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The Clash of the Titans proved Maggie Brooks is a mere mortal.

The woman who’d handily won three terms as Monroe County executive was a wallflower in the campaign. She avoided questions about her positions on issues at the beginning and never recovered. The warm, friendly former TV reporter wasn’t there. Instead, we got a boilerplate Republican campaign straight out of a national consultant’s office.

“She never gave people a reason to fire their grandmother,” said one GOP source. “Messaging to women was too severe. Women don’t respond to negative messaging. You take the best communicator we’ve seen politically, and we never heard from her.”

Brooks not only lost, she lost badly.

Factors contributing to her loss included the Democratic enrollment edge in the district, Slaughter’s support among women, conservative views that don’t play well in moderate Monroe County, the district’s support for Obama, the Democrats’ failure to run strong candidates against her in previous races and the myriad scandals that have surrounded her tenure.

The scandals mattered. Many people said to me they felt something stinks at the County Office Building. Contracts favoring friends (and her husband), the cigar-smoking former airport boss, the drunk diving former airport boss, the trades workers who turned in false time sheets, state audits faulting off-the-books local development corporations and the general aura of machine politics left a bad taste.

Teflon Maggie is sticky, after all.

The buck always stops at the top. I’ve always felt, however, Brooks was held to a higher standard in the press than Democratic officials. If the parking ticket scandal had happened to the county sheriff’s and not city police, it would have been tossed into her scandal pile. But something tells me Mayor Tom Richards won’t be dinged. Democrats are guilty of some of the very same things identified with Brooks’ administration, but they’re not raked over the coals to the same extent. (Anyone want a piece of downtown land for $1 to build luxury condos?) The media coverage of Brooks has been fair, yet there’s been a notable absence of critical coverage of other prominent politicians.

In 2003, Brooks handed former mayor Bill Johnson a resounding defeat in the county executive race. Johnson, fresh off giving his concession speech, climbed onto the television risers for interviews. I said, “I’m sorry, mayor. This must be hard.” He held my hand tightly and looked shaken. A friend predicted at the beginning of the race, “This is her Bill Johnson moment.”

Bill Johnson was licked for his support of metro government. Maggie Brooks was licked for her scandals.

19 Responses to Maggie is a Mortal

  1. It was her handling of the “state of emergency” and the unnecessary evacuation of lake residents at 11:30 pm that made my decision for me. I think that cost her some votes.

  2. November 7, 2012 at 9:00 am Havahd St responds:

    I don’t know if anyone was watching election coverage on ABC, but when they cut to a completely empty hotel meeting room for Maggie Brooks, my roommate and I burst out laughing. The ABC guy said “The room looks a little sparse” and the local anchor said “Well…there’s another room where everyone is gathered”

  3. November 7, 2012 at 9:45 am Orielly responds:

    Funny when a person employed by the county gets a DWI, thats a “scandal” for Brooks that cost HER the election. Yet Susan John, a DEM member of the State Assembly DWI committee no less, got a DWI HERSELF and won re-election numerous times with no “Scandal” branding given.

    Another county employee cheated on his expenses and thats another “Maggie scandal”, even though it happens every day in the private sector.

    Louise did not get funding for the port of ROCH dredged twice in 4yrs, a large boat ran aground, all during a time when her DEM PREZ said there were few shovel ready projects, but thats not a scandal and never EVER mentioned by the press. She also opposed the REN center while Schumer worked with Maggie to get the funding needed.

    Its not as much Louise as it is the press that reports and “brands” or doesn’t report and ignores what is really happening. Its not just the national press that biased, and running with the DEM/D&C narrative and branding of Maggie and not reporting other facts tells “the rest of the story”.

  4. November 7, 2012 at 10:07 am theodore kumlander responds:

    that race baiting message of hate. the republicans were handing out at all the debates never goes over very well in the smarter communities. why do all the republicans seem like nazi foot soldiers.

  5. November 7, 2012 at 10:09 am Peking Humonculous responds:

    “Democrats are guilty of some of the very same things identified with Brooks’ administration, but they’re not raked over the coals to the same extent. The media coverage of Brooks has been fair, yet there’s been a notable absence of critical coverage of other prominent politicians.”

    Now wait just a cotton-picking minute! Are you saying there’s a media bias in Rochester slanted to favor Liberals?! Are you saying that the Democratic leadership in this city is given a pass in the media?! No way! Gee, it’s a real shame you aren’t in any position to do something about that. I mean, it’s not like you’re a reporter who could try to ensure that Democrats’ misfeasances are reported with the same consistency as Conservatives! Too bad!

  6. Louise is such a good candidate and very warm and loving. She is eloquent and willing to talk to anybody. It was a pleasure volunteering for her and many people dedicated hours to her reelection. It is obvious that she touched many constituents too. Maggie in many ways was no where to be seen. That’s what really did her in. Ads about scandals were about the only way people saw her.

    • Lynn e, Louise is not a very warm and loving person, nor is she eloquent and willing to talk to anyone. Years ago, I commuted from Rochester to Mclean, VA, every week. I sat next to her on a plane many times, until she decided that she was allergic to poodles. I had my poodle in her carrier under the seat in front of me, as I did many times before when she sat next to me, and Louise pretended to cough and cough until they moved her to the seat in front of her. Lo and behold she complained again. Now mind you, most of the attendants knew me pretty well by this time, got tired of hearing it and moved her to the back of the plane near the restrooms. LOL, it stank to high heaven back there. She was mean and disrespectful to everyone by complaining. Many people applauded me and my poodle when we landed back in Rochester. She needs to retire already.

  7. Those scandals told me Maggie had risen to the peak of, and probably a bit beyond, her level of competence. Had she gone to Washington, she would have been part of a bloc vote, nothing more. It made sense to reelect Slaughter, one of the ranking members of Congress.

  8. November 7, 2012 at 10:43 am Alfred Neuman responds:

    What is truly a shame is that those of us living in Webster and portions of Irondequoit lost a great congressional representative in Ann Marie Buerkle just because state Senator Mike Nozzolio and his cronies at Monroe County GOP HQ gerrymandered a district so that Maggie Brooks could run for Congress.

    Well Maggie got her clock cleaned at the polls. Nice going Nozzolio and Relich!

  9. Brooks Slaughtered

  10. My thoughts….unless the candidates are absolute losers and turn people off by their personalities, elections in this era are not about the candidate, but about the party. The democrats could have run anybody and the republicans could have run anybody for that congress seat, and the democrat would have won. This was not about Louise or Maggie. I believe if Louise ran against Maggie for county executive, Maggie would win. Outside the city, most people are conservative to moderate. A big time liberal like Louise would not stand a chance. This election was all about the presidential contest. It brought out people to vote who really don’t understand the ramifications of their vote except what the media tells them. I am a firm believer in that a decision based on emotion rather than facts and problem solving ideas will ultimately be the wrong decision. As for Maggie, I really never saw her as having a strong sense of problem solving skills. Louise has demonstrated over the years that she also was lacking in problem solving. Both would tow the party line. Both are puppets to the party bosses. In reality it didn’t matter to us average Joe’s who won. That’s sad. I hope politics eventually rights itself and people who chose to run and get elected will demonstrate some sense of integrity and a interest in solving issues that really matter to our well being.

  11. I’m not sure what OAJ is thinking, but if Louise ran against Maggie for County Exec, Louise would kick her butt.
    The simple fact is Maggies claims of bipartisanship ran contrary to the facts.No Dem bill ever made it to the floor of the County Legislature, and Maggie bears the brunt of that failure.
    Her administration has been a fiasco, and she needs to go away so the county can move forward in a conciliatory fashion.
    The media has nothing to do with her demise. It was all her and her advisers. The media just reported the facts.

  12. Jim, I respectfully disagree. When Bill Johnson ran, it was a landslide for the republican. Was it Maggie against Bill or republican against democrat? As for bipartisan action in regards to any bills the democrats put forth, what bills did they put forth that made any sense? Name one. Unfortunately, it seemed to me that the bills put forth for consideration were going nowhere on their own merit. They were only submitted to substantiate a lack of bipartisanship. I’m not really an expert in politics nor do I consider myself far right, but it sure seemed obvious to me that is was strictly games being played. I don’t like games when it comes to the future of my grandchildren.

  13. I agree with OAJ Maggie would beat Louise for county exe. On experience alone at that role.

  14. November 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm Orielly responds:

    Maggie did REN with DEM Schumer supporting. Only the biggest project proposed to solve the problem that is Main St. (hows that DEM midtown Plaza development working?)

    IF built REN would be in place now and saved us Millions and used less taxable land than what we will get with MCC DT the Bus Station and the RBTL if that ever gets built.

    Louise, Duffy and City council played politics and games and took no stand on REN for or against for 4yrs while Maggie got Schumer’s approval and DEM funding in Congress. She had the plans drawn up and hosted open discussions. In the last 60 days DEMS came up with their own plans none of which worked and then wanted to fly to WASH. to save it. Louise wanted an intermodel station that would service the needs of less than 50 people a day who used the train and city buses. Louises plan would also move the 1000s who use the bus daily too far off Main to support future retail if that ever comes back.

    Maggiealso took charge and solved the MCC PREZ selection and ended the war between the MCC BOT and the DEM / LIB faculty.

    In reading the D&C narrative on the county legislature using the power of the majority to control legislation, that is the power of the majority and how our system works. And saying Louise will be more powerful in WASH as a member of the minority party when she did nothing when she was a leader in the majority party is lacking logic. Maggie as a new REP in congress controlled by REPs would be far more effective for this area.

    Again its funny there is no such concern that the voice of the “minority” is never even heard in the city as there are no REPs elected. Its a problem if Maggie doesn’t work with the DEMs in the County but no problem that there are NO opposition and check and balance in the city

  15. Did Maggie forget to congratulate Louise?

  16. Johnson lost the county exec race because of those in the county afraid of any sort of metro government that runs the risk of having dirty “city” people invade their white bread neighborhoods. The fact that we can’t get much done outside of the 911 center to consolidate municipal and county functions is disgusting. We’re throwing money down the tubes and no one seems to care.

    Louise didn’t win, Maggie lost. The last election Brooks didn’t do all that great, considering the way shes been hyped. In 2007 a no name third party candidate got like 30% of the vote. A lot of people don’t like Maggie, they just get drown out by the cheerleaders. If the media treated the democrat city politicians like it does the republicans in the county, the school board, Richards and the band of idiots we call city council would make Brooks like a trust worthy steward of taxpayer money. There’s so much corruption in city government, but the D&C rag sheet is so busy running promos they forget to do real reporting. They’ll blame middle managers while letting City Hall off the hook. The tv stations aren’t much better, there’s some reporting but they go just far enough to get you to tune in. They stop the hard questions once they have enough to get viewers.

  17. Maggie didn’t seem to get she was running for Congress, not county executive. Every third word out of her mouth was “the taxpayer”. Newsflash: As county executive, you represent EVERYONE. As a member of Congress, you represent EVERYONE, not just people who pay taxes. She rarely discussed issues of NATIONAL importance, like the debt, Libya, health care, etc. Everything she said was about keeping property taxes “stable” (whatever that means). Slaughter ran hard and nasty, from the beginning. She whacked Brooks over the scandals in county government every day of the campaign, despite a broken leg. Brooks’ heart didn’t seem in it. She’ll probably run again in two years, or maybe try running for lieutenant governor. If not, she’s probably done in politics. Amen.

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