Arizona: You'll Say WOW Every Time

Yesterday’s Arizona Republic featured the musings of columnist E.J. Montini, who sought an answer to the question, “Since when are sham candidates bad?”

If you ask me, that’s a highly insightful question. Of course, that may be due to the fact that I asked pretty much the same question on Friday. But great minds think alike (I’m from the East; he’s from the East. I’m Italian; he’s Italian. It’s scary, I tell ya.)

When I first read the news story, it was bad enough. Political types recruiting like-minded political types to run on their opponent’s party line: That’s old-school chicanery.

But when it was clear that it was drifters and street denizens who had been added to the ballot, that excavated a new basement for political dirty tricks. Even for Arizona events, readers must have felt like they needed a shower (but at least for the first time, voters may have something in common with candidates).

Is the man(ny) with the pedi the answer to Arizona's many problems?

As I thought it over, though, I began to think that the interlopers may be onto something. One of the most “prominent” of the sham candidates, Anthony “Pa” Goshorn, is a pedicab driver in Tempe.

That may make him uniquely qualified to be a leader in our state.

First, he has provided actual service to residents. We voters just ain’t used to that.

Second, the way things are going, the pedicab may soon become the primary basis of the Arizona economy. It could be used to ferry schoolchildren to their over-enrolled classrooms. It could replace city and regional mass-transportation, which has had to slash budgets and cut routes. And it could be a grassroots rebirth of the state’s tourism industry, which we wrote about before. The three-wheeled conveyance could make the nation forget about that SB1070 brouhaha. Ironically, making Phoenix streets look more like Saigon’s could help make people stop talking about immigration.

Win – win – win.

Sham – wow!

Last night, we learned that some Arizona candidates nominally identified as Green Party candidates will remain on the ballot despite challenges.

U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell denied the temporary restraining order that the Arizona Green Party sought to keep the names of nine Green candidates off the ballot.

The Green Party alleged that these are “sham” candidates who were added in an election oddity in an attempt to draw votes away from democratic candidates in this fall’s election.

In denying the restraining order, the judge was confronted with the same dilemma that faces every voter: How to discern the sham candidates from the roster of bad candidates. Sure, there’s a difference, but the distinction is hard to determine.

We feel your pain, Judge Campbell.

In any case, though the restraining order was denied, the trial will continue. The question will be whether the nine candidates are true members of the Green Party, and whether their presence on the ballot violates the Green Party’s right to be associated with members who agree with its platform.

Of course, because they are going to appear on the ballot, and because the trial will likely trail out past November, it will be a largely academic argument.

The complete story is here.