For presidential campaigns, it's turning into the evergreen headline from hell: Digital strategist under fire.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's new digital strategist Liz Mair came under fire Monday evening, just hours after CNN reported she had been hired, after journalists and critics noted several provocative statements on her Twitter feed -- including remarks critical of voters in first-in-the-nation caucus state, which prompted the Des Moines Register to publish a story with the headline, "Scott Walker's digital chief has taken swipes at Iowa."
Others pointed out that Mair -- on her personal site -- lists herself as pro-gay marriage, pro-choice, and in support of giving undocumented immigrants legal status. That notably stands at odds with many of Walker’s own positions.
Mair has a long history of serving as a social media consultant for various campaigns – including Walker’s 2012 recall campaign – and, with a robust social media presence, seems to be an otherwise solid choice. Now, her broad digital profile has become something of a double-edged sword.
Sound familiar? It should.
Last month, Jeb Bush ran into a similar problem when he hired Ethan Czahor as his chief technology officer. A quick scan of Czahor's Twitter feed revealed a string of inflammatory remarks about "sluts," gay men, Tiger Woods and drunk driving.
The Bush campaign initially stood behind Czahor until racially insensitive remarks surfaced in which he had lauded Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for not wearing “pants sagged to his ankles.” Czahor eventually resigned.
Looking further back, GOP Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) -- who is also considering a 2016 White House bid -- parted ways with social media staffer Jack Hunter in 2013 after pro-secession statements by Hunter surfaced. Paul also initially stood behind Hunter but, after the controversy persisted, Hunter resigned.
It's not clear whether the staffers' social media track records (which, after all, are available in writing) are getting a seal of approval from the candidates' teams before they sign on -- or whether no one bothers to check. Either way, social media advisers in need of some social media advice themselves are well on their way to 2016 trendlet status.