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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween and Mid-Term Elections

There must be a synchronicity that the election comes two days after Halloween this year.  According to attack ads, one candidate is a big supporter of child molesters, and the other is a simple crook.  It's a tough decision, but I'm probably going to have to vote for the child molester guy.
This has been the perhaps the second ugliest gubenatorial race in Georgia's history.
The second ugliest?
The ugliest, alas, came before I was even born, let alone had come to Georgia.  It began in December, 1946 when governor elect, anti-New Dealer and staunch Jim Crow supporter, Eugene Talmadge, died before taking the oath.  In January of 1947, the General Assembly took it upon itself to elect Eugene's son Herman to replace his dead father as governor.  Unfortunately the brand new state constitution specified that the office be filled by the Lieutenant Governor, Melvin Thompson.  The issue was muddier than it might first appear, because the constitution stipulated the lieutenant governor replace a governor who died in office, but Eugene Talmadge had not yet assumed office.
Just to clear matters up, the outgoing governor, Ellis Arnall, helpfully announced he would not relinquish office until everything was straightened out.
A confrontation between the Arnall and the Talmadge camps resulted in fist fights breaking out in the legislature.  Talmadge ordered state troopers to remove Arnall and see that he got home safely.  The getting home safely part was a nice touch and showed Talmadge was a good sport about the whole thing.  Talmadge seized the governor's office and had all the locks changed.  Undettered by this maneuver, Arnall set up a rival governor's office in an information kiosk in the state capitol.
Finally Arnall gave it up, but meanwhile there were still two governors: Talmadge and Thompson, both of whom had appointed government officials and were conducting government business.
The matter was settled anticlimatically.  The Georgia Supreme Court declared Thompson the rightful governor hours after Talmadge had quietly abandonned his claim.
So now sixty-odd years later - and I do mean odd - the current mudslinging contest seems rather tepid by comparison.  So I guess I shouldn't complain.
Tuesday, I'll go to the polls, hold my nose, and vote.
Tonight, I'll eat candy.

1 comment:

  1. To add to the political hilarity that year, Ben Fortson...the newly elected Secretary of State...stole the Great Seal. And without the seal, none of the would-be "governors" could attest any "official" actions. Until the courts acted, nobody could find the seal because Fortson had hidden it under the cushion if his wheelchair. (Sitting on it "like a duck sitting on eggs," he later said.)
    I swear, if politicians weren't good for a laugh now and again, there'd be a bounty out on 'em.