When he first entered the race, Scott Milne reportedly arrived with pre-approved, but untested, political credentials. A complicated candidate declared Terri Hallenbeck in the Free Press. Milne was, she said, established and simultaneously politically attuned and politically untested. Well he’s being tested this week and he seems uniquely un-attuned politically.
Just days ago Scott Milne’s campaign manager left under mysterious circumstances (he apparently actually did leave to take a hike). Now it turns out one of his campaign staff workers, a man he hired to write press releases, has an interesting past relationship with facts. Scott Fletcher, a former editor for the Times-Argus, was fired from the paper in disgrace twelve years ago.
Milne has hired five people to run his campaign. Among them is Scott Fletcher, the former managing editor of the Times Argus who was fired for fabricating three articles in 2002. Fletcher now writes press releases for Milne.
Fletcher made up stories about a 16-year-old prostitute and heroin addict; another about a woman who left New York City after 9/11 to live in a cabin in Ferdinand; and a third based on the diary of a Charlotte woman who supposedly died in the Triangle Shirt factory fire. Fletcher was not able to provide Times Argus management with evidence that any of three women existed.
Then as now Fletcher denies he fabricated any facts.
Surprisingly Milne was aware and untroubled by Fletcher’s past, yet remains confident in the man’s role in the campaign.
That role, Milne said, is “research and background stuff that he’s doing directly for me.” The candidate said he has no concerns that Fletcher is bringing forth anything but the truth.
Fletcher elaborated on that, saying that he writes most of the press releases for Milne’s campaign and spends the bulk of his time in policy research and policy development
To campaign also means to struggle, and Scott Milne seems to be doing plenty of that this week, although ‘floundering’ might be a more accurate description. What better gift to the opposition could you give than hiring a man who was fired for making up stories to write your press releases?
Any pitch to voters Milne may have wished to make as a competent manager becomes more difficult after a week like this.