Heh-heh. Just as I predicted, Senator-in-Purgatory Norm McAllister has filed petitions to run for re-election.
Sorry. Political junkies get a little excited at the prospect of chaos among the comfortable class. And I bet the Franklin County GOP is wetting its collective pants.
VTDigger broke the news; McAllister dropped off his petitions at the Franklin County courthouse this morning, and (showing uncommon restraint for him) was not immediately available for comment.
Need I remind you: McAllister faces two trials on numerous sex-crime charges; he allegedly coerced women (over whom he exercised some measure of control) to have sex with him. He was arrested on the Statehouse grounds in the last days of the 2015 session; the Senate then spent the entire off-session with its head stuck in the sand, hoping Norm would just go away. When he didn’t, the Senate decided to suspend him for the remainder of the session.
So now that he’s thrown his hat in the ring, let the speculation begin…
— If there are any candidate forums for the Franklin County senate race, they’ll have to invite McAllister. Won’t they?
— Thanks to the massive deference Vermont voters give to incuments, he stands a decent chance of winning the Republican primary.
— If so, the Franklin County GOP will have to decide how to handle him. He’d be one of two Republicans on the ballot. Do they ignore him? Do they put him on any campaign materials? If not, are they effectively ceding the seat to a Democrat?
— If, say, there’s a candidate event in Franklin County that, say, features Phil Scott and Randy Brock and local politicos — and Norm shows up — do they throw him out?
— And, how do they handle any outside materials, say from the Republican State Leadership Committee? Could the local Republicans convince the RSLC to leave McAllister out of it?
— Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that McAllister is re-elected. He would then end up squarely in the laps of the Senators who didn’t want to deal with him last time — and with Senators who still defend the guy. The Senate can decide on the fitness of McAllister, and thus decide to exclude him. But do they actually remove him? If not, are the people of Franklin County stuck with only one Senator again?
And on a separate track: What if he’s found not guilty in both trials? Does the Senate have any excuse to bar him from serving?
Maybe none of this will happen. It’s quite possible that McAllister will be found guilty and will drop out of the race. But I’ve gotta admit, I’m rooting for a few more rounds of chaos. Our political class has been far too comfy in evading the fact that Norm McAllister was in their midst for all those years and nobody said boo.