Today I went to a rally sponsored by the White Mountain Democrats, where we heard from candidates including Senatorial candidate Jim Pederson, Attorney General Terry Goddard (who was instrumental in pushing forward the case against Warren Jeffs, which I blogged on a few days ago) and two of our Congressional candidates, Bob Donahue and Mike Caccioppoli (who I endorsed in this post a couple of weeks ago.) We also heard from candidates for Corporation Commission, Superintendent of Instruction and State Senate. As this is ten days before the primary election a number of people came to learn more about the candidates.
There was a minor incident as well that involved me, and I would like to address that here. Bradley Carlyon is a Republican running for Superior Court Judge against Tom Wing (who I've known for some time, and I was even more impressed with once I saw him in action back when I was on a grand jury earlier this year-- Judge Wing two or three times filled in for the usual judge in accepting-- or not accepting-- the indictments we sent him; Judge Wing didn't rubber stamp them, but took the time to question them and refused to accept a couple that had serious flaws.) Although judgeships are partisan elections here in which each party selects its nominee in the primary just as we do for other positions, judges are not designated on the general election ballot by partisan affiliation. Neither Judge Wing nor Carlyon have primary opponents so they are already campaigning for November.
So Bradley Carlyon's official campaign vehicle, plastered with signs was parked at the rally, and put right in front where it was impossible to miss, apparently designed to fool Democrats. After all, who would be at a Democratic rally just days before the primary? mainly Democrats. Conspicuously absent from Carlyon's vehicle was any indication that he was a Republican. So the attempt was being made to misrepresent Bradley Carlyon as 'one of the faithful' to faithful Democrats.
So, I decided to write a note on a piece of paper. It said, "This Guy is a REPUBLICAN, running against Tom Wing." So the note was factually correct, and not insulting, except to someone who does not want to be identified as a Republican.
When I went to put it on the vehicle (using tape which would not leave any mark on the window), the owner (who it turns out is Mr. Carlyon's wife) came storming out and threatened to call the police and have me handcuffed if I touched her vehicle. Of course, if I attached it to her vehicle then I would have in effect 'given' it to her and she would have been perfectly within her rights to have removed it, ripped it to shreds and thrown it in the trash, but apparently that thought never crossed her mind and she wanted to call the cops.
So seeing an opportunity here, I decided to do it. Most probably the officer would show up and tell her something to the effect of, "You wasted my time with THIS?" And frankly I was hoping to be arrested, because if it got into the papers then it would certainly embarrass Mr. Carlyon more than me, if I got arrested just for telling people he is a Republican, and in any case he is running for office and I'm not.
I talked to my party chair first and asked him if he could take care of my two kids and see that they got home safely in the 'extremely unlikely' event I was actually arrested over this. So then I put the sign on, Mrs. Carlyon angrily stomped over and got out her cell phone and told me it was 'my last chance.' I really did want her to call, but Ken (my party chair) told me that he thought I'd made my point and could put the sign up next to the vehicle on a portable easel. And I can see why he probably said that-- the event should garner some positive local press for the White Mountain Democrats and they might not want to louse it up with an incident involving police. I can respect that line of thinking though I had no intention of giving in to Mrs. Carlyon's threats. So I put it on the easel next to the vehicle. Then later on Ken took the mike and told people they shouldn't be fooled and that the signage was for 'Tom Wing's Republican opponent.'
I would have been happy to be arrested in order to make a Republican candidate look like a fool (especially for objecting to a sign that merely identified him as a Republican). As it is though, it is comforting to note that it is Republicans, not Democrats, who (in the words of Maryland Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Michael Steele) now have to deal with that 'scarlet letter 'R.' They can thank George Bush for that.