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Posted Apr 12, 2011, 6:50 am
I call it the "Joe Sweeney Problem:" how does the media judge whether or not a wingnut candidate is worth covering? If a candidate is running in a major party, or is even the nominee of a major party, can you really be dismissive of them? And, where do you draw the line? How do you set a standard for genuinely bat guano crazy, but don't eliminate a candidate with odd-sounding ideas that, although out of the mainstream, are worth discussing?
I bring this up because of the candidacy of Marshall Home, who apparently thinks he's running for mayor. Home has a whole raft of policy ideas and views that are, well, let's be charitable and say way the heck out there. The Individual Rights Party founder initially filed as a non-partisan candidate but now wants to run as a Democrat.
The Star did a quickie mention of Home declaring that there were now two candidates in the Democratic primary and Arizona Public Media included him in their profiles of mayoral candidates. You've got a guy that pulled papers, so even if he thinks that he can eliminate mortgages and win $440 million judgments by invoking obscure provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code and that his opponent is part of a world wide conspiracy run by the Windsors, you gotta take him seriously, right?
Except, we have an out. Home may not even be eligible to run. The house that he initially claimed as his residence, near Drexel and Cardinal roads, is not even in the city. Three days after the first filing, he changed his voter registration and filed as a resident of Starr Pass, within city limits.
Here is what city code says about qualifying for the ballot:
"A candidate for Mayor or Council Member must have been a qualified elector and resident of the City of Tucson for not less than (3) years immediately prior to becoming a candidate."
Clearly, switching voter registrations and addresses shortly before filing would violate this. A quick check of the first address Home filed under would have shown his shaky eligibility. So, why waste ink and air time on a guy, wingnuttery aside, who will almost certainly not be on the ballot?
Parenthetically, why doesn't the city clerk's office offer to check if a candidate actually lives in the city before handing them a rather sizeable pile of paperwork? If someone is so interested in city issues, why didn't they notice that they couldn't vote in city elections? So many questions....
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As the news hole for political coverage is ever shrinking, it's an awful waste to cover someone like Home as serious candidate when no one will actually get a chance to vote for him.
By the way, since Home pulled papers, two more candidates who aren't registered to vote in the city have put their names in as mayoral candidates.
Jon McClane was not registered to vote until recently, which would violate the "qualified elector" provision of the code. Thomas Lombardi was registered in the city, but moved outside city limits. He filed at and is registered to vote at an address near River and Craycroft roads.