"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

Traffic tickets

On the short list of political liabilities Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell has to deal with this year – and one happily noted by conservatives at Sound Politics and elsewhere – has been the Senate candidacy of Aaron Dixon.

Aaron DixonDixon is a former Black Panther who is seeking the Green Party nomination, evidently after a number of Greens asked him to run. He is coming at Cantwell from the left, blasting her (as his website shows) for her initial support of the Iraq war and for her vote to reauthorize the Patroit Act, and for refusing to filibuster the Supreme Court appointment of Samuel Alito. Overall, it’s a message with some resonance in Seattle and some other places in the state, and whatever votes Dixon would get with it presumably would come out of the hide of Cantwell, rather than her Republican challenger, Mike McGavick.

The portions of the left who see Cantwell as imperfect but the only real option to a Republican takeover of the seat have not been idle. Joel Connelly of the Seattle Post Intelligencer last week warned about the dangers of a split on the left “Cantwell’s vilification by the left bizarre“).

And David Goldstein of the Horse’s Ass blog has taken matters a step further. He and his readers have assembled a remarkable case against Dixon through a public records inquiry. As summed up in the Eat the State Blog (run by Seattle Weekly writer Geov Parrish):

1) Eighteen criminal charges in the last 17 years, most (but not all) for traffic violations and unpaid traffic fines.
2) Massive debts from dozens of unpaid fines in both Seattle Municipal Court and King County District Court. A number are for driving without insurance (and yes, he can afford it.)
3) Dixon claims on his web site that the woman he currently lives with (and who is his campaign media contact) is his wife. She isn’t, and she’d better not be. He’s still in the process of divorcing his last wife.
4) And he owes thousands in unpaid child support to yet another ex.
5) Not only has Dixon not voted since registering in 1998 (which was reported Thursday), but he’s never voted before that, either. In other words, he’s never voted in King County. Ever, over an adult life spanning nearly 40 years. And his inactive voter registration lists a now-invalid address.

A problematic start, at best, to a campaign. With the probability that another roadblock has been cleared from Cantwell’s path.

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