Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Obama's opponent (besides Jerry Kohn, the Libertarian): who holds the Keyes to the nomination?

[Technical difficulties erased my previous post]

There's a real question that Vasyl and my friend Ellen bring up. Is Alan Keyes a legal candidate for office?

He's not an Illinois registered voter, which is a requirement to be a candidate.

There is no residency requirement for a candidate for federal office (because the U.S. Constitution won't let a state impose an additional requirement on a federal candidate), so if Ambassador Keyes is eligible to be a candidate, he's eligible to be a U.S. Senator.

(He is not eligible to be an alderman, a state representative or any state or local office, because the state imposes a residency requirement).

Here's the part that I don't quite understand.

The question is one of intent. Ambassador Keyes needs to intend to make his Illinois residence permanent.

Who are we kidding?

If he doesn't get the nomination, then Keyes is not going to move to Illinois.

If he does get the nomination, then he'll move to Illinois, and then move back to Maryland after his loss in November.

But here's the tricky part. He won't move here for the three-month stretch unless and until he gets the nomination.

In order to get the nomination, he needs to file a declaration of candidacy and register to vote, which means that he swears under oath that he intends to make Illinois his permanent residence.

That's a fairly nasty Catch-22 that Maryland resident finds himself in.

I think his statement of candidacy would be subject to a challenge (since I'm in the middle of this quasi-litigation now on a different case, I'm a touch familiar with it).

Of course, in Erc Zorn's memorable phrase, the powers-that-be will likely engage in whatever 'hand-waving' they need to in order to sweep these potential violations of the Election Code under the rug and get on with having a GOP nominee.

But *anyone* can file a challenge to a candidate's nomination papers.


Plus, one could challenge the right of the Republican State Central Committee to fill the vacancy in the first place, since state law is rather ambiguous on this point.

Anyway, back to the analysis.

I think the party is making a mistake. Alan Keyes is an eloquent fundamentalist, and if Senator Dave Syverson really thinks that Keyes' uber-fundamentalist views are closer to the median Illinois voter than Senator Obama's, then I didn't realize how conservative Senator Syverson really is.

They should have found the money for Steve Rauschenburger (I heard he only wanted $3 million from the DC GOP, but Speaker Hastert would rather spend it on South Dakota or Oklahoma and wouldn't budge). Barring that, they should have convinced some other smart state senator like Dave Sullivan or Christine Radogno or Bill Brady to take one for the team and run an issues-based campaign that could have raised the profile of the legislator while essentially conceding the race to Obama.

But I must admit it is kind of neat to break a record and have both major party nominees for the U.S. Senate be black.

Here's another question: what is it about Illinois? How are we able to elect not one but two black U.S. Senators? How do we have statewide black elected officials every year since (I think) the late 80s? Are we significantly less racist than other states?

Maybe there's a really happy story about the maturity of Illinois voters here.

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