The Candidate From Nowhere

A controversy is brewing in our local political scene. Shades of Bush vs. Gore, because it involves an ambiguity in election law. Another similarity: viewpoints are split mainly along ideological lines – as if people choose the legal justification which will get their candidate elected.

The background: Last week’s election for city assembly ended with two top vote-getters in a four-way race heading into a runoff next month.

But not so fast! The first-place candidate, Brian W., might not be eligible to run, since he had not lived in the district for the required 12 months before the election. (Nobody brought this up as a legal question until after the votes were counted – though it was an issue during the campaign, more in a “He’s not one of us” sense.)

Brian W. didn’t just move into the district; he’s lived in the same house since 1980. But the district boundary was redrawn 6 months ago, splitting his neighborhood from one area and attaching it to another.

Our (short-sighted) election code never anticipated this contingency, and there are no precedents in state law. The decision could go either way: Either Brian W. has lived in the neighborhood for 22 years and ran for office in the district he now resides in; or, he has not satisfied the strict one-year residency requirement.

I won’t say any more about the ideological leanings of Brian W. and his main opponent, Paul B. (both are non-incumbents running for an open seat, BTW). I’d like to see how opinions divide when no party has a stake in the outcome.

  1. Brian W. is SOL, and should be, IMHO. Incumbent politicians are often unseated by redistricting, let alone unelected candidates.

  2. Why don’t you identify this guy? It’s a public election.

It would be pointless to punish Brian by declaring his candidacy invalidated by an arbitrary line-drawing and through no malicious action of his own. He should get a court ruling on this ASAP that the 12-month ruling should be over-ruled by the changing of the district lines. If Brian is ineligible, then everyone in his neighborhood who is also on his side of the new line is also ineligible. The state has no business arbitrarily declaring a section of its population “displaced”.

In due time. I don’t want to taint the results of this informal survey by letting folks who are way too interested plug the names into Google and learn the candidates’ party affiliation.

Oh, that would be Brian Whittle then. Thanks for the suggestion, Frankly I couldn’t care less what his affiliation is, and I don’t care enough to find out.

Egad! The secret’s out!:eek:

Still, I hope people respond to the abstract dilemma, before we delve into who’s with which party – and by who, I mean candidates and posters. I’d like to get a good run of responses, see who falls into the “Tough Luck” versus “Give the guy a break” camps.

Then we’ll see if their positions would hold if the candidate’s ideology becomes a factor.

Brian would be eligilble - the state’s action in re-districting his home dis-enfranchised him under color of law. There SHOULD be a constitutional Q on that.

In reality: your judges are political cronies, right? Do you really think there is any doubt which way this will be decided?