Elections Have Consequences: Hack the Ripper Edition
For many of us, 2012 marked a low-water point in American politics. Dark money, smear campaigns, world-class prevarication and some of the most flamboyant wackaloons to ever run for political office letting it all hang out.
And, evidently, a few were so beside themselves that they never heard the “fat lady” singing. Like the quintessential sore loser in the mug-shot above, Gary Smith, who ran for the Republican nomination in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, this year.
Smith, a self-described fiscal conservative answered the call to public service with a pledge to Repeal Obamacare! and to create a Balanced Budget Amendment to the US Constitution. Pretty stock GOP agenda items . . .
By all appearances, Smith was just the kind of fellow that the 21st Century GOP was looking for: 65, white male, with a bad combover, and ex-military to boot. How more “outside the Beltway” can a guy get? As luck would have it, though, Smith will most likely be serving time instead of the public in the new year.
Evidently, Smith underestimated the rough and tumble of political machinery, at the national level, and had a very tough time of it trying to get on the ballot.
His campaign was largely self-funded, contributing $51,300 of his own money and loaning his campaign another $243,000 (which sounds suspiciously like a second mortgage to me). He received only $380 in individual donations—$300 of which was refunded.
But the spending didn’t pay off: At the Republican pre-primary nominating commission, Smith received only 3 percent of the vote, compared to Janice Arnold-Jones’ 63 percent and Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis’ 34 percent.
Some candidates might fold, at that point, but not our “Mr. Smith”, who was bent on going to Washington. The Republican Party, however, has its own ideas, one of them being that, if a candidate receives less that 20% of delegates at the convention, that candidate must go back and petition more voters signatures to qualify for ballot inclusion.
Smith went out and gathered an additional 1,823 signatures to qualify for the ballot. He needed 1,579 valid signatures, but a petition to remove him from the ballot alleged that 492 signatures he submitted weren’t valid, leaving him short.
Upon quick review of Smith’s nominating petitions, it was clear that some voters who had signed Arnold-Jones’ petitions long ago had also more recently signed Smith’s petitions. That led to a closer examination of all of Smith’s petitions,” said Paul M. Kienzle III, attorney for the challengers.
In addition to some duplicate signatures, those that are invalid include signatures of people who aren’t Republicans and even some who aren’t registered to vote, the challengers allege.
It’s understatement to say that Smith did not take it well when District Court Judge C Shannon Bacon determined that 416 of his nominating petition signatures were invalid and booted him off June’s primary ballot. Soon after the judge’s ruling, Smith told a television reporter:
When you go to your own kind, your own brother, your own sister, and they stab you in the back repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly. They tried to keep me out of this process and today they finally succeeded.
Smith appealed to the state’s highest court, but when the justices affirmed Bacon’s ruling, he returned to private life. And plotted his revenge . . .
The Santa Fe Reporter just posted that former Republican candidate for the US House of Representatives in the 1st Congressional District Gary Smith has been arrested after detectives from the Albuquerque Police Department obtained surveillance video of the 65-year-old Smith allegedly slashing the tires of cars belonging to at least four people, including Smith’s primary opponent, Janice Arnold-Jones.
“I had a hunch it was him,” Arnold-Jones told the Reporter. “People tried to tell me it was the work of Democrats [WTF?], but I knew that wasn’t the case. This isn’t the normal kind of political retribution you might expect. This is scary.”
CSI Surveillance footage:
Other victims have been identified as Smith’s former campaign manager, an interim GOP party chair and a man who had challenged Smith’s signature petitions.
And, this was not just an “out on a toot spontaneous combustion.” In all, Smith slashed his way through 19 tires on Arnold-Jones’ vehicles.
Rhead Story, Smith’s campaign manager, told police he’s lost almost 40 tires since discovering the first set flattened in June. After all of that the Story’s set up their own surveillance camera and caught Smith on tape, too.
Frank Ruvolo, who co-signed the court complaint challenging Smith’s petitions, had all four of his tires slashed at a Golden Corral restaurant following a Republican Party breakfast, just before Thanksgiving, which Smith attended.
According to the Santa Fe Reporter, the Albuquerque Police Department plans to charge Smith with criminal damage to property over $1,000 — a fourth degree felony. Smith was arrested without incident Friday afternoon and invoked his right to remain silent and made no statement to police, APD said.
In the meantime, it’s expected that Smith’s victims will seek a restraining order for fear that Smith’s reprisals might escalate. By some accounts Smith was a veteran intelligence officer and retired Army and, like most red-blooded Americans in the wild, wild West he’s been known to carry a weapon.
Perhaps, with good behavior, Smith will be out in time for another run in 2014 because, in this exceptional republic of ours, no amount of lunacy or prior convictions prevent a fella from running for either the U.S. House or Senate.
Good luck, Gary.