Sen. Amy Klobuchar is set to announce her plans regarding a run for the White House this weekend (Allahpundit has a story coming up about her chances), but today HuffPost dropped a brick on her potential campaign. The site reports that three different candidates who were interviewed to lead her expected campaign dropped out over the perceived difficulty of working with Klobuchar. According to some of her former employees, she has a habit of demeaning and demoralizing the staff:
She’s beloved in her state as a smart, funny and personable lawmaker and has gained national attention for her lines of questioning at high-profile hearings.
But some former Klobuchar staffers, all of whom spoke to HuffPost on condition of anonymity, describe Klobuchar as habitually demeaning and prone to bursts of cruelty that make it difficult to work in her office for long.
It is common for staff to wake up to multiple emails from Klobuchar characterizing one’s work as “the worst” briefing or press release she’d seen in her decades of public service, according to two former aides and emails seen by HuffPost.
Although some staffers grew inured to her constant put-downs (“It’s always ‘the worst,’” one said sarcastically, “‘It was ‘the worst’ one two weeks ago”), others found it grinding and demoralizing.
The story contains statements of support from some of Klobuchar’s past staff. Some staffers say she can be kind and personable, so it’s clear the feeling isn’t universal. Still, you can’t argue with the numbers:
From 2001 to 2016, she ranked No. 1 in the Senate for staff turnover as measured by LegiStorm, a widely used database of congressional staff salaries. She’s now third, behind Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen and Louisiana Republican John Kennedy.
If Klobuchar had the highest turnover rate in the Senate for 15 years, there is a good reason for that. An ex-staffer tells HuffPost, “She was constantly lighting new fires.” The fact that three different candidates to lead her campaign have passed, at least partly because of this issue, suggests it’s not coming from one or two disgruntled staffers.
Will this change the conventional wisdom on Klobuchar? We’ll have to wait and see. I suppose it depends on how many former staffers out there still hold a grudge. It’s one thing to read a few unflattering quotes in a news story. It would be something else if one of the staffers came forward and blasted her on MSNBC or Fox News. That doesn’t seem likely to me but then I never had to work for her.