Perhaps not surprisingly, Westword did not receive notice of Buckley's press conference. I arrived a few minutes late, and after the receptionist announced that representatives of Westword were there, a staffer stepped out from behind closed doors to say that the press conference had started and we would not be admitted. (A Republican Party representative was allowed in, however.) A few minutes later, Buckley's new campaign consultant, Sam Riddle, stepped back into the waiting area, said he hadn't realized what Westword was, and ushered us in. "Ask any questions you want," he said.
I never got the chance. Although Riddle himself managed to ask "Madame Secretary" about the $8.7 million that her office had returned to the general fund, when a reporter asked a trickier question, Buckley abruptly announced that she had another appointment and that the press conference was over. It was apparently news to Riddle that his new boss had scheduled an appointment fifteen minutes after her press conference to "set the record straight," because she walked out of the room while he was still telling reporters to identify their media outlets when they asked questions.
All in all, the miscommunication seemed par for the course at the secretary of state's office. So did the hiring of Riddle, a longtime political operative who just happened to be free because he'd been dismissed from the last campaign he'd worked for, fired by a candidate who accused him of being "erratic." Riddle returned the favor, claiming that the campaign was racist and that the candidate was nothing more than a "media creation." That candidate? Geoffrey Fieger, the Democrat running for governor of Michigan, who counts among his most noteworthy credentials serving as attorney for Jack Kevorkian.
Making Riddle just the man to pull the plug on Buckley's candidacy, too, and put us out of our misery.