The campaign of high-profile B.C. Liberal incumbent Mary Polak is suddenly under the microscope, as questions are being raised as to why exactly her campaign manager, Todd Hauptman, suddenly parted with the team on Tuesday.
In a widely distributed e-mail early Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Hauptman said that as someone who is gay he could no longer support the campaign when “the very base of voters who will likely help Mary get re-elected in just one-weeks [sic] time are made up of individuals who hold hateful attitudes towards the community I am a part of.”
He said Ms. Polak, who is running for the Liberals in Langley, had always shown him respect and love, but he had been conflicted “beyond words these past weeks.”
Ms. Polak told The Globe and Mail later in the day that she met with Mr. Hauptman Tuesday morning just hours before he sent out the e-mail.
She said their meeting was to discuss Mr. Hauptman’s “close friendship” with a key member of the local NDP campaign, adding that she had become aware of information that the NDP had come by – including details of her campaign strategy – that she says in all likelihood came from Mr. Hauptman.
“It was my intention at the time to keep him as campaign manager and find a way to work through this and ensure that none of this campaign information was compromised,” Ms. Polak said. “I don’t think Todd had any malicious intent. He’s very new and inexperienced in provincial politics and I think that played a role.
Ms. Polak said she and Mr. Hauptman agreed to talk later in the day to plan out how best to deal with the remainder of the campaign.
“Instead I heard through the media he had sent this letter of resignation,” Ms. Polak said.
Ms. Polak said she wouldn’t speculate as to whether Mr. Hauptman’s resignation had anything to do with their morning meeting, adding that she takes what Mr. Hauptman said in the e-mail at face value.
She said she does not believe her base holds negative attitudes towards the gay community, but said if that’s what Mr. Hauptman experienced, she wouldn’t question it.
“The most difficult thing about this is that he wasn’t just my campaign manager, he’s my friend and has been my friend for quite a long time,” she added.
Mr. Hauptman could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
Alec Stromdahl, the campaign manager for Langley NDP candidate Andrew Mercier, said no information on Ms. Polak’s campaign, to his knowledge, was passed on to the NDP. He did say that Mr. Hauptman is friends with an individual who does “voter contact” work with the local NDP campaign.