As Montrose enters its second leaderless month, the interim government is fighting rumors of instability while the various mayoral candidates are either working to shore up their bases, fending off tribal leadership challenges or facing sectarian unrest.
Amongst the candidates fueling the partisan divide is Jason Ginsburg, whose name was initially put forward as a potential unity candidate. Ginsburg is a member of the Townhomies — a group eternally at odds with the Brokehemians, Montrose’s disenfranchised indigenous population.
Although Ginsburg has ties to the Brokehemians, around the turn of the century he worked with some of their former leadership to establish communications infrastructure, he is relatively unknown — and greeted with suspicion — by the caste’s younger members.
When asked about Ginsburg’s candidacy, fighting age Brokehemian men often ask “who’s that,” before stroking their socially mandated beards and consuming the tribe’s traditional drink of Lone Star and a whiskey shot. Ginsburg’s anonymity within the Brokehemian community comes despite years of outreach.
For over a decade, Ginsburg has overseen Montrose’s Halloween Pub Crawl — an annual Brokehemian celebration of the changing of the seasons. Additionally, for the last few years he has also provided musical accompaniment to an annual Mardi Gras celebration at Catbirds, former Mayor for Life Chris Hutto’s official residence.
Ginsburg’s ties to the previous regime have attracted the support of some former Huttites, among them Mark Martin — one of Hutto’s longest serving advisors. Martin, who helped engineer Montrose’s independence and Hutto’s ascension to the throne, has quietly thrown his weight behind Ginsburg’s candidacy.
As word of Martin’s involvement in the election spread, Brokehemians began accusing Ginsburg of being part of Hutto’s coterie. Ginsburg, a common real estate attorney, took umbrage to insinuations that he represents the political establishment.
“I’m DJing Fat Tuesday with two drag queens, you can’t get any more Montrose than that,” he harrumphed. Ginsburg is also working to distance himself from Hutto by calling for an investigation into the previous administration’s spending.
“Hutto left Montrose in debt due to extensive liquor purchases and overall decadence,” he said. “The next administration must have a comprehensive strategy to restore our fiscal solvency. That’s why I propose buying everyone’s beer on someone else’s tab.”
Concerns over the state of Montrose’s finances have begun to rattle the breakaway neighborhood. Some residents are beginning to wonder if external moneyed interests will kill Montrose’s fledgling democracy in the nest just as it struggles to take wing.