1990s and had followed her through her television and movie successes. She always new the right way to spin events in Samantha’s life so that she came out on top.
Catherine Meyers was the sharp, former state attorney for the State of Connecticut. When Samantha decided to become involved in politics eight years earlier, Meyers had been the first candidate that she had endorsed in her home state of Connecticut. While working in show business, she had endorsed other candidates for Senate and Presidential campaigns, but Meyers was the first candidate where she was all in canvasing neighborhoods and making telephone calls. Meyers had won the state attorney election by a landslide and was not only Agnew’s choice as her running mate for governor, but she was also her choice as a partner in life. The two had officially married three years prior and had an adopted baby daughter named Jasmine.
Agnew contemplated running for office. Her celebrity made choosing the right foray into her first campaign difficult. Obviously, the presidency was a monumental uphill battle with little chance for success. A position in the Senate or Congress, although more realistic and potentially attainable, might find her lost in the sea of others on Capitol Hill.
She remembered that night, almost two years ago, when she sat down with Catherine and explained to her that she wanted to run for governor in her home state of Connecticut.
“You’re serious about this,” Catherine asked. “Turner is in his last term but he’s all but anointed Jameson as his successor.”
The current governor had served for five consecutive four year terms and, even though Connecticut has no term limits for the top state office, at 76, Robert Turner wanted to retire to spend time with his grandchildren. His lieutenant governor for the past two terms was William Jameson, a 45 year-old privileged native of Connecticut who seemed destined to carry on the Turner legacy for the foreseeable future. He had been deemed unbeatable by those in the know in Connecticut politics.
“I am serious. I think change is needed in this state and with my national name recognition and your knowledge of the inner workings of the state, I think we can do it.”
“Of course. You could run as my lieutenant governor. Really, though, we’d run the state together as partners.”
“Partners…interesting choice of words.”
“What do you mean?”
“Do you think the stodgy old state of Connecticut is ready for two lesbians married to each other and running the state?”
“We won’t know until we try. We just need the right team helping us out,” Agnew said.
“Well, I think I know just the person that can help us figure out if this is even possible.”
That was how Helen Reuben became involved. It was the right situation at the right time. Helen was coming off of working for a “close but no cigar” democratic presidential campaign as the second in command to the campaign manager and was licking her wounds. She couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that if her boss had taken some of her suggestions, the outcome might have been different.
Now, a mere 18 months later, Agnew was the front-runner in the election, leading Jameson in the polls by double-digits. That was, until her campaign manager and publicist received an anonymous email with a link to photos and a video.
Helen Reuben had been the first to click on the link. At first she thought the photos and video were doctored or fabricated until she checked with her candidate.
“It was 5 years ago. I had just wrapped a movie in Greece. Practically everyone is nude on the beaches there. I didn’t give it a thought. You remember it, don’t you Cathy?” Agnew said trying lighten the tension.
“I remember. I didn’t know there were pictures,” her partner said, sounding deflated.
“Neither did I. It was probably some American with a cell phone. They’re everywhere.”
“I would be fine with that,” Reuben said, “but what about the video.”
The video, although grainy, showed Agnew giving a topless lap dance to a well known actor.
“That was a long time ago. We were both single and had hit it off when we filmed a movie together.”
“But, I thought you were gay,” Reuben said innocently.
“During that time, I was not sure what I was. I reacted to attention and the fame of the people I was with.”
“The video could be a problem. The pictures might offend the conservative voters, but they weren’t going to vote for you anyway.”
“I’m not sure how they’re different,” Agnew said.
“The video represents you as a distinctly heterosexual woman. Much of your base and the reason for your lead in the polls is the solidarity of the LGBTQ community behind you. That video might shake their confidence.”
“So what do we do?” Catherine Meyers asked the room.
“Well, that depends,” Zoe St. Moritz said. She had been silent until this moment.
“Depends on what?” Helen Reuben asked.
“It depends on the credibility of the second email I received.”
“What second email,” Agnew asked.
“It was from someone who says their deep within the ACA, you know, the American Conservative Alliance. The email said that Samantha was being set up based on orders from their leadership.”
“And you believe the email?” Catherine Meyers asked.
“Well, think of it this way, who else knows about the photos besides us?”
While the team pondered the question, Samantha Agnew finally spoke up.
“I think we should embrace it and use this as a way to fight the ACA. They can’t get away with this. If I were a man, this would be played off as youthful mistakes or an invasion of privacy. As a woman, I should have the same fighting chance.”
“It could get ugly,” Helen said.
“What do I have to lose?” Agnew asked. “I don’t want to turn and run unless…”
“Unless what?” Catherine asked.
“Unless it makes you uncomfortable. I don’t want to hurt our family.”
Catherine rose from her chair, walked over to her partner/friend/running mate and placed her hands on her shoulders as she looked her directly in the eyes. “It will hurt our family more if we turn and run from this. I’m all in if you want to take this on.”
“Then it’s settled. We will have a press conference in the morning,” Zoe said.
The other women nodded in agreement.