More ballot problems for GOP candidates

I have been complaining that only Mitt Romney and Ron Paul qualified to get on the Virginia primary ballot.  But candidates, except for those two, are also having ballot problems in Ohio, Illinois, D.C., Missouri, and Arizona:

Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator who came within a few votes of winning the Iowa caucuses, didn’t get on the ballot in Virginia or the District of Columbia. His campaign also filed incomplete slates of delegates in Illinois and Ohio, which could limit his ability to win delegates in those key states.

Virginia has been a tough ballot to crack for several GOP candidates because the state requires campaigns to collect signatures from at least 10,000 registered voters. Romney and Paul were the only ones who made the ballot for the March 6 primary.

Perry sued, and was later joined in the lawsuit by Gingrich, Huntsman and Santorum. But on Friday, a federal judge in Richmond refused to add them to the ballot, saying the candidates should have challenged Virginia’s primary qualifying rules earlier.

Santorum is the only major candidate who will be left off the ballot in the District of Columbia primary April 3, said Paul Craney, executive director of the DC Republican Committee. The party provides two ways to get on the ballot: Pay $10,000, or pay $5,000 and collect signatures from 296 registered Republicans in the heavily Democratic capital city. . . .

Huntsman, the former Utah governor, failed to get on the ballot in Arizona or Illinois.

The requirements to get on the GOP ballot in Arizona are pretty easy — all you have to do is fill out a two-page form. Twenty-three candidates managed to do it properly, so they will be on the ballot for the state’s Feb. 28 primary.

Huntsman, however, was left off the ballot because his filing had a photocopied signature and wasn’t notarized, said Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett. . . .

Gingrich, the former House speaker, didn’t make it on the ballot for primaries in Missouri or Virginia, though he has joined the lawsuit to get on the Virginia ballot and Missouri won’t award any delegates based on its Feb. 7 primary. Instead, Missouri Republicans will hold caucuses March 17.

Perry, the Texas governor, made the ballot in Illinois, but he will only be eligible to win one delegate in the state’s March 20 primary — a contest in which 54 delegates will be up for grabs. . . .

Illinois has a unique way of awarding delegates to candidates. The winner of the state’s GOP primary doesn’t necessarily get any delegates. Instead, Republicans will vote for the actual delegates, who are listed separately on the ballot but are identified by the candidate they support.

Each of the state’s 18 congressional districts will elect three delegates, for a total of 54. To appear on the ballot as a delegate, candidates had to collect signatures from at least 600 registered voters in the district where they are running.

Only one Perry delegate filed signatures by the deadline, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections. Gingrich, Paul and Romney filed full slates, while only 44 Santorum delegates filed signatures.

Ron Michaelson, who served as executive director of the Illinois State Board of Elections for nearly 30 years, said he doesn’t remember presidential candidates having these kinds of problems in previous elections.

“They’re concentrating so heavily on the early states, devoting so many resources there that they’re not looking down the road far enough,” said Michaelson, now a visiting assistant professor at the University of Illinois in Springfield.

via GOP candidates fail to get on some primary ballots | NewsOK.com.

Huntsman, since this article was written, has dropped out of the race.  Since the presidential race is not a popularity contest but, you know, an election, shouldn’t some of these others who can’t get on ballots drop out too?

Christian right leaders anoint Santorum

A conclave of leaders of  social conservative organizations and evangelical political activist groups voted to rally behind Rick Santorum:

A week before the pivotal South Carolina primary, Rick Santorum’s quest to emerge as the chief alternative to Mitt Romney received a boost Saturday from a group of evangelical leaders and social conservatives who voted to back his candidacy in a last-ditch effort to stop the GOP front-runner’s march to the nomination.

About three-quarters of some 150 pastors and Christian conservative political organizers meeting in Texas sided with Santorum over a home-state favorite, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — an outcome that illustrated continuing divisions within the ranks of conservatives who make up the base of the GOP.

The gathering also reflected the lingering dissatisfaction with Romney over abortion rights and other issues, and the belief of conservatives that they need to unite behind one contender before the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary if they are to derail the former Massachusetts governor they view as too moderate. Romney leads narrowly in polls here after victories in Iowa and New Hampshire.

“There is a hope and an expectation that this will have an impact on South Carolina,” said Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who attended the Texas meeting.

It’s unclear, however, whether conservative voters will heed the advice of these leaders and back Santorum particularly with other conservative candidates still in the race. The backing of a chunk of conservative leaders could help Santorum, who long has run a shoestring campaign, raise money and set up stronger get-out-the-vote operations.

via Santorum Backed by Social Conservative Leaders – ABC News.

Much will be said about Santorum as the evangelical candidate.  Remember, though, that he is not an evangelical.  He is a Roman Catholic.  Notice how tolerant evangelical activists have become!

I know the complaints about Santorum, as have come up in the discussions here, is that he is a big government conservative, that he wants to use the power of the federal government to promote his moral agenda (however laudable that might be).  What would be an example of that?  His opposition to gay marriage and abortion?  His favoring constitutional amendments to address those issues?  Isn’t it the government that has been pushing gay marriage and abortion?  The constitution limits government, so why isn’t working for a constitutional amendment an appropriate tactic?  Or are you thinking of something else?

Also, in other election news, Jon Huntsman has dropped out of the race.

A new middle east war?

Our relationship with Iran is getting more and more dangerous.  As more and more of that country’s nuclear scientists are getting assassinated–with most people blaming Israel’s spy agency Mossad possibly with the collusion of the CIA–Iranian leaders are threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, that narrow gap of water through which much of the world’s oil supply flows.  This is in response to a new round of sanctions that would hinder Iran from selling its oil to the West.  America has vowed to keep the Strait open, and the navy is mobilizing.

Details from Anne Gearan of the Associated Press:

Tensions rising by the day, the Obama administration said Friday it is warning Iran through public and private channels against any action that threatens the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf.

Spokesmen were vague on what the United States would do about Iran’s threat to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz, but military officials have been clear that the U.S. is readying for a possible naval clash.

That prospect is the latest flash point with Iran, and one of the most serious. Although it currently overshadows the threat of war over Iran’s disputed nuclear program, perhaps beginning with an Israeli military strike on Iran’s nuclear structure, both simmering crises raise the possibility of a shooting war this year.

“We have to make sure we are ready for any situation and have all options on the table,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, addressing a soldier’s question Thursday about the overall risk of war with Iran.

For several reasons, the risk of open conflict with Tehran appears higher in this election year than at any point since President Barack Obama took office with a pledge to try to bridge 30 years of enmity. A clash would represent a failure of U.S. policy on several fronts, and vault now-dormant national security concerns into the presidential election contest.

The U.S. still hopes that international pressure will persuade Iran to back down on its disputed nuclear program, but the Islamic regime shows no sign it would willingly give up a project has become a point of national pride. .  . .

An escalating covert campaign of sabotage and targeted assassinations highlighted by this week’s killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist may not be enough to head off a larger shooting war and could prod Iran to strike first.

The brazen killing of a young scientist by bombers on motorcycles is almost surely the work of Israel, according to U.S. and other officials speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters. The killing on a Tehran street followed the deaths of several other Iranians involved in the nuclear program, a mysterious explosion at an Iranian nuclear site that may have been sabotage and the apparent targeting of the program with an efficient computer virus.

Iranian officials accuse both Israel and the U.S. of carrying out the assassination as part of a secret operation to stop Iran’s nuclear program. The killing came a day after Israeli military chief Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz was quoted as telling a parliamentary panel that 2012 would be a “critical year” for Iran — in part because of “things that happen to it unnaturally.” .  . .

Obama last month approved new sanctions against Iran that would target its central bank and its ability to sell petroleum abroad.

The U.S. has delayed implementing the sanctions for at least six months, worried about sending the price of oil higher at a time when the global economy is struggling.

A senior commander of the Revolutionary Guard force was recently quoted as saying Tehran’s leadership has decided to order the closure of the Strait of Hormuz if the country’s petroleum exports are blocked due to sanctions.

Panetta linked the two crises Thursday, saying an Iranian nuclear weapon is one “red line” the U.S. will not allow Iran to cross, and a closure of the strait is another. “We must keep all capabilities ready in the event those lines are crossed,” Panetta told troops in Texas.

He did not elaborate, but the nation’s top military officer, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, has said the U.S. would take action to reopen the strategic waterway. That could only mean military action, and there are U.S. warships stationed nearby.

via Tensions high, U.S. warns Iran not to block shipping | NewsOK.com.

Critics of the Iraq war said it was all about oil, a questionable claim, since the U.S. did not get oil out of the deal but rather hampered Iraq’s oil capability.  This war, if it happens, would be about oil.   Is that actually a better reason to fight than ideological reasons?

The story blames the Obama administration for bungling its foreign policy and getting us into this dilemma.  Is that fair?

Are you ready for another shooting war in the mideast?

Two cases of self-defense

I’ve been in my native Oklahoma last weekend to see my new granddaughter and to be there for her baptism.  Localists have a point:  There really are regional differences.  It’s nice to be back in my old stomping grounds.

It’s interesting to read the local newspapers.  You may have heard about the 18 year old single mother in Oklahoma who greeted the man who broke into her mobile home by killing him with a blast from her 12-gauge shotgun.  She’s receiving all kinds of acclaim.  That’s the Oklahoma spirit.

But that has brought up a case from a few years ago, with people here discussing whether it is similar or different.   A robber was holding up a pharmacy in Oklahoma City.  A worker shot him.  The thief was down but still alive.  So the worker re-loaded and finished him off.  Whereupon he was tried and convicted of first-degree murder.

I can’t believe an Oklahoma jury convicted him!  Do you see a line being crossed?  Or should criminals face a special jeopardy when their victims fight back?

For details see ScissorTales: No comparison between killings | NewsOK.com.

Packers lose!

The Green Bay Packers, with their 15-1 record, having secured the first round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs, promptly lost to the New York Giants, a 9-7 team they had already beaten once in the regular season.  How could that be?   The Giants were beaten by the lowly Washington Redskins.  Twice.  The universe is out of joint!

And the New Orleans Saints went down.  Tim Tebow’s miracle run with the Denver Broncos was bound to end, so the Patriots’ victory is no surprise.

What do you think will happen now?

The chicken’s name was Colin

Have you seen Portlandia, the TV sketch show that skewers today’s fashions and mores, as manifested in Portland, Oregon?

Nothing against locavores!  Or localism!  Or Portland!   It’s just the pose and the righteousness that begs for satire.  (And if you care so much for Colin, why are you going to eat him?)

HT:  Joanna


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