Monday, November 19, 2018

LOOK! WE HAVE A LAWYER WHO'S A LADY! has the inside scoop!
Republicans had a secret weapon in the Florida recount fight

How a GOP lawyer managed politics, the law and big egos to defend Rick Scott.
But the story provides far less than it promises:
Jessica Furst Johnson was supposed to fly from Washington to Orlando this week for a post-election Walt Disney World vacation with her husband and their two small children.

Instead, Johnson, the 37-year-old general counsel to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, found herself in Tallahassee, quarterbacking the GOP's legal response to the two-recount Senate contest between the Democratic incumbent, Bill Nelson, and Gov. Rick Scott, his Republican challenger.

Her opposite number in this fight, Democratic super-lawyer Marc Elias, had more than 50,000 Twitter followers, a resume that includes serving as the general counsel on two presidential campaigns and a ream of profiles in national publications. Meanwhile, Johnson operated in relative obscurity.

... But for Johnson — a Sarasota native, a University of Florida law school graduate and an admirer of Scott's — there was another dimension to the fight.

"This is personal for me," she said in a telephone interview with NBC News on Friday.
You see where this is going, right? It's not really an analysis of how Johnson beat the Democratic superlawyer. (I think it helped a lot that her candidate got more votes.) Instead, what we have here is a soft story about a young Republican lawyer who's also a wife and mom, pitched to NBC News because the next Congress will have more women than ever (at least 123, according to FiveThirtyEight), but the GOP will have fewer women in the next Congress than in the current one (only 19). The GOP wants a story out there about a Republican woman suburban moms can relate to, and NBC's Jonathan Allen (formerly of Politico) is happy to oblige.

So what was the secret to success for our Republican lawyer?
... as she downed almond-milk lattes, Johnson managed the battle plan, which Republicans say included more than 100 paid and volunteer lawyers working in courtrooms and at recount centers across the state. Except for a 28-hour roundtrip scramble back to Washington to see her children, Johnson choreographed the response from Scott's campaign headquarters.

Friends say Johnson was the right person in the right place at the right time for Scott and the GOP because she's able to keep her cool in the midst of chaos, manage people and tasks, and analyze both legal and political questions with knowledge and judgment.

"She's very even-keeled and always easy to work with," said veteran political lawyer Elliot Berke, who is president of the Republican National Lawyers Association.
"The most important thing about Jessica is she is someone who can manage a lot of different projects with very different personalities and have none of them upset at her. Politics is full of people who create conflict as a tool, and Jessica does not create conflict," [Brad] Todd[, a senior adviser to the Scott campaign,] said.
NRSC Communications Director Katie Martin, who also worked with Johnson at the NRCC, said her mix of political and legal talents is truly rare.

"I’ve been watching her be a badass for a while now," Martin said. "She's someone who has a political mind, who sees the optics of every situation."
Wow, that's deep insider knowledge.

I'm sure Jessica Furst Johnson is excellent at her work. But there's no story here -- except a story about a party that's white and male and intends to stay that way, but doesn't want voters outside the base to think about that.

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