Geronimo! or voting early and often


"Parachuting" is a political manuever in which a candidate moves into a district just in time to be eligible file for office in that district. This technique involves removing a potential candidate from a district where he doesn't stand a chance into a district where his party lacks a viable candidate. There seems to be an emerging pattern involving parachuting and the children of wealthy Democrat trial lawyers.

Mitchell Garrett (actually David Mitchell Garrett Jr), son of wealthy Democrat trial lawyer David Garrett has been parachuted into House District 23 to run against State Rep. Sue Tibbs. Tibbs came within 120 votes beating incumbent and beloved TV personality Betty Boyd in 1998, beat Boyd in 2000, and then drew no opponent two years ago.

Junior Garrett registered to vote in Muskogee County on December 6, 1996 (age 25), and was still registered to vote at his dad's address in Muskogee (2601 W Broadway St) as recently as March 2004, even though he had also registered to vote in Tulsa County on October 24, 2003. He has not, to date, attempted to vote in both counties.

David M Garrett Sr's attorney in his felony sexual battery case is Clark Brewster, whose daughter Cassie Mae Brewster was parachuted into House District 77 in 2000 for an unsuccessful attempt to unseat Mark Liotta, a Republican who has built a strong personal rapport with voters in his majority-Democrat northeast Tulsa seat. In September 1999, she was registered to vote at 1316 S Jamestown Ave in House District 78. Sometime between then and April 2000, she registered at an apartment in the district at 8024 E 4th Pl, and then later that year at 449 S Allegheny. I'm told she moved out of the district shortly after losing the election, although she didn't move her registration for a couple of years.

Another recent example of parachuting is Brad Carson. He registered to vote in Rogers County, in the 2nd District, on January 7, 1999, and began his run to replace Tom Coburn later that same year. Prior to that he was registered to vote at 3042 S. Detroit Ave, Tulsa, in Tulsa County, where he registered on August 12, 1994. In May of 1998, there were in addition to Carson two Republican men registered to vote at the same address, possibly housemates, possibly previous renters who never bothered to change their registration after moving. I am not aware of any evidence that Carson lived in the 2nd District prior to 1999, and I don't believe he ever claimed to live there. He was born in Arizona and is a graduate of Jenks High School. His ads, if I recall correctly, referred to his family's deep roots in the 2nd District, but never to his personal roots.

And yes, Republicans do this too, although it doesn't seem to be as frequent among Republicans.

Everything I've described here is legal (except perhaps for being simultaneously registered to vote in two counties). With respect to Congress, there is only the requirement to reside in the state, although people don't usually like to vote for someone who lives elsewhere. In the UK, this sort of thing is unremarkable -- traditionally most of the politicians lived in the London area and might have no connection to the districts they represented, although this has begun to change.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 7, 2004 11:36 PM.

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