Saturday, July 12, 2008

Who's on Third?

Although former Councilman and Freeholder Adrian Mapp defeated incumbent Third Ward Councilman Don Davis in the June primary and will now run unopposed for the seat in November, Plaintalker is hearing that Democratic party enmity toward the independent-minded Mapp may lead to a write-in campaign in an attempt to recapture party control.

But one way to do that is to take a page from the playbook of the late former Mayor Albert T. McWilliams, also a party nemesis for his independence. Denied the party line for a third term in 2005, McWilliams tried everything including a write-in campaign and actually received nearly 3,000 votes in the general election, though not enough to prevail.

The write-in campaign was bolstered by new election laws that allowed voters to submit absentee ballots without having to state a reason. Mail-in ballots are very popular in other states and indeed, some require them. According to Union County rules, all the absentee ballots are optically scanned in on Election Day. One must apply for the absentee ballots and write-ins must be correctly printed, no stickers allowed.

If write-ins take place at the polls, voters must spell their candidate's name exactly. The McWilliams team offered ads and fliers on how to do it right, although later some leeway was allowed on the results.

The decision here is whether to broadly educate the public on how to do write-ins or rather to mount a stealth campaign to assure enough voters to upset the results. In one school board election, Veronica DeNoia won a seat with just such a stealth campaign. As a reporter, I followed tips and intuition enough to be able to reach her for a comment, even though her name was not even in the phone book.

If the rumors about a Third Ward write-in campaign are true, I can probably tell you right now who the candidate is. But I won't. Y'all figure it out.

--Bernice Paglia

2 Comments:

Anonymous agness mclean said...

Let me see....Don Davis?

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brenda Gilbert and Thomas Turner ran for third ward against Don Davis back in 2004. My bet is that it will be one of these two people. The question is who will support them? If Jerry Green is behind it he will be in big trouble with the party. This is Obama's year and all the democrats have to remain united. Don Davis, Olive Lynch and Harold Gibson have already pledged their support to Mapp and the local party committee member's efforts so they will certainly be rounding up their supporters behind the candidates and working for their election along with the rest of the ticket at the county and state level.

11:31 AM  

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