Arizona’s presidential preference election on Feb. 5 will feature at least 37 candidates, more than half of whom appear to be political jokers intent on juking state election rules simply to get their names on the official ballot.
Consider the list of candidates who filed the necessary paperwork by Friday afternoon.
On the Democratic side, ballots will feature a “Who’s Who” selection of national candidates that includes Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Barack Obama and Bill Richardson.
But Democratic ballots also will feature a “Who’s That?” slate of candidates that includes people named Peter “Simon” Bollander, William Campbell, Edward Dobson, Tish Haymer, Rich Lee, Frank Lynch, Leland Montell, Michael Oatman, Chuck See, Philip Tanner, Evelyn Vitullo and Sandy Whitehouse.
On the Republican side, the “Who’s Who” side of the ledger features national candidates Rudy Giuliani, Duncan Hunter, Alan Keyes, John McCain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson.
The GOP “Who’s That?” selection includes people named Hugh Cort, Jerry Curry, John Michael Fitzpatrick, Bob Forthan, Daniel Gilbert, Frank McEnulty, John R. McGrath, James Creighton Mitchell Jr., David Ruben, Michael P. Shaw, Jack Shepard and Charles Skelley.
At least 13 of the presidential candidates live in Tucson and appear to have exactly zero political experience and zero hope of being elected.
“You know, I cannot comment officially on any of that other than to tell you that the process for appearing on the presidential preference ballot is different than it is to appear in the primary election,” said state election director Joe Kanefield.
The process to appear on the presidential preference ballots requires little more than completing a notarized two-page form affirming that the candidate is a natural-born U.S. citizen, at least 35 years old and has been a U.S. resident for at least 14 years.
State laws for primary elections, such as those for the U.S. Senate and governor’s office, are different. Primary elections require candidates to gather petitions from registered voters.
Kanefield said he was at a loss to explain the surge of presidential aspirants from Tucson, though the surge of would-be candidates certainly could have something to do with Project White House, an effort by the Tucson Weekly, an alternative newspaper based in the Old Pueblo.
According to its Web site, Tucson Weekly is encouraging its readers to run for office with the promise of giving ink to those candidates its editors deem newsworthy.
Kanefield said elections officials will continue to accept applications until 5 p.m. Monday.
“We just receive these things and ensure that they’re in proper order,” he said. “If so, then they will be certified for the ballot of Feb. 5.”
Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer will oversee a drawing in her Phoenix office Tuesday to determine the order in which all of the candidates’ names will appear on the 2008 Democratic and Republican ballots.
A NAME THAT FITS THE JOB
Sandy Whitehouse, who is one of Arizona’s official presidential candidates, is running on the strength of her name. Naturally.
“I’m running for president because my name is Whitehouse,” Whitehouse said.
If elected, she said she would consolidate the first and second lines of all presidential correspondence, thus saving the federal government any money associated with printing the words “President Whitehouse” and the words “White House” on letterhead.
She told the Tribune that the savings would be used to fund universal health care, education for all children, grants to stop global warming and a guest-worker program.
Furthermore, she would halt federal funding for war profiteers, atom bombs, fusion bombs, uranium weaponry, big talk and threats to underdeveloped Third World countries.
“I figure with those two objectives, I will be able to fund all the things this country needs,” Whitehouse said.
Furthermore, she’s retired, so she has enough time on her hands to run the country, said Whitehouse, a great-grandmother who lives in the town of Corona de Tucson.
Whitehouse married into her name decades ago. “It’s a good English name,” she said. Her husband, Bruce Whitehouse, is Corona de Tucson’s fire chief.
Whitehouse said she is running a self-funded campaign to avoid the scourge of lobbyists. So far, she has spent a total of 41 cents, which was used to buy a stamp to send her nominating paperwork to the Secretary of State’s Office.