Monday, June 26, 2006

Governor's Race Gets Third Candidate, but 4th is the Key

Little Rock record store owner Rod Bryan made the ballot for Governor as an Independent today. 10,000 voter petition signatures are required for an Independent candidate for Governor to get on the ballot, and the Secretary of State certified 10,052 of the 11,000+ signatures Bryan collected.

While I admire Bryan's gumption, he is unlikely to have an impact in the race. He is under forty, has $17.50 cash on hand, and has never been elected to public office. If he were a threat to Mike Bebee, Secretary of State Charlie Daniel's office would have found 53 more questionable petition signatures to challenge, and then attempted to deny Bryan ballot access based on the idea that he did not get the required number of signatures.

On the other hand, former state Representative Jim Lendall of Little Rock wants on the ballot as a Green Party candidate and IS a serious threat to Bebee. Not a serious threat to win, but a serious threat to get 3% of the vote (3% of the Governor's race is the minimum goal of the Green Party, as it would give them automatic ballot access across the board in 08). Lendall is not a credible candidate to conservatives, but he is to the far left. Since he is a former state legislator, his resume is credible. Lendall would be running under a "brand name" (Green Party) that has some favorable name recognition on the left, and he has a lot more than $17.50 to run on.


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2 Comments:

Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Lendall would run an issue's oriented campaign that will further erode Bebee's "content-free" campaign strategy. With Lendall in the race, Bebee is in trouble on both flanks. The text-book says you "run for the middle" in order to get the swing votes, but if he tries leaving the left for the middle with Lendall in the race he might lose a vote on the left for every one he gains in the middle!

You may be tempted to think that 3% going to a candidate like Lendall is no big deal- that is wrong thinking. It could make a huge difference in the race all out of proportion to its share of the total vote. Here is why: Remember the "swing vote" is only 10-15% of the electorate. When you understand that the whole election is about winning the 10-15% swing vote you begin to see that a wild-card like Lendall coming in and getting three percent is no small matter- 3% is a signifcant block of votes compared to the SWING VOTE that will decide the election, even if it is only a small slice of the total electorate.

In an election with no incumbant, a solid, adequately funded candidate like Asa Hutchinson has a base that is about 42% of the vote. A candidate like Bebee has a base that is maybe a few points higher because of Democrat tradition. Let's say 45%. The roughly 13% that is left is what the rest of the campaign is about. Each side gets their base locked up early and then the rest of the campaign, all those millions, are spent fighting for that 13% swing vote. What a Lendall candidacy can do is 1) take 3% off of Bebee's base, 2) help force talk about issues (which Bebee is trying to avoid but Asa wants), and 3) lob bombs from the left that will check a run for the center from Bebee.

Lendall has a reasonable shot at 3% considering the kind of Democrat Bebee is (corporate pawn). If Lendall gets five percent, Asa Hutchinson is your next Governor. Wealthy Asa supporters who have already maxed out their contributions to the Asa campaign and want to do more might consider writing a check to "Lendall for Governor".

But will Lendall make the race? The Green Party already has more signatures than Rod Bryan- but Arkansas dual standard ballot access laws say that a man running for Governor on a new Party label needs two or three times as many signatures to get on the ballot for Governor as that same man would running as an Independent!

Is that Constitutional? Of course not, two federal judges have already ruled that the law should be changed, but the two-party cartel has dragged its feet hoping to keep other parties off the ballot. Democrat Secretary of State Charlie Daniels and Attorney General Mike Bebee are going to do everything they can, they will spare no expense of your tax dollars, to defend our unconstitutional ballot access laws in order to keep Jim Lendall and the Greens off that ballot!

In an amazing side-bar: State Senator Jim Holt, the Republican nominee for Lt. Governor, sponsored a bill in 05 that would have eliminated the dual standard for ballot access. Under his SB 1112 the standards for ballot access would have been 10,000 signatures whether one ran as an independent or as a member of a new party. Ironically, Republican Chairman Senator Gilbert Baker helped kill the bill that would have put Lendall on the ballot this year and likely made Asa Hutchinson our next Governor!

Now Lendall will have to spend time, money, and effort in court challenging the law. He may not even know if he will be on the ballot until August! Even if Lendall eventually wins the suit (and his odds are excellent considering what the other federal judges have said about the double standard) he will have wasted a lot of time and money just getting on the ballot. The GOP would doubtless prefer Lendall spend that time and money taking votes from Mike Bebee!

8:16 PM, June 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Discriminatory ballot access laws are a major reason why this nation is in the mess it's in. Such laws impact far more than this year's gubernatorial race in Arkansas.

If you're fed up with your party, but you see little reason to make the switch to the other major party, start pushing for a return to a level playing field.

8:30 PM, June 26, 2006  

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