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raredance BS: Mickey Mouse New Jersey election (86* d) RE: BS: Mickey Mouse New Jersey election 05 Oct 02


The NJ situation recalls what happened a number of years ago across the river in Minnesota.

In the 1990 Minnesota governor's race, Republican nominee Jon Grunseth dropped out only eight days before the election. The conservative "family values",Grunseth's downfall were allegations of personal misconduct: adultery, drinking and nude swimming with female friends of his teenage daughter. One girl testified that Grunseth had pulled her top down. And there were photos of him cavorting with the teens whikle they still had their suits on. In late October as more witnesses started to talk about his behavior, the Republican Party demanded that Grunseth withdraw. When he finally did, they chose primary runner-up Arne Carlson as the new Republican candidate for governor. Then the Democratic secretary of state swiftly certified Carlson as the Republican candidate for governor; ordered paper ballots printed up because it was too late to change the voting machines; threw Grunseth's Lt. governor running mate off the ballot and substituted Carlson's; and did all this without a peep of complaint from the state's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. The Republicans were not even asked to pay the additional costs for all this even though local election officials muttered about staying up to count paper ballots.

The Democratic incumbent, Rudy Perpich, often referred to as "Governor Goofy" would probably have beaten the very conservative Grunseth, certainly after all the revelations.   On the other hand Perpich trailed Carlson by 10 points in every poll. Carlson had tried to make the point in the primaries that he was more electable than Grunseth, but primaries are dominated by the party faithful (Democratic or Republican) and are typically more extreme than the population as a whole (That's what got Barry Goldwater and George McGovern nominated). The Minnesota Deomocrats didn't whine or try to stop the switch, even though it ended up costing them the governorship.

The only legal challenge to this came from Grunseth's Lt. Governor running mate who didn't want to get removed from the ballot.   The Minnesota Supreme Court quickly voided her lawsuit. As for disenfranchisement of absentee voters, the absentee ballots had been printed and mailed long before Carlson substituted for Grunseth. Voters who had already mailed their ballots had to go to their polling places before the absentee ballots were counted and get a new one; otherwise, they could return their unmailed ballots to their local county auditor and get the revised version. No doubt many of them failed to do so, but that didn't faze the Republicans as it appears to in NJ. Nor did the Democrats raise it as a legal issue even though they may have had the most to lose because Perpich was more popular than Grunseth but less popular thyan Carlson. Minnesota's election law was sufficiently vague to permit a challenge by the Democrats to keep Grunseth on the ballot. only eight days before the election. The Democrats could surely have gone to Federal Court with the same aguments about disenfranchisement of absentee voters as the NJ Republicans are now doing, but they didn't. They opted to let a competitive election take place and Carlson won.

My understanding of the NJ issue is the the Torch could resign his office (not just his candidacy) and the Democratic governor could fill the vacancy. That would effectively mean a special election would be called at a later date.

If Torricelli had been thinking, he could have backdated his resignation to the 51 day deadline. What's the precendent for that? Exactly the same one that allowed Katherine Harris to backdate her resignation as Florida's secretary of state two months ago.


rich r




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