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Happy campaign trails!

Paul Babeu

Paul Babeu

More than proving that we live in a deeply divided country, the 2012 elections established, once and for all, the fact that there’s no such thing as a good deed going unpunished – at least among politicians running for office.

We’re talking about Paul Babeu, who dropped his congressional bid last May after one of his former boyfriends outed the Pinal County sheriff and accused him of threatening to deport the poor slob, whose visa was expired. Babeu sought re-election as county sheriff, thus causing every wag who laughed at the thought of a gay sheriff being re-elected to eat his words when Babeu handily won his race by a wide margin on November 6.

“Santiaga”

“Santiaga”

Apparently, sullied reputations are the new black in political races. Colleen Lachowicz won her contest for a Maine state senate seat even after a nasty campaign by opponents who made much of her admitted “addiction” to the on-line game, World of Warcraft. (Lachowicz’s Warcraft character is named Santiaga and is, according to the senator herself, “an orc-level 85 assassination rogue” possessing green skin, fangs, a Mohawk and pointy ears.) “Certainly,” one opposing-party official was quoted as saying, “the fact that she spends so much time on a video game says something about her work ethic and level of immaturity. Is this really who we want in office?”

Kerry Bentivolio

Kerry Bentivolio

Michigan’s 11th Congressional District representative, Kerry Bentivolio who makes his living as a reindeer farmer, was lambasted publicly by his own brother, who described Bentivolio as “mentally unbalanced.” Bentivolio won re-election with no trouble. Elsewhere in Michigan, Brian Banks was elected as a state representative from Detroit with 68 percent of the vote, even though his rap sheet includes eight felony convictions for writing rubber checks and using other people’s credit cards. His campaign slogan? “You can bank on Banks.”

bottles_whiskeyThen again, these races may have been won thanks to help from volunteers at polling places. Just before a primary election in June, an Albuquerque news station apparently caught a poll worker on camera offering tiny bottles of whiskey to potential voters during shuttle rides to early voting centers. And Los Angeles’ KCBS-TV reported that pamphlets sponsored by the Progress and Collaboration Slate for its local candidates in Eagle Rock, California, offered $40 worth of “medical-grade marijuana” as a special incentive for voting. (Not every politico got away with offering free attitude enhancements during election season. Carme Cristina Lima, who ran for town councilor in Itacoatiara, Brazil, was arrested on the campaign trail for allegedly passing out packets of cocaine, which were stapled neatly to her promotional leaflets.)

Who needs a platform when you’ve got questionable morals?

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This Article appears on the January 2013 issue of LPM under ¿Será Posible?

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