This has to be the most bizarre election ever.
And I’m not even talking about Hillary and The Donald.
What I’m thinking about is the election held in Troy last week.
What? You missed it? You’re not the only one. Last Tuesday, a special election was held in the 8th Congressional District to select a Democratic candidate for the November election. To understand how this happened, you have to go back to Oct. 31 of last year.
That was the day our congressman, Speaker of the House John Boehner, decided he had enough and walked off the job. He basically told them all to take this job and shove it, which left a big, gaping hole in Washington.
This took everyone by surprise, since it’s unheard of for a congressman to leave his job early unless he is the center of a scandal or recently deceased.
The resignation caused a Republican feeding frenzy in our district. Our district hasn’t elected a Democrat to Congress since, well, I guess about the beginning of the universe. If you asked me to bet all I own on the Bengals winning the Super Bowl or a Democrat winning the congressional seat from this district, I would not hesitate to put my money on the Bengals.
Republicans know a good job when they see one, and congressman is a good job as long as you don’t get picked to be Speaker of the House, which is a big hassle. So everyone and his brother who is Republican signed up to run in a special election in March to become the new Republican candidate for the job. It turned out there were 15 candidates in all and when the dust settled, Warren Davidson of Troy won the nomination.
The Democrat, Corey Foister, was unopposed.
Since Boehner’s chair was sitting empty, they had to have another election to fill the rest of his term, which ends in November. So in May, there was another election and Davidson won in a landslide.
There still has to be an election in November for a new term, and initially it was going to be Davidson and Foister again. Foister got out of Dodge, though, and even got out of the state. When he moved out, it meant the Democrats didn’t have a candidate.
So the Democrats had to pick a new candidate. However, since it was more than 90 days before the election, they couldn’t just pull someone off the street and sign him or her up. Some arcane state law says we have to have an election.
Hence, the special election last Tuesday.
Since it is almost certain that whomever the Democrats nominate will get trounced in November, there weren’t a lot of applicants. In fact, there was one. His name is Steven Fought.
So, we had to have a special election to elect an unopposed candidate.
Here’s the rub: Tuesday’s election was expected to cost the district around $500,000. The expense for Miami County was around $77,000. This went to poll workers and the company that does the voting machines and who knows what else.
Somewhere around 1,600 people voted – no, that’s not in Miami County, that’s across the entire district. I figure this comes out to around $312 a vote. In Miami County, it was even worse. Only 179 people took the time to cast a vote, which comes out to around $430 a vote! You can get a lot of votes out of the cemeteries in Chicago for a lot less than that.
But wait! The state reimburses the counties for the cost, so really it didn’t cost $500,000 because the state was paying for it, right? Some people seem to think that way. But, of course, the state gets its money from the same place the county does, which is our wallets, which means this whole thing was a colossal waste of time and money.
All it would take to fix this is one little asterisk. Put it into that state law where it says you have to have a special election and have it say “unless the candidate is unopposed.”
By the way, the special election in June also cost around $500,000.
I’m not a lawyer, so I’m not good at writing laws, but I think there is one way you can describe what we just went through: just plain stupid. It’s time for the boys and girls in Columbus to fix this one so no one has to go through it again. I understand a state senator from Hudson has started the wheels turning on this idea. Let’s hope the wheels turn quickly.
Meanwhile, we can start thinking about November and whether we want to vote for Davidson or Fought. It might take your mind off other things, such as certain candidates who are running for president …
David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected]