For example, a friend of mine from the past who unfortunately not long ago went on to her reward, Elizabeth Rickey, ran for the Republican State Central Committee in 1988 when we lived at the opposite ends of House District 93. These are very low turnout elections and of course both of us voted for her and I also got my building manager, who had no idea of the contest, to do the same only at my behest. In a three-way race, she won by three votes out of 356. Later, she used her position on the RSCC to question very properly David Duke’s legitimacy as a conservative Republican which was instrumental in uncovering him as a fraud.
House District 5 is having a special election to replace retired Wayne Waddell. Two Republican candidates, banker Harold Turner and lawyer Alan Seabaugh are vying to replace him. Seabaugh ran in 2007 against state Sen. Sherry Smith Cheek for her job and by dumping a lot of his own money into the contest almost knocked off the incumbent insider.
On the surface, the candidates sound the same themes and rhetoric. But temperament also matters, because one would hope their elected representatives make sound judgments. Rash statements often leave an unfavorable impression.
Which is why I never forgot about a post to a college baseball fan message board in 2002. My brother sent me a link of where he had posted 10 reasons why his alma mater, Rice University, was going to win its upcoming super-regional (best two-of-three games) with LSU. This drew a vigorous response from username “Seatiger,” which started off by calling him a “moron” in the subject line and never got better. The name associated with that handle was Alan Seabaugh. I can’t with absolute certainty say it was this candidate Alan Thomas Seabaugh but how many Alan Seabaugh’s went to LSU, as did the candidate for his two degrees?
Of course, Jonathan was right and Rice swept the series with a pair of shutouts. While it appears Seabaugh’s judgment, if I have the correct one, is not so good about analyzing college baseball, that doesn’t necessarily correlate to his political judgment. Still, the intemperate nature of that note means if I lived in that district seeing that name on the ballot would have me head in another direction.
As undesirable as lack of calm temperament is in a candidate, outright flouting the law is another. One of the three Republicans running for the Bossier School Board District 12 slot, Katherine “Kay” Padgett Byrd, had a number of signs appearing in illegal spots. There’s a lot of gamesmanship in the placing of small signs on public property – a common tactic is for them to mushroom along divided roads right before election day – but it’s discouraging when there are blatant violations long before election day in residential areas.
The Unified Development Code for Bossier Parish that includes Bossier City in Art. 8 Sec. 2 Paragraph 2I states that in residential areas the maximum square footage for a campaign sign is nine. In three residentially-zoned places I witnessed signs of hers that exceeded that, and there may have been more. One of her opponents that I talked to said he was aware of this but her campaign was doing nothing about it.
After a couple of weeks, I contacted the Byrd campaign myself. I reached the candidate who said “somebody from Bossier City” told her the larger signs were permissible. I informed her of the presence of the regulation and urged her to investigate it. While sometimes these rules aren’t obvious, we should expect someone serious enough about wanting and capable enough to run government would have the initiative to find out about them, and, even if discovering them after the fact, to follow them.
Days later, as of press time, the signs remain up. Meaning the question that District 12 voters must ask is whether they want somebody elected who deliberately breaks the law in her campaigning. Recall Luke 16:10: if she does so with small matters like this, what does that mean for the far greater matters that she would face as an elected official? At least Shreveport mayoral candidate City Councilman Bryan Wooley, prodded by judicial proceedings, realized he was not being Solomonic by dividing illegally-large signs and removed them.