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Authors: Roger Stelljes

Electing To Murder

BOOK: Electing To Murder
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McRyan Mystery Series
Roger Stelljes

(McRyan Mystery Series)

By Roger Stelljes

Copyright 2013 Roger Stelljes.
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof in any form. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical without the express written permission of the author. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via other means without permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. This book is a work of the author’s experience and opinion. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events or locales is entirely coincidental. This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of the author.

The publisher and author do not have any control over and do not assume responsibility for third-party websites or their content.

Published by: Roger Stelljes

ISBN 978-0-9835758-4-9 (e-book)

E-book version 2013.3.1


A book never sees print without the help of others. Many thanks to my manuscript reading crew of Mike, Scott, Darrell and my wife. They’re undoubtedly my toughest audience. You the readers will benefit from their encouragement, feedback, criticism, insight and wisecracks. Their time, energy and feedback make for a better story and assure me that I’m on the right track.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank my wife for her never ending support as I continue to pursue my writing dream. I simply couldn’t do this without her. To my kids, I appreciate your constant encouragement and letting Dad take the time to write.

Finally, I want to thank my readers. Your support and feedback make all the time and effort worth it.


For my family












































“What have we stumbled onto here?”
Wednesday, October 30th

ara Wire sipped her coffee. The dashboard GPS on the Acadia said east bound on Interstate 24, now over twenty-five miles east of Paducah, Kentucky. The laptop powered up and glowing in the passenger seat displayed the motorcade of one limousine and two Chevy Suburbans a mile ahead. Wire had safely tucked the GPS tracking device, which was half the size of a dime, beneath the small rubber bumper affixed to the underside of the rear license plate of the limousine. The tracker allowed her to hold back at a safe distance. Nevertheless, she liked that as she looked up from the laptop and ahead through the light rain and windshield wipers, she could see the red string of taillights from the motorcade in the distance.

While unsure of all of the people in the vehicles ahead, Wire knew it at least consisted of Heath Connolly, the vice president’s campaign manager. She was surprised Connolly wasn’t riding with Donald Wellesley Jr., the vice president’s son. The two of them were thick as thieves, seemingly attached at the hip in running the Republican presidential campaign.

A source tipped Wire to the meeting late on Tuesday and the limousine service being used. Her contact claimed he didn’t know exactly what the meeting was about or who was going to be present beyond Heath Connolly. However, it was an unusual trip, one that piqued Wire’s interest. So she flew to Paducah early, planted the tracker on the limousine and patiently waited.

Six days, nearly five, before an election that would be extremely close, possibly
Bush v. Gore
close, the candidate’s campaign manager, his key political advisor, was a thousand miles from his candidate, taking a late meeting in the backwoods of Kentucky.

What was the purpose of the meeting? It wasn’t an official trip. Wire checked with her source in the vice president’s campaign travel office and the trip was not on anyone’s schedule and whatever arrangements had been made were not made through the travel office. This one was off the books.

There was no Secret Service detail either. Given how toxic his cutthroat approach to politics and campaigning was, Connolly received daily threats. For that reason, the political operative usually had one or two Secret Service men with him during the campaign, but not tonight. There was security, of course, but of the private kind, and it was riding in the Chevy Suburbans fronting and trailing the limousine. Wire could tell that the security was professional, most likely former military or intelligence based on the way they carried and conducted themselves. But the security wasn’t quite Secret Service quality. If it were, the tracking device would have been discovered. Nevertheless, Connolly must have thought the security was sufficient for what he was up to.

And he was up to something.

Wire could feel it in her bones, and so could the Judge.

Wire’s boss, Judge Dixon, was the campaign manager for Minnesota Governor James Thomson, the Democratic Party’s nominee for president of the United States. The Judge was a long-time political player, thoroughly acquainted with the vice president and his merry band of campaigners led by Heath Connolly.

Heath Connolly came off all aw shucks good ole’ boy on television, but he was a disciple of Karl Rove, all political hardball all the time. It didn’t matter how you won—as long as you got one more vote, no matter how you got it, you won. Connolly didn’t care about government or policy. He didn’t give a rip about the rules; losers played by the rules. He was the political equivalent of Al Davis—just win, baby. Connolly did whatever he had to do to win. The Judge wasn’t willing to go to the lengths Connolly would to win; his moral compass wouldn’t permit it. But that didn’t mean Dixon wouldn’t do whatever he could to stop Connolly.

The Judge called in a marker and Wire put her own private business on hold. For the past six months, she was Connolly’s shadow.

Wire reported to the Judge at least three times per day via a private cell phone that only she had the number to. She detailed who Connolly met with, where he went and what he appeared to be doing. That meant tracking him in and around DC as well as around the country, as Connolly liked to get out on the trail with his candidate. Wire collected enough frequent flyer miles in the last six months to last her ten years.

One such trip took her to northern Minnesota where she watched Connolly meet with what turned out to be a retired Minnesota Highway Trooper who’d pulled a young James Thomson over for drunk driving nearly thirty years ago, a violation that had long been buried. The day before the Wellesley campaign was going to spring the revelation, Thomson and the Judge defused it by leaking the arrest. The governor then held an hour-long news conference and answered any and all questions. Thomson stood before the press for an hour until they ran out of questions. The campaign took a hit, but only a little one, and certainly not as bad as if the Wellesley campaign, and Heath Connolly in particular, had controlled the story.

The motorcade’s taillights indicated they were leaving the interstate for Highway 124. The GPS system showed the motorcade turning east, which would take them towards the small town of Cadiz. Five minutes later, the motorcade was through Cadiz and a mile south of town, turned right onto Highway 274 and Wire started to wonder if they might be heading towards Lake Barkley.

It wouldn’t be the first time Wire trailed Connolly to water.

First there had been the Florida Keys.

Two months ago, Wire tailed Connolly and Wellesley Jr. to Florida, first to Clearwater Beach and a boat trip and then to the far western end of the Florida Keys. The two men took a boat to a small island that held an estate across a small bay. Wire set up shop on the opposite side of the bay at a small resort. It was Florida and she was in the Keys, so she took advantage of her tall, slender yet athletic look. She blended easily with the beautiful people and lounged on the beach in a series of string bikinis. While lying on the beach, she used a small high-test camera to snap photos and record video of Connolly and Wellesley Jr. as they partied on the estate across the bay. The pictures revealed the political operative and vice president’s son mingling with at least twenty other men, soaking up the sun, drinking cocktails and eating seafood while on the patio and decks of the mansion.

Each night, Wire uploaded the photos and video to the Judge. While the whole thing instinctively smelled to her, she wasn’t sure exactly what she was looking at.

The Judge took care of that.

The Judge knew
what he was looking at, knew
of the players and knew
what to do with it all.

The United States Supreme Court’s
Citizens United
decision had rewritten the country’s campaign finance laws, allowing citizens to contribute as much as they wanted to political action committees. The old contribution limits, such as those found in the McCain-Feingold law, were no more. The campaign contribution spigot had been turned on full throttle and the money flowed like a flooded river into Super PACs across the country supporting candidates of both parties, although Republicans had the clear advantage in the largesse of contributions to such PACs.

The only catch was that Super PACs are not permitted to coordinate
with the candidate or candidates they seek to support.

Now, nobody in their right mind thought that candidates and Super PACs supportive of them wouldn’t indirectly coordinate their messages in some way, shape or form. Yet this is where Connolly’s hubris got him. What Wire stumbled across in those two days with her pictures and video was Connolly and Wellesley Jr. clearly, unequivocally and blatantly coordinating with the Super PACs. It had been reported that during the summer, the Republican Super PACs combined had raised nearly $700 million dollars for use primarily on the vice president’s campaign. A tiny fraction of it had been spent prior to the meeting in the Florida Keys. Wire caught Connolly and Wellesley Jr. meeting with the leaders of the Super PACs with the intent of mapping out spending the hundreds of millions of dollars over the final two months of the campaign. It was clear that Connolly was shooting not only for the White House but a Republican majority in the House and Senate as well. He was shooting, not just for a win, but for a political sea change.

The photos and video that Wire took gave the Judge all he needed to feed a weeks-long fundraising scandal for the Wellesley campaign that moved the poll numbers in the governor’s favor, a place they remained.

The scandal in the Florida Keys made Connolly a desperate and dangerous man.

He’d never lost an election—ever.

He bore watching.

The laptop beeped. There was another course change. The motorcade now turned right onto a road named Forest Circle. Wire was approximately a half mile back. When she reached Forest Circle, she turned in and immediately pulled over to the side of the road and killed her headlights. She observed the computer monitor as the motorcade proceeded ahead of her. The GPS showed that the motorcade turned right onto Elmwood Drive. The vehicles advanced to the end of the road and stopped.

BOOK: Electing To Murder
6.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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