Flinging Mud in MA-5: The Incumbent, AC/DC, and the Candidate with the Shamrock Tattoo


Last week, I wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal on the quixotic campaign of Sam Meas, a Cambodian immigrant and survivor of the Killing Fields running for Congress in Massachusetts as a "Reagan Republican." As I noted, Meas—who has limited money and political experience—will have a difficult time in getting beyond the September 14 Republican primary, which local election watchers predict will be handily won by Jon Golnik, a comparatively well-funded, moderate Republican whose staff includes veterans of the Scott Brown campaign. Various members of the Massachusetts Republican establishment explained that while Meas's story was compelling, he didn't have a snowball's chance in hell against Golnik.

After my short piece on Meas—which was by no means an endorsement of his candidacy or his views—I received dozens of emails, wondering why I would profile a guy who couldn't possibly win when Golnik, the candidate who supposedly had a shot at beating Democratic incumbent Niki Tsongas, deserved the attention (Answer: Golnik didn't escape a Khmer Rouge executioner). Indeed, as I acknowledged, quoting a local pollster, Golnik has something of a shot, provided a significant number of votes aren't siphoned off by independent candidates. After all, the district—MA-5—came out big for Sen. Scott Brown. And as Golnik effused on his campaign website, RealClearPolitics recently "upgraded our race from 'safely Democrat' to 'likely Democratic.'" In Massachusetts, against an incumbent with a famous last name, that's some achievement.

But as the race comes down to the wire, Golnik's opponents—it's unclear which ones—have been doing significant oppo research. This morning I received an anonymous email with a 22-page document attached—one that was also sent to various local media outlets in Massachusetts—containing court and police records detailing a 2001 arrest, in which Golnik was nabbed for driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana. A Golnik staffer confirmed the authenticity of the documents; the Meas campaign strenuously denied having anything to do with the document dump.

According to the police report, a drunk, stoned, and shirtless (!) Golnik was pulled over on his way home from an AC/DC concert for "weaving" and driving on a flat tire. After being detained, he consented to a breathalyzer, blowing a rather impressive .18 (the portable breathalyzer initially gave a reading under the legal limit) and acknowledged, after the cops found rolling papers in his car, to having "smoked half a joint" while rocking out to the brothers Young. The arrest report also notes that Golnik has a shamrock tattoo on his thigh, the only detail that, in Massachusetts, will probably help him at the polls. As one observer of Massachusetts politics explained to me today, Tsongas would rather run against the inexperienced Meas than the more professional, Scott Brown-like campaign of Jon Golnik.

Though this certainly doesn't inspire much confidence in the Golnik campaign, who stupidly tried to ignore their candidate's previous indiscretions, it isn't a campaign-killer in the Bay State. As a friend said to me today, in reference to another drunk-driving Massachusetts politician, "well, at least no one died in Jon Golnik's car." And some enterprising journalist in Massachusetts should take this opportunity to quiz Golnik on whether or not he supports the decriminalization of marijuana.

From the police report:

The shirtless candidate
The Boy with the Shamrock Tattoo

NEXT: 'Papers, Please,' Northern Edition

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  1. Sounds like he enjoyed the concert.

  2. And some enterprising journalist in Massachusetts should take this opportunity to quiz Golnik on whether or not he supports the decriminalization of marijuana.

    If I were a MA-5 republican, the answer to that question would determine my primary vote.

    1. Marijuana is already decriminalized (small amounts of pot will only get you an unenforceable $100 fine). Of course, this wasn’t the case at the time of this arrest.

  3. Going to an AC/DC concert in 2001 is fucked up.

    1. If he had gone in ’78 or ’79 before Bon Scott died, this wouldn’t even be an issue. Shit, that would probably get him votes. Massholes are like that.

      1. I’d give him a pass for the Back in Black or even the For Those About to Rock tours. After that, not even I will go and I know by heart all of their stuff up to that point.

        Now, I’d get probably get behind a politician who got caught baked on the way home from a Disturbed show.

        1. I saw them on the Flick the Switch tour in 1983, the one just after For Those About To Rock. And they still kicked ass.

        2. I give him a pass because he was high. Maybe he was offered a free ticket by somebody with a bag. He’s like hell yeah I’ll go with you. Pass.

          1. Ok, so I don’t blame him for getting stoned and drunk. But what made him drive home like that?

        3. Anyone who would voluntarily listen to Disturbed deserves to be disemboweled or something. Still more anyone who would go to one of their shows.

          1. Hey, at least he didn’t say Kiss. Kiss fans are proto-juggalos, for fuck’s sake. They should be rounded into camps for orderly disposal, but make sure their John Connor dies properly.

            1. You know I never thought of that but it is really true. Watch that movie Detroit Rock City sometime. It could just as easily be about juggalos.

              1. I would never willingly watch a movie about Kiss fans. I would, however, like to see a documentary about juggalos in their natural habitat (trailer parks).

                1. It is terrible. Don’t watch it. But it was late, I was drunk, it was on cable. And I kind of spaced out and watched the last part of it.

                  1. I won’t.

                    But a juggalo documentary; think of it. It would be like Gummo with ICP face makeup. Brilliant.

                    1. That or Slacker set in a trailor park.

            2. I watched a Rush documentary over at my brother’s house the other day. Pretty interesting, and it brought back some memories of how people used to view Rush.

              Anyway, the funny part was that they toured quite extensively with KISS in the 70s.

          2. Well, I admit to deserving to be disemboweled based on that standard, then. I’m not sure how someone who likes guitar-driven rock couldn’t like, say, Indestructible but, as they say, there’s no accounting for taste.

      2. I saw them front row center in a 4k seat theater on the Highway To Hell tour.One of my HS friends skipped school and bought them at the local Ticketron outlet. No camping out, no scalpers, $7.50 + the “service charge” of 25 or 50 cents. I saw them post-Bon on the Back in Black tour in a much larger venue. Both shows were great.

  4. Sorry, this chump fails my litmus test. AC/DC fans are unelectable.

  5. What were the results of the charges? Did he face prosecution or did he get treated like part of the ruling political class in Mass? Those are questions any potential opponent should be asking. Preferential treatment is more serious an offense than getting a little baked at an AC/DC show, even if it was 15 years past their prime.

    1. Absolutely. I bet he got it swept under the rug. And for that, fuck him.

  6. he sounds perfect, or perfectly stupid. if he could promise to be stoned and not vote for anything, he’d be a smashing success.

  7. a drunk, stoned, and shirtless (!) Golnik

    You know you’re a cosmotarian when it’s the fashion faux pas that gets the exclamation point.

    1. What is odd is that Moynihan tried to pull of a hipster shirt in an interview recently and showed us way to much of his man tits.

      Underarm sweat rings and all.


  8. The Republican Party will find it nearly impossible to run ‘clean’ candidates for the next generation of elections. Unless you’re an immigrant.

  9. BTW, this wasn’t a youthful indiscretion. Golnik was a 36-yr. old man.

  10. From Golnik’s site:
    “As some of you know, we suffered a minor setback when our campaign office caught fire on Tuesday, August 17. The cause of the fire is unknown and is under investigation, but our campaign has moved forward and we are pressing on!”

    Unattended spliff?

  11. LOL, gotta love that political mud slinging LOL


    1. right on bot! LOL

      1. I actually do LOL when the bot makes a comment that is spot on. I don’t know why, but I do.

        Oh, and as sad as it sounds, “Lou’s” comments are often as poignant as some of the other posters on H&R.

  12. What’s funny is that the dude was 35 when this happened.

    So much for youthful immaturity.

    1. That is pretty pathetic when you think about it.

      1. So you guys are either really young or old curmudgeons? Yeah, he’s an ancient old man at 35, might as well spend his free time at the home playing shuffleboard. Leave that fun and adventure to those young whippersnappers.

        1. I am a not quite young curmudgeon. As I said above, I don’t blame him for getting drunk and stoned. I do blame him for beign so stupid as to drive home weaving his car.

          1. I’m with you. Should know better then that by then. Some people are hard learners.

        2. I swore off arena rock shows after seeing Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio on vocals (81/82?). It sucked and suddenly you couldn’t smoke dope openly at arena shows anymore.

  13. C’mon, guys. He was preemptively mourning 9/11:


  14. “I received dozens of emails, wondering why I would profile a guy who couldn’t possibly win when Golnik, the candidate who supposedly had a shot at beating Democratic incumbent Niki Tsongas, deserved the attention…”

    This is one reason (out of many) that I, as a libertarian, despise republicans. They see libertarians as nothing more than rebellious step children entitled to their support.

  15. It sounds like it was a pretty good show.

    Maybe he’s a Buckcherry fan…

  16. I mean, c’mon. Who HASN’T done the exact same thing, sans Shamrock tat.

  17. Hey, so-called smart voter. Stop being a shill for the Golnik Campaign. The principles at stake in this election are too important to be dragged down by a selfish Republican candidate who is now dead on arrival. We’re not expecting perfect, but we are expecting clean … and honest. Golnik’s efforts now to salvage his sinking campaign by denying, long after the fact, his drug use are simply not credible. They are contradicted by the contemporaneous written statements made by two police officers in their incident report that directly quotes Golnik as admitting to drug use. Worse still, if that’s possible, Golnik’s desperate denials are contradicted by the written statements filed by his own defense counsel in a pre-sentencing memorandum in which he freely admist his client’s drug use to the courts. Go ahead: tell me 35 year old Golnik didn’t read his lawyer’s memorandum before it was filed. Give it up and find another champion on September 14.

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