Best Non-Spokesman Spokesman
Thanks to a lazy national media, former Mayor Adrian Fenty now enjoys a reputation as a brave education reformer who was willing to sacrifice his promising political career for the sake of the children. Baloney. There are many reasons why Fenty went from winning every precinct in the city to getting walloped four years later, not the least of which was the fact that he ran a godawful political campaign. Fenty’s list of electoral faux pas are long, and have been well documented. What’s less known is that Fenty probably would have done even worse if he’d not been fortunate enough to have Sean Madigan on his side. Madigan, a former reporter for the Washington Business Journal whose real job was spokesman for then-City Administrator Neil Albert, often felt like the only calm, reasonable adult in a campaign that kept getting further off track as Election Day neared. Technically Madigan wasn’t Fenty’s campaign spokesman—the former mayor apparently didn’t believe in labels, so Madigan would send out press releases from his personal Yahoo! account instead of a campaign email address. But titles aside, Madigan did as good a job spinning for a sinking ship as one could hope. Even if he didn’t quite go down with it: Madigan moved on to a job writing speeches for Target executives after the primary.