Four More Smears

Has Daryl Duwe's transgression been forgiven?

Sep 15, 2004 at 4:00 am
In politics, as in Russian roulette, one misfire can kill you -- at least that's what 2nd Ward Committeewoman Mattie Moore seems to think in the case of Daryl Duwe.

In a letter sent earlier this month to Secretary of State Matt Blunt, Moore joined Democratic Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes in calling on the secretary to remove Duwe from the his party's roster. Duwe, who served as the Missouri Republican Party spokesman during the 2000 election, stepped down from the post amid widespread criticism after he called then-State Auditor Claire McCaskill a "cheap hooker."

"There is no place in political dialogue for this type of language directed at women in public office," the two Democrats write in a letter dated September 1, 2004. "As the new head of the Missouri Republican Party, we call on you to remove as your Party's spokesperson, Mr. Daryl Duwe."

There's only one problem: Daryl Duwe is not the spokesman for the Missouri Republican Party. Paul Sloca is.

"Duwe's a private contractor," says Sloca, who adds the inflammatory flack worked the Republican National Convention in New York, doing "mainly logistical work." Duwe's contract extends through the November 2 election, and the Republicans have no thoughts of dropping him. Sloca says Democrats should move on. "This was four years ago. This is a smear campaign against an individual who's very well versed in state politics."

For their part, McCaskill's camp isn't too keen on dredging up a four-year-old controversy, but say it's disingenuous to claim Duwe is no longer employed by the Republicans. "The choice to contract with him was made by the party," says McCaskill's spokesperson, Glenn Campbell. "It's hard for me to imagine why they'd let him come back in that role."

Neither Moore nor Barnes could be reached for comment. However, Steve Glorioso, spokesman for the Kansas City mayor, says that Duwe's earlier transgression should bar him from the political playing field altogether. "The mayor, like most women, was horrified by Mr. Duwe's comments," says the K.C. flack. "The mayor feels that this is so egregious that it doesn't warrant a second chance."

But Sloca stays on point, as he sees something more sinister at work. "What does this have to do with Missouri's economy, or jobs in Missouri, or the war on terror?" asks the conservative spokesperson. "Nothing. It's a smear campaign."