Starrett Stays on the Ballot

Despite a challenge by Republican attorney and former legislator Kelly Clark, state officials have determined that Constitution Party candidate Mary Starrett will remain on the 2006 gubernatorial ballot. From the AP:

In a letter Thursday to Clark, the Oregon attorney general's office said the alleged violation — even if it's found to be true — "would not disqualify the challenged nominee from the ballot."

"Especially in light of the posture and timing of the alleged procedural defect, exclusion from the ballot would not be an appropriate remedy," the attorney general's office said. ...

Starrett has accused Clark of being in cahoots with Saxton supporters to try to keep her off the ballot.

Clark, who insists he is operating independently of the Saxton campaign and the Oregon Republican Party, has said he plans to file a lawsuit soon in Marion County Circuit Court seeking to have Starrett removed from the ballot.

Earlier this week, Ridenbaugh Press questioned Kelly Clark's approach. Randy's argument: Despite his usual stance as the "David" fighting "Goliath", in this case he's carrying the water for the big bad GOP against minor party upstart Mary Starrett.

On Friday, the ever-evolving Oregon governor’s race wheeled again as it spun - unpredictably - on the axis of one of the more intriguing personalities in recent Oregon politics: Kelly Clark. ...

Willamette Week wrote, ” The question at this point seems not to be whether Clark’s mind is open, but what could possibly be going through it. He is a sex offender who has made a mint defending the sexually abused, and he’s also a former gay-rights advocate being paid to dismantle the biggest gay-rights victory in Oregon history. Clark sees no inconsistency, because in both cases he says he is motivated by the same dominating passion: disgust with the misuse of power. ‘I get to represent the little guy going up against the big guy,’ he says. ‘I absolutely love that, whether it’s the church, the government, insurance companies, banks.’”

Where in all this does his new action, announced on Friday, fit in? When he says he plans to file an action seeking to disqualify Constitution Party nominee Mary Starrett from the November general election ballot for an obscure gray-area possible legal violation, whose power abuse is it that he’s disgusted with?

And over at Loaded Orygun, they had another wrinkle -- That Kelly Clark's complaint is completely bogus:

So, if they don't really hold a nominating convention, how can they be held to a rule that defines when they should notify people about that convention? Does the delegate selection then become the convention? Does the ORS mean to say that they must have a convention? These are questions that a lawyer might best answer. Surely Kelly Clark knows the answers, right? He's researched this before filing a complaint, right?

Well, not necessarily. This IS Kelly Clark we're talking about. It's only been about a year since the SoS sent him a letter explaining all this, from the LAST time the Republicans tried to get the CP kicked off the ballot. ...

I think now I understand why Starrett was more amused than anything else--they must have shaken their heads at CP HQ, wondering how much of a dolt you have to be to get spanked on a complaint and then file it again exactly the same way next election.


  • Eric (unverified)

    Sounds like Kelly Clark was so bored with his life that he had to do something with his free time to justify his importance in politics.

  • Dan E. (unverified)

    Eric...I think you just described everyone on this blog. There is no lack of self-importance on the right or the left.

  • red (unverified)

    Dan, I love it! It annoys me how people on all the poltical blogs think they're so much cooler/in-the-know than they really are. Coyote over at NWRepublican is the worst.


  • Wesley Charles (unverified)

    What was Kelly Clark, a former Republican legislator thinking?

    He files an election complaint with the Democratic Secretary of State, who punts the issue over to the Democratic Attorney General, who tells the former Republican legislator that the Democratic Secretary of State will not disqualify a Constitutional Party candidate, whose appearance on the ballot will only help re-elect the Democratic Governor.

    Republicans like Clark have yet to recognize and appreciate the power than comes with owning every statewide office, especially those that can re-draw legislative districts, determine whether an initiative qualifies for the ballot, and whether a candidate remains on the ballot.

    • Wes
  • Garrett (unverified)

    Wes, Sounds like Texas.

  • Levon (unverified)

    Now we have empirical proof that God supports Mary Starrett.

  • Burn the Greens (unverified)

    So do you think Kelly is available to file the same complaint to take the Green Party candidate off the ballot as well? After all he is a man of principle!!!

  • (Show?)

    There's an ongoing challenge here:

    How do we create real consequences to violating election laws? Usually, election law violations require payment of small fines, and in multi-million dollar campaigns, where's the incentive?

    While I agree here that it doesn't seem there's reason to kick Starrett off the ballot (i.e. that so many folks wanted to go to the convention and didn't hear about it because they didn't read the fine print in a newspaper), generally, it's a serious policy challenge.

    Are there ways to create strong disincentives, without requiring the ultimate: forfeiture of election?

  • (Show?)

    It annoys me how people on all the poltical blogs think they're so much cooler/in-the-know than they really are.

    Waitasecond, are you saying I'm not cool? Okay, maybe. But Jesse Cornett--he's the epitome of cool!

  • Jefferson Smith (unverified)

    Evan has a good point. If the only remedy is either (1) a fine (a minor problem for big-money candidates that only punishes the folks without access to big donors), or (2) elimination from the ballot (the political death penalty), then there is imperfect deterrence.

    That said, publication of violations -- which is often trumpeted by opponents -- does provide some deterrent. The even more muddling challenge is when the punishment/investigation/news comes after the election. (Also, many of the violations are venal rather than mortal intent considerations might be useful in doling out punishments.)

    Methinks Evan raised the interesting point here. (Not that the snipes and such are entirely devoid of interest.)

  • Sarah Williams (unverified)

    Other things equal, Starrett in many ways is a stronger candidate than Saxton. She certainly presents better. Saxton gives me the creepy crawlies a bit. The eye surgery helps a bit, but the prominent neck wrinkles, the .

    I'm not saying that this matters...but to boot he's a little Eddie Haskell. The rap on him before the statewide political career was that he had deep deference for anyone who'd had some business success. That doesn't bode well for balanced government.

    Sure, he'd go after Unions...but I don't think for the benefit of the rest of us.

    (I also think it's funny that in the past he has listed himself as a "small business person" so he didn't have write "Portland Corporate Lawyer" -- which is how he'd spent his career.)

    Slimy and smarmy and owned by all the wrong people. I'm surprised that Republicans like this guy. He seems a bit like Clinton without the charisma or the empathy (or as many of the smarts). He basically seems like a big business sissy boy who'll position himself wherever he needs to in order to win.

    <h2>Starrett on the other hand is well spoken, attractive, and at least seems straightforward. I disagree with her on many issues, but if I were central casting, I'd certainly pick her as my Conservative Poster Child before the big business sissy boy who'll position himself wherever he needs to in order to win.</h2>
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