Of beards and ballots

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Conservative blogger and lawyer historian Clayton Cramer is running for the Idaho State Senate, challenging a moderate-to-liberal Republican incumbent, whom Cramer believes is out of step with his district:

...[T]he incumbent received a C rating from NRA at the last election, and introduced a bill to add "sexual orientation and gender identity" to the state's employment discrimination law. The biggest town in my district is an Air Force base; the second biggest town has a mandatory gun ownership law.

Cramer is a bearded blogger and has been told that he has to shave it off. While Idahoans may have beards, they don't vote for candidates who do. I've been told that in Oklahoma a beard will cost a candidate 4% of the vote. (A mustache by itself is worse -- 6%.) A fellow Idahoan has determined that bearded men are underrepresented in the legislature:

So, of a total of 80 male legislators, only five have beards, equaling 6.25% of the Male Legislators. I'd say that greater that a good 10-12% of men around these parts have beards.... So, I think we can say that the beard is a detriment.

I think Cramer should leave the beard on. Of course, I ran twice for office with a hairy face and lost both times, so take that advice for what it's worth.

Cramer points out that Bill Sali got himself elected to Congress from Idaho with a beard (actually a Van Dyck, by the looks of it).

Of course, there's a rather famous Idaho politician whose long career was helped considerably by a beard of a different sort....

UPDATE: Mr. Cramer writes to say, "I am a historian. Calling me a lawyer--doesn't that qualify as defamation of character?" Happily, since he's not a lawyer, he can't sue me easily! (I fixed it anyway.)

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Jan Thomas said:

Interestingly enough, I had just read this blog the other day. Then, low and behold, Bill Richardson shows up on Fox this weekend with a full beard. And of course, we all know what his message was and why he made the decision to back Obama.

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