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Election law? Pshaw!

Sunday’s news reported an amazing turn in the upcoming US New Jersey elections. While the subject is of scant interest to the majority of our readers, the sheer audacity of the gambit deserves at least a passing note.

The issue at hand is the New Jersey Senate race between Democrat (Liberal; Socialist) incumbent Robert Torricelli and Republican (Conservative; Capitalist) challenger Doug Forrester. In June, Torricelli had a commanding 14% lead and expected an easy victory. Then one of his 1996 campaign contributors was convicted of making illegal contributions and sentenced to 18 months in jail. Torricelli apologized for failing to report some campaign gifts, was reprimanded by the Senate Ethics Committee and everyone expected the issue to fade away into the politics as usual category.

But it didn’t. Forrester kept the issue alive, and the results of the last poll showed that people were tired of politics as usual. Torricelli had dropped from 14 points ahead to 14 points behind.

After recovering from their apoplexy, the Democratic Party decided something had to be done. Torricelli obligingly fell on his sword and, in an emotional farewell on Sunday, withdrew from the running 35 days before the election.

Now for the audacious bit. The Democrats appointed Frank Pallone to take his place and are currently trying to get him on the ballot despite the election law that clearly states all nominees must be on the ballot 48 days before the election. As a handy precedent, a couple years back in Missouri, Mel Carnahan died in a plane crash a few weeks before the election and they couldn’t replace him. That the NJ Democrats seek to swap in a pinch hitter simply because polls suggest their original candidate would have lost demonstrates their disregard for the entire election process. It is an attitude displayed all too often by politicians everywhere.

What does it all mean? Torricelli fell from grace because he flaunted the election laws. The Democrats current bait and switch tactics show they too put self-interest ahead of the law. It also shows they’re still playing politics as usual.

Hopefully, the voters will teach them a new set of rules. Stay tuned.

20 comments to Election law? Pshaw!

  • Brian

    I live in NJ, Lautenburg got it. He’s the founder of ADP Corporation and worth hundreds of millions. So, on the statist scale, we hope for 7…

  • Andrew Duffin

    For “flaunted” you probably mean “flouted”, but the rest of your post is spot-on.

  • george zachar

    This dust-up is far more important than it appears on the surface. The Socialists hold a 1 seat majority in the Senate/Upper House, and the loss of this, or any seat, would give Bush legislative majorities in both chambers. This is why the Socialists are pulling out all the stops to hold this seat.

  • edgarthomson

    Its 51 days before the election not 48

  • Peter Schiavo

    I live in the non-socialist southern part of NJ myself. I could stomach it if they would at least pull a Mel Carnahan and kill Torricelli before they foist that left-wing turd Lautenburg on us. Lautenburg’s main claim to fame was trying to export NJ’s draconian gun laws to the rest of the country by proposing a law outlawing all CCW licenses in the US. nonstarter.

  • Bill Llewellin

    Mel Carnahan was elected after he died. It looks as though the lady Senator from Hawaii, who has also recently passed away, will win her seat again. I was sort of expecting the Dems to put in John Gotti, the Mafia Don, as a replacement. He is, after all, corrupt enough for New Jersey Dems, and conviniently, dead.

  • Well, with the disdain shown for election protocol by Republicans in Florida in 2000, the Dems must have thought they could ride through on easy street. Both cases are just further proof that the two party system is really above the law. They made ‘em, then can break ‘em.

    We need a change.

  • Calling the Republicans the Capitalist party seems a little unfair they engage in a lot of corporate pork spending.

  • Lautenberg, at 78, is a silly old relic of the crazy Liberal wing of the New Jersey Democratic party. In 18 years as Senator, Mr. L was completely unremarkable as a legislator. However, it appears his virtue at the present time, is having deep pockets.
    That the Supreme Court of NJ would rule in favor of hijacking the State Constitution is a disgrace & embarrassment.
    As a Southern NJ resident, perhaps it is time to really consider splitting into 2 seperate states – Northern NJ is an infection.

  • This is really making a lot of americans mad. It is a pretty common belief that if you screw up and let you constituents down, then the voters have the right to “kick the bum out”. You do not get a bigger bum than toricelli. He took bribes at least in the tens of thousands of dollars and the main reason he was not kicked out of the senate was that his party controls it. He should be in jail but the prosecuters main witness was the convicted briber and they did not think they could win. Privately some republicans are a tiny bit happy about it because it makes the democrats look really bad and continues the general perception that the democrats are corrupt and think they are above the law. Plus it distracts the public from the issues the democrats want to focus on and the republicans think they will still win.

  • Hey! I resemble that remark!

    I live in northern NJ (Lake Hopatcong/Morris County to be exact), and I really don’t like this switcheroo that the Democraps are pulling. They deserve to be totally stomped in the election for doing this.

  • Boy, a lot of New Jerseyians around here. Socialist North Jersey myself. (Union County). And I previously came up with Peter Schiavo’s suggestion of putting Torricelli on an airplane with Mel Carnahan if the Democrats really wanted to replace him.

    Unfortunately, the New Jersey Supreme Court is one of the most left-wing in the country, and held that an election isn’t a real election unless it has Democrats and Republicans. Both the Court and the New York Times don’t seem to realize that there are six parties running candidates for Senate, including the Libertarian party.

  • Paul Marks.

    The Republicans do not seem to be very good at “rapid rebuttal”.

    When Democrat controlled counties in Florida messed up the 2000 election the Republicans got the blame (because they did not shout loud enough) – so people still go about saying “the Bush brothers rigged the election”.

    In the recent Democratic primary battle in Florida Janet Reno and “Al” Gore (the latter on a special visit to Florida) managed to blame Jeb Bush for the mess that Democrat controlled counties had created.

    Republicans in New Jersey please note – if you do not shout your case (again and again) the public will believe the lies your foes tell about you.

    Paul Marks.

  • Peter Schiavo

    The Republicans in Jersey are only slightly better than the Dems. They had 10 years controlling the state house and 8 of those years we had a nominally Republican governor. Yet no roll back of the crappy gun laws. And they spent every tax dollar they could get their hands on. They built a light rail system herein S. Jersey that nobody wants and the ridership will be so low that even the Feds won’t contribute to the $800 million spent. My car insurance went up 50% this year with no change in coverage.

  • The democrats made plenty of mistakes in that election too (like not having enough staffers at the polling places, approving a terribly designed ballot, etc.), but the republican secretary of state did kick hundreds of people off the voting rolls illegally, and did little to correct the problems which are her responsibility. The republicans also screamed and shouted saying that Gore was trying to “win an election in the courts,” whatever that means, when he was plainly trying to correct a substantial error for which he was not responsible (since he didn’t run the Florida democratic party).

    In any case, the electorial system in our country was so inherently corrupt that the person who won the popular vote lost the office. That’s pretty far from a representative democracy, and to the extent that we do have a democracy, it’s based around chosing between two parties to the exclusion of all others.

  • While there may be many corrupt elements in our system, and there may have been corruption in Florida 2000, there’s nothing “corrupt” about the fact that “the person who won the popular vote lost the office.” There was no “popular vote.” There were 50 separate votes.

  • The president is a national office, the nation should decide. Why should someone in Montana have more a vote than I do in Illinois? They already get extra representation in congress, why should they in chosing the president? The electorial college is an institution which is fundamentally at odds with democracy, and should be abolished.

  • Lucas that is because our very nature.

    Ok everyone, say it with me now, “We are not a democracy, we are a constitutional representative republic”

    This is to keep the population heavy states (mainly the coasts) from controlling everything. Do we really want the Top 5-10 states controlling the national agenda and tell the rest of the country to piss off? I don’t, And I live in NY, one of the states that would be doing the controlling.

    I would also point out that Florida has more electoral votes then Montana does, making your “Why do they have more representation then I do?” Pretty much moot.

  • Yeah, Nick, I know that. I was arguing against that principle in the national election. Alaska already gets a fair amount representation in the congress (in locally controlled offices). This lets them have their voice in setting the national agenda, but not an unfair say in what gets vetoed and how it gets executed. There should be a state power check on population, and a population check on state power.

    “I would also point out that Florida has more electoral votes then Montana does, making your ‘Why do they have more representation then I do?’ Pretty much moot.”

    The number of electoral votes per person is higher in smaller states. Ergo, someone from Montana gets more say in who gets to be president than I do. Seems pretty darn clear to me.

  • CVD

    Toricelli and Lautenburg suck. That’s all. Toricelli is a lying sack of $#!t and letting Lautenburg take his place so late in the race does not conform to the rules. So, If the democrats can break the laws, the next time I get pulled over for speeding or whatever, I’ll just blame it on the government for setting a bad example for all of us. If the government can break the laws, so can we.