Just One Minute
Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

The One Minute Torricelli

Bob "The Torch" Torricelli was lawfully nominated by the Democratic Party as their candidate to contest a seat for the US Senate this November 5. "Lawfully nominated"? Yes, perhaps surprisingly, there are rules governing this sort of thing. These rules allow for an orderly distribution of ballots and prevent frivolous candidates (see the UPDATE) from appearing on what might become an overcrowded ballot.

Four parties complied with these rules and nominated candidates: the Democrats, the Republicans, the Greens, and the Libertarians. Within 51 days of the election, parties are not allowed to change their nominee except in the event of unusual hardship, such as death.

Bob Torricelli, the Democratic candidate, faced death in the polls due to long-standing ethics problems. He has announced his withdrawal from the race. Is it too late for the Democrats to put a new candidate on the ballot? Surely, voters are entitled to a choice?

The voters have four lawful choices, as noted. If Torricelli declines to campaign vigorously, shame on him; if the Democrats now regret their choice of nominee, well, better luck next time. But the Democrats are in the NJ Supreme Court arguing that voters are being denied a choice because of the State's election laws, with which all four parties have complied, and which the other three parties expect to see enforced.

The voters have four choices, including Bob Torricelli. Any pretense to the contrary is posturing; any notion that the Democrats are somehow entitled to present a fifth choice does not seem to be legal. Of course, that is what the Court will decide. But the notion that voter choice is being restricted by the Republicans, or the Courts, or the law, or anything other than the decisions of the Democratic Party, is absurd.

UPDATE: Did I say "absurd"? I meant to say that the Democratic position was "in the public interest and the general intent of the election laws to preserve the two-party system."

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