McClusky Out…or Is He?

So, after today’s hearing, Shaun McClusky dropped out of the race for mayor. If you need a summary of his press release: they forced me out but I screwed up. And Jeff Rogers is mean.

So it’s over, right?

Not quite. The hearing is still scheduled for tomorrow. His attorneys suggested that they may make some sort of move to have McClusky’s filing withdrawn.

Here is McClusky’s trouble. This is from ARS 16-312:

E. Except as provided in section 16-343, subsection E, a candidate may not file pursuant to this section if any of the following applies:

1. For a candidate in the general election, the candidate ran in the immediately preceding primary election and failed to be nominated to the office sought in the current election.

2. For a candidate in the general election, the candidate filed a nomination petition for the immediately preceding primary election for the office sought and failed to provide a sufficient number of valid petition signatures as prescribed by section 16-322.

3. For a candidate in the primary election, the candidate filed a nomination petition for the current primary election for the office sought and failed to provide a sufficient number of valid petition signatures as prescribed by section 16-322.

4. For a candidate in the general election, the candidate filed a nomination petition for nomination other than by primary for the office sought and failed to provide a sufficient number of valid petition signatures as prescribed by section 16-341.

This gets to why the move to pretend that he never filed in the first place. If he filed petitions, even bad ones, he’s ineligible to run as a write-in. It’s shaky, at best. Section 16-343 seems to allow for candidates who withdraw before a petition deadline to run as write-ins, but that deadline passed almost three weeks ago.

In summary: it’s over, not really, but yeah, it’s over.

Okay, That’s Weird

Just got a report back from a status hearing in the case about Shaun McClusky’s petition signatures. I’m waiting for some more details, but McClusky’s attorneys say that they’d like to withdraw McClusky’s petitions. That is, pretend he never filed in the first place.

They are denying that this has anything to do with making it legally possible for McClusky to get nominated as a write-in. McClusky’s attorney denied that the candidate even was considering such an option. Odd, given that he’s mentioned it on at least one local radio show.

Let’s say McClusky wants to run as a write-in. If he couldn’t get a petition drive done correctly, how on earth is he going to mount a successful write-in campaign?

Is there any reason to read this Hail Mary manuever as anything but a concession that McClusky’s petition effort was a class A royal screw up?

Darcy Out

Well, it was the bottom of the twelfth and…you know how that worked out before.

A judge has ruled that independent Pat Darcy does not have enough signatures to appear on the ballot as a candidate for mayor.

He was a pitcher for a National League team. I’m sure he’s been called out plenty of times.

This leaves Jonathan Rothschild (Democrat), Mary DeCamp (Green), Dave Croteau (Green) and, until tomorrow’s hearing, Republican Shaun McClusky.

McClusky Hearing Tomorrow

Where do I start?

Shaun McClusky sent out an e-mail last week begging for folks to come to a phone bank so he could raise money for the court challenge of his petitions. His attorney is former gubernatorial candidate John Munger, who apparently hasn’t yet told him that there aren’t too many concievable defenses here. Well, unless Munger thinks that Ron Asta’s legal arguments (in summary: yes, I screwed up, but put me on the ballot anyhow) would sound much better when expressed by an actual lawyer.

McCluskey and his supporters characterize the challenge to his petitions as “technicalities.” That would be more than whining if the challenges were based on the sort of ink used or that someone printed where they should have signed. Some may seem that way (a small number of signatures are being challenged for an invalid date, for example), but the lion’s share of them are being challenged because the people signing the petitions were not registered to vote, or registered outside of Tucson. Petitions exist as a way of proving that a candidate has the support of voters in whatever constituency he or she is running in. Asking that people actually be eligible to vote for you before they can sign a petition isn’t a technicality, it’s why petitions exist in the first place.

Here is the part that I don’t get: you have an unpopular city government, you have a Democratic president that is loathed by the Republican base, you have the tea party movement to motivate your folks…but the Republicans still couldn’t get their act together? I’ve been in campaigns for a long time, and when you see signatures like this it’s the result of a sloppy rush job from a poorly organized campaign. Jonathan Rothschild, who according to McClusky’s campaign represents “incompetence,” turned in 3,283 signatures. His campaign took the time to go door to door to get more accurate signatures and took the time to check them before turning them in. This was with less time than McClusky had (McClusky filed his statement of organization a week and a half before Rothschild, and turned in his signatures weeks after Rothschild did). Somehow, Rothschild was able to do this, but McClusky was not able to.

Another fun fact: McClusky turned in so few signatures, valid and otherwise, that had Rothschild turned them in in his primary, he would have been 459 short.

This basic campaign work is too hard for him and his crew to accomplish, but he is exactly the guy who can fix city government, right?

Advice for the Republicans next time…no, never mind. I want you guys to keep doing this.

CORRECTION: I got mixed up and thought that McClusky’s hearing was today and the original headline reflected that. It’s tomorrow; Pat Darcy’s is today. KJLL regrets the error.

Asta la Vista…

Ron Asta has been struck from the Republican Primary ballot after a challenge from the family of Jennifer Reeves, the high school senior who was killed in a car accident caused by Asta in 1994.

Asta did not contest the evidence against the signatures he filed, subsequently the court ruled that he could not be a candidate.

This leaves one candidate in the Republican primary, Shaun McClusky. He is likely to get thrown off the ballot as well for shaky signatures.

This is the last chance for me to use the steak graphic. Say goodbye.

Really?

Given that I used to work with the guy and we played soccer together, I’ll just take issue with one part of this morning’s rant that Josh Brodesky had in the Star about the state of city government and politics.

His complaint about the lack of scrutiny given to the presumed front runner Jonathan Rothschild is funny enough coming from a guy writing for the largest morning daily in the region so theoretically can do something about the lack of scrutiny. Even funnier is the example he gives:

The biggest scrutiny Rothschild has faced in his candidacy is over his decision to choose a Budweiser at a local brewery. Hard to believe anyone can become mayor of a major city without any more scrutiny than that.

The article detailing Rothschild’s choice in major label lagers that supposedly didn’t scrutinize Rothschild enough was written by a certain Josh Brodesky.

Jonathan Rothschild On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

I got reports back from the hearing on Marshall Home’s claim that Jonathan Rothschild is inelligible for the ballot. Home has ratcheted things up. His initial filing claimed that as an attorney, Rothschild can’t run for office. In court today, he doubled down and said that Rothschild is an agent of a foreign power: the Queen of England.

The fun continues at 1:30 when Rothschild makes the more mundane claim that Home can’t run because he hasn’t established residency in the city. There is actually nothing in city code or state law that allows for Rothschild to challenge Home on the basis that he is a chimichanga short of a lunch combo.

Following the Rules

I get eTracks, our local Republican party’s electronic newsletter (For Freedom!). The latest is an appeal from local mahout Brian Miller for money based on the legal challenges to Republican nominating petitions. Money quote:

Defending against these legal challenges will cost our candidates money and time, while Rogers—a lawyer—will be able to launch and fund these challenges himself. We can’t let lawyering and legalese decide our elections outside the ballot… I mean, mailbox.

Yep, Miller is still seething over that all-mail election thing.

Which brings me around to my point. Miller and company’s argument is that mail-in balloting will lead to all sorts of shenanigans, that rules will be broken.

It’s a silly argument with regard to the mail-in elections, since two thirds of Tucsonans already vote that way, but hey, just for the sake of argument, let’s continue.

Miller and I agree: election laws are important. Well, what about the one that says to be a candidate, you have to get a certain number of valid signatures to get on the friggin’ ballot?

Hey, I’ve been in campaigns long enough to know that you will always have bad signatures: people that are unregistered, people that don’t actually live in the constituency, people that don’t realize that they are registered at the wrong address. The solution is to get so many signatures that the good ones will take you past the line even with that certain percentage of bad signatures.

These campaigns didn’t do that. Shaun McClusky, to cite the most extreme case, only turned in 123 above the minimum, and the ones he turned in were sloppy. In the most egregious example, one page of fifteen signatures only contained two voters that even lived in the city. This sort of work is from a campaign that was desperate and rushed, not one that was well organized.

Even with the “energized” tea party base and anger at mayor and council, this is the best they can do? Instead of sending out whiny e-mails, Miller ought to be seeing what he can do to make sure his party is organized to contest elections.

Gathering signatures is a slog. It’s early in a campaign when the organization consists of the candidate and a few friends. It can be difficult. It also usually turns out to be the easiest part of a long campaign. It’s certainly easier than having to govern Tucson.

Kinda Dull

Yesterday, I got an e-mail detailing mayoral candidate Marshall Home’s felony convictions. I’m sure that this will generate talk amongst our political chatterers, maybe even a story or two in our local papers. But, here is something that I think is even more interesting. These are the numbers of signatures turned in by some of the campaigns, an early indicator of organization and enthusiasm for the candidates:

Shaun McCluskey (R): 1,183
Ron Asta (R): 1,205
Marshall Home (D): 2,950

That’s right: the whack-job (and I mean that in the most clinical sense) who thinks that our nation’s financial woes can be solved by an obscure provision of the UCC, that attorneys are under the sway of the Queen of England and that he’s got the ability to cure diseases with the healing power of theatrical lamps collected more signatures than both Republican candidates combined. Yes, Democrats need more signatures than Republicans, but the ostensible establishment Republican candidate barely got more than the required minimum and got a shade less than the guy whose most recent media appearances involved making excuses for killing a teenager.

So, this is the best local Republicans can do after 18 months of tea partyin’ and the constant barrage from the Star? After all that, they were unable to find more folks as ticked off as they are?

That’s the funny part: there are plenty of people who are not satisfied with the direction of city government, but the two candidates that the Republicans offer are not well suited to offering an alternative vision. The persistent questions about Asta’s recent history will likely make it difficult to offer any ideas. As for McCluskey, the only example of his recent “transformation” from McCutskey to Serious Shaun seems to consist of a “new” idea he presented in an interview in the Star that he didn’t realize the city has been doing for years.

I’ve been helping out Jonathan Rothschild’s campaign, but I’d still like to see some sort of discussion going on. What we have instead are candidates on the other side who don’t have much more to offer than shallow complaints and who don’t even have their act together enough to even get their signatures right. These guys, and the tea party that backed them, are still not ready to go from colorful protest to the more boring slog of governing.

Even if McCluskey and Asta make the ballot, don’t expect an exchange of ideas.