Haugen’s spot in history

Joel Haugen

Joel Haugen

The 1st District congressional candidate Joel Haugen has just done something genuinely unheard of, something apparently without precedent in the United States at least for quite a few decades into the recent past:

He gave up the nomination and ballot line of a major party to take the nomination and ballot line of a minor party. That’s just, simply, not done: We can think of no comparable case anywhere at least in a good many years. And Haugen (who comes across as professional, crisp and affable – probably a solid candidate given conventional money and organization) said this morning at his press conference announcing that it’ll probably do him more political damage than anything else, which may be right.

But maybe not all that much. Haugen has resigned – is that the right word? – the nomination of the Republican Party, whose leaders have made clear for some time that they’re appalled at him, and will run instead under the banner of the Independent Party of Oregon.

He makes clear, though, that he still is a registered Republican. The Republican Party leaders who have blocked him from fair booths and the like have some case, since Haugen has endorsed Democrats in the two top races on the ballot (Barack Obama for president and Jeff Merkley for Senate). But in dismissing him, they have the effect of making themselves look narrow, which sort of makes Haugen’s point.

As a side point, there’s real question about whether the Republicans, legally or practically, can fill their ballot slot in the 1st district. Odds are it will remain empty – a stunning turnaround in a district that not long ago was thought to be highly contestable.

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One Comment

  1. danmeek said:

    The Independent Party of Oregon (IPO) has posted an update regarding the suit against the Secretary of State (brought by the IPO, the Working Families Party, and Joel Haugen himself) that sought to have Joel Haugen identified on the ballot with both the Republican and Independent party labels. The Marion County Circuit Court on August 22 ruled in favor of the Secretary of State’s determination that a candidate who accepts more than one nomination, but who is a member of one of the parties that has nominated her, can be identified on the ballot only as the candidate of the party to which she is a member.

    Neither the Democratic nor Republican parties supported the IPO position in the lawsuit.

    Here is the updated post on the IPO website, which includes a link to the decision by the court: http://indparty.com/node/124

    The reason today was the deadline for Joel Haugen to obtain the IPO label on the ballot is because the SoS decided that, in order to have the IPO label on the ballot, Haugen must withdraw as the Republican nominee. Today, the 67th day before the date of the general election, is the last day for nominees to withdraw.

    I believe that ORS 249.190 does allow the Republican party to fill the vacancy created by Haugen’s withdrawal. But the SoS long ago adopted a rule that does not allow the filling of any vacancy after the 70th day before the general election, even if the nominated candidate later dies. ORS 254.650 specifies that, if a major party candidate dies within 30 days of the election, then the election for that office is called off and rescheduled to a later special election. If the candidate dies before that, the SoS rule does not allow a replacement.

    August 29, 2008

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