Cigar Hunter: Post-election short smokes

Cigar Hunter is back after a short election hiatus. The next prize giveaway will be announced later in the week. Make sure you’re at least 18 years old and a member of the Cigar Hunter email list for a chance to win.

Today’s photographic guest smoker: The late Christopher Campbell, a Navy SEAL who died on August 6, 2011 in Afghanistan when his helicopter crashed. CQ/Roll Call photographer Chris Maddaloni took this photo of mementos, including a CAO cigar, that were left Sunday on his grave marker at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Just imagine her toasting his robusto

Cigars turn up in the strangest political stories. This week news emerged that Illinois Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. will likely go to jail for misusing campaign money on home furnishings and travel. (RELATED VIDEO: Jackson nearing plea deal, jail time)

But his donors’ dollars didn’t buy just any garden-variety plane tickets: Chicago newspapers breathlessly reported that the airfare was for Jackson’s mistress, a hostess at a Washington, D.C. restaurant/cigar lounge.

The hot spot? Ozio on M Street in Washington. I’m embarrassed to say it’s a few blocks from my office and I haven’t been there yet. Is Giovanna Huidobro, the mistress in question, still an employee? (I might have to go find out.)

Her name isn’t nearly as well-known as that of Karin Stanford, whose affair with the congressman’s father (the Rev. Jesse Jackson) produced a child some years ago. But whether it’s plane tickets or child-support payments, the apple doesn’t seem to fall far from the tree. (RELATED: D.L. Hughley book says Rev. Jackson paid mistress — again)

Even if Huidobro has vanished, there’s always hope for former Jackson lady-friends: Stanford now teaches black history and hip-hop culture at Cal State Northridge. Maybe she can take up cigar rolling if the bikini modeling doesn’t work out.

Because Punxsutawney Phil isn’t odd enough

Pennsylvania has some odd traditions, the Groundhog Day rodent being probably the most famous. But last week in the Eastern Penn. town of Richland, the borough council approved a New Year’s Eve “drop” of a giant cigar instead of a shiny ball or (if you’re on Key West) a big conch shell.

The Lebanon (Penn.) Daily News reported that the Richland Heritage Society will drop the cigar — which they’ve used before — from a bucket truck at midnight. Last year’s event drew about 220 people. Someone shot a video of this in 2010. Words. Cannot. Describe.


John Hay Cigars in — yes — Intercourse, Pennsylvania sponsors this every year.