Thursday, May 17, 2007

What about that at large seat on county council

It seems a curiosity, but has anyone really thought about how the nomination of Charles Mccollough to the County Council at large seat could play out in the fall. The details of Mr. McCollough's rather bizarre situation are covered in the PG and the Trib. He tried to remove himself from the ballot after the deadline for such withdrawals. Then despite there being another active candidate on the ballot he still won. I read the news that says he intends to keep the nomination and run in the fall. If he does stay on the ballot, and his negative press ramps up going into the fall, is it really assured that he will win one of the two at-large seats on county council? According to the Trib today the guy who lost, Kevin Acklin, is undecided about running a write in campaign. One question is whether that is even permissible for these at-large seats.

Despite popular belief to the contrary, the at-large seats on County Council are not designated for one Democrat and one Republican. If you read the county's home rule charter it says:

§ 1.3-305. d - Any political party or body shall be entitled to nominate one candidate for the office of at-large County Council Member. In the municipal election, each voter may vote for no more than one candidate for the office of at-large Council Member and the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall be elected as the at-large County Council Members.
So would a write-in candidate have to declare himself a political body and then nominate him(or her)self to run for this seat? Now I am not sure if anyone really knows what any political body is.. as in something different from a political party... but theoretically it means that someone who is not a Democrat or Republican could fill one of the seats. A party can only nominate one candidate so both at-large seats can't be of the same party, but there is no reason the two parties represented are limited to the two major parties. That's just the way it would normally work.

If Mr Mccollough's support is seen to erode or split among Republicans, does it open up the possibility of a third party candidate getting the 2nd most votes? Hard, but not inconceivable. I could even see some incentives for the Democratics to encourage some voters to vote for the hypothetical third party candidate. The only risk to that is so many switch that the Democratic party candidate comes in third, but that seems a remote possibility. Game theory at its finest...

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