Karl Lauterbach is coming soon. There are unmistakable signs of this. First a patrol car passes the voting booth at walking pace, which local comrades have set up on the edge of the weekly market in Cologne-Dellbrück. An employee of the public order office then parks his heavy motorcycle next to the stand. Only now does a black Mercedes station wagon with Berlin license plates roll up.
Two officers from the Federal Criminal Police Office are checking the situation. Then Lauterbach can get out. He wears jeans, a red sweater, a slightly wrinkled jacket and a mask with a second layer of cellulose, which has almost become a new trademark for the former fly wearer. Lauterbach is recognized directly despite the mouth and nose protection. Passers-by immediately take cell phone photos.
In the pandemic, the doctor has become one of the best-known warners; He regularly plays journalistic one-two with the even more popular virologist Christian Drosten. Lauterbach has more than 580,000 followers on Twitter and is omnipresent on television. Up to Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), many appreciate his expertise.
Valued expert and enemy of corona deniers
Others, on the other hand, consider him to be an always exaggerating pain in the ass, a Cassandra in permanent warning mode. Every now and then the Social Democrats are greeted with pure hatred. He has become the enemy of the corona deniers.
Things got really bad after the first Infection Protection Act was passed in autumn. Lauterbach received alarmingly concrete threatening emails. Strangers carried out a paint attack on his small car near his apartment in Cologne. The authorities consider the situation to be so dangerous that the 58-year-old Social Democrat has to be watched at every turn when he is out and about in public.
The election campaign is still not the purest horror for Lauterbach’s bodyguards. Sufficient distance is always a natural need for the famous professor. He is anything but a talented fisherman of men. Lauterbach chats with his comrades at the Dellbrücker stand until someone asks if it wasn’t time to visit the market.
But Lauterbach is also deeply involved in a conversation with a party member during the small group instead of making contact with market customers. In the small escort, one comrade whispers to another: “Give me the basket with the flyers, Karl doesn’t distribute anything.” At least Lauterbach is available for selfies. He consistently keeps the mask on.
Daughter of Turkish guest workers
Since 2005, Lauterbach has made it into the Bundestag four times by direct mandate. This time it could be tight in the constituency of Leverkusen-Cologne IV. Because the CDU set up Serap Güler. The 41-year-old Secretary of State for Integration in North Rhine-Westphalia is one of the close confidants of Union Chancellor candidate Armin Laschet.
Guler is the child of a Turkish guest worker couple. She embodies a lot at once. It stands for Laschet’s promise to make Germany a “rising republic” for all of good will, no matter where they come from. She is a symbolic figure for the opening course of the CDU for people with a migration background and also for the fact that after Angela Merkel the Union will not again become a largely male-dominated party. Should Laschet become chancellor, Güler should also get a job in his government. Integration minister perhaps? If you ask the CDU politician that, Güler answers with a self-confident counter-question: “Why not?”