Why Did Julie Gunnigle Make This Baffling, Craven Post About Allister Adel’s Recovery?

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The evening of November 3, 2020, was weird and tense for everyone, but especially so for Julie Gunnigle.

A former assistant prosecutor in Cook County, Illinois, Gunnigle had emerged as the Democratic nominee to be the next top prosecutor of Maricopa County, the fourth largest county in America. That night, her opponent, incumbent Republican Allister Adel, was rushed to the hospital for emergency brain surgery, the result of a fall caused by a brain bleed.

Gunnigle was ahead in the count at the time, but over the next several days as the additional votes came in, Adel pulled ahead. Other Democrats, such as Joe Biden and Mark Kelly, won in Maricopa County. But Gunnigle fell short. She conceded the race on November 9.

If you think about it, Gunnigle was robbed not just of the office she sought, but also, in a way, of the right to be upset about her loss. How mad can you really be about losing a race when the person you lost to is in the hospital with a sudden, life-threatening condition? To complain, or mourn your defeat, or express any outward frustration about the result would have been unseemly, indicative of poor character.

No, the thing to do is wait a few months, then write a weird, contorted, self-centered, absolutely baffling tweet thread about how the person you lost to isn’t working enough as she recovers from brain surgery. Then, so that people don’t notice how sickeningly craven your post is, sprinkle some semi-woke gobbledygook on top of it all so people think the post isn’t just about you, your personal grievances, and above all your ambitions.

Here’s the thread. (We’ll replace it with a screenie if she deletes it.)

Gunnigle’s anger seems to be rooted in the fact that Adel, during the campaign, criticized Gunnigle for previously being only a part-time prosecutor. Gunnigle uses a brief clip of that slight as her jumping-off point into a meandering rant about how it’s a luxury that Adel gets time to recover, how Gunnigle took “less-than-full-time” status so that she could bond with her child, and that “changing perspectives on this issue is essential for anyone who wants to lead a humane workplace.” What?

She concludes by linking a recent Arizona Republic article that suggests a lack of transparency from the county regarding who’s calling the shots in the prosecutor’s office.

What was the point of this thread? What does Julie Gunnigle have to gain, besides a humiliating Twitter ratio, by posting this? Is there nobody in Julie Gunnigle’s personal or professional life who can save her from making posts like this? 

New Times messaged Gunnigle, seeking some clarity as to the larger point of her thread. She sent this:

“My larger point is that many people are forced out of the workforce because of personal tragedy, caring for a family member with illness, or tending to a new child. The need to step away from work disproportionately falls on women. Changing perspectives on this issue is essential for anyone who wants to lead a humane workplace. There’s no shame in taking ‘part-time’ status to recover and find balance. The key to making it work is honest communication with your employers—in this case, the taxpayers.”

As you might notice, that’s word-for-word what Gunnigle wrote in the original thread. We’ll take that to mean she believes her post requires neither an apology nor any additional clarification. Many would disagree

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