Wednesday, November 19, 2008

House Dems may get visit from the ghost of Dana Stephenson

If you follow either the old-fashioned media or blogs from both sides, you are probably familiar with the situation concerning a Kentucky House of Representatives race in Hardin County. The controversy stems from a voting machine malfunction and how it was dealt with by precinct officials (two from each party) and by the Democratic county clerk.

In the 26th District, incumbent Republican Tim Moore defeated challenger Mike Weaver, who was trying to win back a seat in the House after unsuccessfully running for Congress two years ago. The election was close, but Moore prevailed. However, due to the voting machine problem, there's a very real threat that an attempt will be made to throw out all of the votes cast in the precinct in question. That would tip the election in Weaver's favor.

Contested elections for General Assembly seats are decided by the chamber involved. It's being anticipated that if the results of the 26th District race are certified as they stand, the election of the Republican Moore will be challenged in the House, where the Democrat majority would most likely rule in Weaver's favor. In other words, the fix is in and the Democrats prove once again that they find irresistible the temptation to steal an election.

But not so fast. Remember the last time the possibility of a contested election being decided in a chamber of the legislature was being discussed?

In a state Senate race a few years ago, Republican Dana Stephenson (daughter of Republican State Sen. Dan Seum) had her eligibility challenged due to residency issues. Senate President David Williams stated at the time that the Senate could make whatever decision it wished in the matter, regardless of what a court said about her eligibility.

That didn't last long. A court ruled Stephenson did not meet residency requirements and rather than challenge that decision all the way to the state Supreme Court, contest it in the Senate, or give a full vetting to the concept of "dual residency," she dropped her challenged, bowed out gracefully, and a special election was held.

(It should be noted that the lawyer for challenger Virginia Woodward, a young woman named Jennifer Moore, parlayed that court victory into winning the chairmanship of the Kentucky Democratic Party).

So in the end it was a court, not the Senate, that ended up deciding how that election turned out.

Could the same scenario play out in the 26th District House race? Don't be surprised if it does. And also don't be surprised if the Democrats' attempt to steal a win after the final horn has sounded gets shut down by the courts, no matter what House Speaker Jody Richards and the House Democrats attempt.

The court's decision held sway in the Stephenson Senate matter, no reason to think it wouldn't do the same in the Moore/Weaver matchup.


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