Democrats are trying to fend

Democrats are trying to fend off outrage at their New Jersey maneuvering by citing alleged precedents involving Republicans. The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz relies on one of the low points in recent Minnesota history as Exhibit A:
“By the way, before Republicans get too indignant, they might recall (as CNN’s Jeff Greenfield noted) that in October 1990, Jon Grunseth withdrew as the GOP nominee for Minnesota governor after reports of an affair and swimming naked with two teenagers. He was replaced on the ballot by Arne Carlson, who won the election.”
As an analogy, this is extremely lame. Grunseth dropped out thirteen days before the election. Under Minnesota law as it then existed (Sec. 204B.13(2)), “A vacancy in nomination of a major political party may be filled by filing a nomination certificate not later than four days before the general election….” Further, the statute provided that vacancies could be filled by a specified committee of a political party, or if no such committee has been formed, “the vacancy shall be filled by the candidate who received the next highest number of votes at the primary for that office….” (Sec. 204B.13(3)) When Grunseth dropped out, Carlson–who was already running a write-in campaign–promptly applied to the Minnesota Secretary of State (a Democrat) to replace Grunseth on the ballot, since Carlson was the second-place finisher in the Republican primary. His request complied fully with Minnesota’s election laws, and the Secretary of State put his name on the ballot in place of Grunseth’s. The difference between this scenario and what is happening in New Jersey is obvious. In Minnesota, the nominated candidate withdrew within the deadline provided by law; in New Jersey, he did not. In Minnesota, the election laws were scrupulously followed; in New Jersey, they were not. We have here the subtle distinction between following the law and ignoring the law–a distinction that Democrats increasingly find mystifying.


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