I had hoped that the rumors were not true and that Candice Keller would in fact be at the Butler County Chamber Coalition debate for the 4th Ohio Senate District at the Benison Event Center in downtown Hamilton. But like the giant bank vault of that old building that has stories to tell going back to the gangsters of prohibition, not even Candice was inside. All of her that made it was her name tag at a table where she should have been if ever she hoped to be a real candidate for the upcoming primary election on March 17th. I had hoped to talk to her, to salvage her political career somewhat by getting behind George Lang and living for another day, but she didn’t even show up to have that conversation. Instead, it appears that her phobia of public speaking was true and that her weak speeches at the State House were more than just a rookie learning her way in a new office, Candice has a real problem getting her thoughts across to the public in events like this one, which is crucial to any viable candidate.
A lot of people have such phobias of public speaking and being judged by so many people, but anybody running for a big office must understand that these expectations come with the territory. In her case she managed to offer something fresh to her district and people gave her a chance largely through church networks and Facebook. But people expect their political representatives to learn as they go and events like the one at the Benison Event Center are part of the job, and winning those debates are expected. The job for the 4th District Senate Seat is bigger than a Facebook campaign, these types of things are how politicians communicate to their constituents, not just through quips to the media, but in presenting herself to a crowd that isn’t always happy to see her and to win them over. That’s part of the game. Instead, Candice had an empty chair with her name on it, and her son showed up to video the other candidates to see how the professionals did it. But her empty seat was quite a statement, it said a lot more than if she had come and made a fool of herself. At least if she had, people might sympathize, but instead all she gave the audience was the impression that she didn’t even care enough to arrive.
What her son was able to record was a very polished George Lang who is the obvious front runner deliver very well on all the questions that were asked of him. George is the real deal at every level, he is good with people, honest, understands the needs of donors, and he can reach across the aisle to work with anybody on anything. Candice’s son also saw a very sharp Kathy Wyenandt who will be the Democrat nominee after the primary. All evening she and George spoke well together in a polite way without surrendering their integrity, but in the manner that both of them could go to Columbus and get bills passed by members of the various influencers. Even if Candice did luck out and Moses came to separate the Red Sea for a freakish win at the Republican primary, for which the entire GOP is asking her to resign due to her reckless commentary about Nazis and gay people, Candice doesn’t have the horsepower to beat Kathy Wyenandt in a head to head race. Currently, the way things are, Kathy has a numbers problem, she’s running as a Democrat so no matter how good she is, she’s on the wrong side. But with the GOP not behind Candice, and Keller looking to be terrified of public debates, she would have no hope of winning a major election against Wyenandt.
That is why I wanted to talk to Candice, to help her see the light before it was too late. Instead, she is off on a fantasy that she can avoid these kinds of things and still win with a Tea Party like activism. Only I was there when the Tea Party was young, and so was George Lang. Many of the best conservatives today in the GOP are from that movement. What Candice and what’s left of the Tea Party are those who have not found an identity in the new focus of leadership that has emerged under President Trump. They haven’t made the transition from rock chucker to leader. George Lang certainly has; he is very much the Trump Republican in the race. When Trump comes to town, its George that he would seek, certainly never Candice, especially in the wake of her media troubles. She’s toxic poison right now with no future in sight once she steps out of her House seat and that would be a real tragedy to the election that she did win.
Keller’s son was also able to record the bumbling lunacy of Ding Dong Lee Wong who had a terrible debate. An absolute disaster. I would say about it, at least he had the guts to come. However, afterwards when everyone was talking during a social hour Lee disappeared rather quickly. The group I was talking to figured that it was because East Avenue was nearby, and he was likely going on shopping visits for his old friend Robin McDaniel—the “working girl.” Of course, before going Ding Dong Lee Wong said that the solution to the employment challenges were to just let in more Chinese people, or something to that effect, which left the audience baffled and looking for more to come. But at least Lee was there to make a statement, which was more than Candice. All jokes aside about the brevity of Lee’s post-debate networking, the obvious front runner of the debate was George Lang as expected, and Lee looked to understand that after this season of debates, this one in Hamilton being likely one of the last before the primary. Any hopes Lee had of landing a blow against Lang that could damage his frontrunner status was gone and so was Lee’s spirit. I almost felt sorry for Ding Dong Lee, but because I know the history of how much he hates George Lang, I won’t go so far to reach out an olive branch. He can wallow in it for plenty as far as I’m concerned.
Once the room had cleared and everyone went home, I did ask the caretakers of the place if I could look in the vault to see if Candice was back there somewhere. To humor me, they actually looked with me holding that name tag to identify Candice. Nobody was in the vault, but it was impressive to look at such an antiquated structure from the years long gone. It reminded me a lot of the campaign of Candice Keller, confined, locked up, and even looted beyond comprehension. Her perceived path to victory was to lock herself in such a vault to the outside world and hope that some miracle might happen to get her elected into a high office by just throwing rocks outside those confines at a genuinely good person in George Lang. She should know with all her supposed Christian values that lying about people as she has been disparaging the character of Lang to such a degree won’t get her any keys to heaven. I’d love to help her with her problem, but all she gave me to work with was a nametag and an empty seat and the perception of an audience that already thought of her as a loser.