Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Pulling a Torricelli

You heard it here first. We warned that once the New Jersey Supreme Court opened the floodgates, it would only be a matter of time before parties began dropping candidates faster than Martha Stewart acting on a hot IMClone tip. The New Jersey court, in an opinion issued in the wake of its order permitting Frank Lautenberg to replace Robert Torricelli on the ballot, dismissed this possibility, citing the difficulty “for any party, logistically, politically, and financially, to replace a candidate closer to an election.”

It appears that the New Jersey court is as good at reading tea leaves as it is at reading statutes. The Wall Street Journal reported on October 10, 2002 that the Republicans in Montville, N.J. are attempting a last minute replacement for the position of Township Committee. But those relying on the decision are not limited to the confines of New Jersey. The Washington Post reports that Republican Senate candidate Mike Taylor backed out of the race in Montana to allow the party to bring in a candidate who could win. In Hawaii, the Torricelli precedent was cited without success in a court challenge to permit the Democratic Party to put their candidate of choice on the ballot to replace Patsy Mink, who died on Sept. 28. The Post reported elsewhere that Republicans in Pennsylvania are “joking” about “pulling a Torricelli” to replace flailing gubernatorial candidate Mark Fisher with the more popular acting governor Mark S. Schweiker.

So there you have it: "Pulling a Torricelli" has become a new term in the political lexicon befitting the career of the man who inspired it.

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