The stories of defeated Democratic Senate candidates Alexi Giannoulias, now cloistered in Argentina, and Jack Conway, who’s running for another term as Kentucky’s attorney general, illustrate how emotionally and morally taxing the business of politics on the national stage can be.
“It destroys you when people say complete mistruths about your family,” Giannoulias said over lunch a few days before his trip. “It’s so unfair and so miserable. I never took that stuff personally when people said I was too young, too inexperienced. I get politics. I get attack ads. But they said ‘mobbed up family.’ That we were criminals. That kills me.”
The race, he said, also took its toll on his relationship with fiance Tara Flocco, a Chicago philanthropist. The pair have put their wedding off for the time being.
“I tried so hard (to shield her),” Giannoulias said. “I got some death threats, which, a lot of that stuff was really tough to see and feel. We’re trying to figure it out. … Relationships are tough as is, before adding this stuff.”
Conway, who announced his re-election plans Friday in Kentucky, expressed serious regrets over rushing into the now-infamous “Aqua Buddha” ad that questioned Rand Paul’s religion and, as he now admits, tarnished Conway’s brand:
Cautionary tales for any prospective candidate.