Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Earl Sholley, Candidate for MA 4th District Running Against Barney Frank, When You’re Right, You’re Right

Ear Sholley Candidate Against Barney Frank - photo by former George Magazine Photographer - Steve Azzara

A recent piece in South Coast Today, by Jack Spillane, reports on Earl Sholley, Congressional Candidate for the 4th district. Sholley is running against incumbent Barney Frank, and the article, appears to be at first glance to contain backhanded complements, however in the end, praises Mr. Sholley for standing up for his beliefs. Earl Sholley is no stranger to running for office – and has, on multiple occasions – and likens himself to President Lincoln who made multiple unsuccessful bids for state and federal offices before his first election. In respect to Sholley’s last campaign against Barney Frank, he began late, worked with little to no staff, and managed to grab 70,000 votes in the 4th, obviously not a win, but a chunk of the electorate that had to include both independents and democrats (as there are hardly enough Republicans in that particular district to push anyone over the top, independents are outnumbered by Democrats, so logic dictates, a few must have found something in Mr. Sholley that was more appealing than sending Frank to Congress –again.

This campaign season is different in that Sholley began early, hired Lisa Camp, from the Huckabee Presidential campaign, as manager, and began an early Internet and radio campaign – establishing name recognition. Camp has since left the campaign, issuing a brief statement of a difference in management styles between herself and Mr. Sholley. Sholley, who when one meets he man, can hear strains of Frank Sinatra’s “I Did it My Way” playing somewhere in the distance. This would explain the exit of Ms. Camp as well as other staff member of past Sholley campaigns. That said, he is, if nothing else, persistent in his belief that he can and will succeed in ridding the 4th district and the nation of Barney Frank’s brand of legislating, thereby helping to put the nation and the district with 22% unemployment back on sound fiscal ground. He is, if nothing else, a staunch fiscal conservative.

In reviewing the issues (or baggage if one will) that have followed Sholley in previous campaigns, one wonders what the problem might be. For example: a domestic issue involving Sholley’s ex-wife and 14 year old daughter, has gotten a lot of play in the media. Specifically as Sholley was arrested and spent time in jail for refusing to enter a batters program. Sholley is old school – straight out of the 1950’s and when his daughter was in trouble, and in danger of harming herself, Sholley in desperation, did what parents in that era would do – he spanked her. Since most readers today do not recall being taken out to the woodshed by ones parents (normally carrying a belt), the horror, or feigned horror if one is working for an opposition team), is somewhat understandable. After all, when Sholley was in school, teachers had the right to discipline students with a belt or ruler for that matter. Some voters, especially those over the age of 50, can sympathies with Sholley on that point. In refusing to go through the batterers program, Sholley obviously felt he was not a batterer, but a parent, who was trying to get a message across to a child who had endangered herself. The result of the case, it caused a rift in his marriage. He was acquitted of the case involving his wife and a restraining order.

He also was involved in an incident in a court house where he was in an altercation with an up and coming Democrat DA, by the name of Cahill. In reading the case on findlaw, one gets the sense that Sholley, a known Republican, was railroaded.

Do the aforementioned make Sholley a flawed candidate, of course; however, he is also running against a flawed incumbent, lest one forgets the multiple ethics charges that Frank has faced in his past. Which is, in essence, the point – both men have issues that had been resolved (or in Frank’s case, faded away) which are over 20 years old - Therefore maybe not an issue as far as the average voters are concerned.

One can imagine that, given the amount of press Sholley has received to date in the district, his name is fast becoming a household word, which will make it difficult for his Republican primary challenger, Sean Bielat, to overcome without a huge war chest and a ton of advertising. As of the last FEC filing, Sholley and Beilat were even in individual contributions, while Beilat had taken out loans three times the amount of Mr. Sholley's (Sholley only after an apparent discourse with then campaign manager, Camp.) which gives Mr. Beilat an edge, on paper.

The ending of the article (which aligns Sholley with the Tea Party Movement from the get-go, and with Paul’s recent victory in Kentucky, that may bode very well for Sholley, as that particular movement has a strong presence in Massachusetts):

He knows how he'd solve the problem and it's about getting back to basics, he says.
"I think everybody is happiest when they're working on a job, rather than receiving money," he said.
It may be a tea party-sounding solution but with Earl Sholley, it seems to be what he believes. And what he's offering the Fourth District.

Therefore, should one wish to divest the nation of Barney Frank, one has to look critically at the candidates, and understand that Sholley, although somewhat “flawed”, is the one best positioned to beat Frank in November. In the interest of fairness, Sean Beilat, also running as a Republican, is more of a moderate conservative, but he is new to politics and as a first run, will be well positioned, with experience to take a Massachusetts state or congressional seat in the 2012 elections. It is not crime to run multiple times. Neither man, as far as extensive research, has received any support from the State GOP.

Can Earl Sholley succeed in besting Barney Frank, despite the negative press, despite his alleged affiliation with the Tea Party (which is, often to the media’s surprise, a plus) – absolutely. Sholley, obviously, must win the primary, and it’s a long way between now and September (again, name recognition in the 4th will be key), and with mounting pressure on Democrats nationwide, Frank may find himself faced with a loss to an educated, quirky, somewhat eccentric, former military man, turned small businessman, who in retirement, is trying to do his best to help his country. Better than Barney Frank? You Betcha. To learn more about the Sholley Campaign visit

2 comments: said...

You can meet Earl Sholley tonight at the campaign headquarters in Raynham Mass. We are having a wine and cheese meet-and-greet. All are invited.

Nate said...

Great blog entry Tina. That's the first article I have read that present all the information concerning the MA CD-4 republican primary race in a clear manor. You have a fair perspective and good knowledge of both candidates, well done.

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