Carl DeMaio (R) is a candidate for Congress in California, running against Congressman Scott Peters (D). DeMaio recently made national news, but probably not in the way he would have liked: He was forced to withdraw a job offer for Blaise Hahs, after a review of Hahs’ Twitter account revealed a series of racist tweets.
Hahs, a second year student at San Diego State University, was hired to serve as DeMaio’s regional political director and tweeted happily about the new job – a tweet that was then retweeted by DeMaio. This, as DeMaio quickly learned, was a mistake, as the San Diego City Beat reviewed Hahs twitter account and discovered some very offensive tweets. Among them:
- “Who wants to drink Vodka tonight? Must have a vagina though.”
Hahs quickly deleted his twitter account and was also fired from his job. In a statement, DeMaio campaign spokesman Dave McCulloch said, ““After learning of this individual’s clearly offensive and inappropriate tweets, the offer of employment was rescinded.” McCulloch then pivoted to attack Rep. Peters, saying that the Peters campaign was attempting to “smear Carl with what a college student tweets before he started his employment shows how desperate Scott Peters is to distract voters from his record.”
Two important points here. First, before any political staff makes a hire, review the social media of your potential new employee (local, state and federal laws permitting). This is just common sense, and particularly if you are in a public position: the last thing you want is for someone as racist and/or foolish, like Hahs, to be your public face.
Second, however, is a more subtle and work-intensive point. If you are in government or politics, be careful with what you retweet. This scandal first came to light when DeMaio retweeted Hahs – otherwise, it probably never would have made news. This isn’t the first time a campaign has gotten dinged for retweeting someone: Chris McDaniel, former candidate for Senate in Mississippi, retweeted a tweet from a pretty racist account, and took heat for it. So, if you are in government or politics, it is always worth it to give a quick look over for any account before you retweet it. Labor intensive? Yep. Also worth it to avoid a scandal.
What do you think – too much work for a retweet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!