GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE MARY STARRETT FRIGHTENS G.O.P. GOLIATH
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
Update: Mary Starrett to be on Fox News Today on "Special Report with Brit Hume" at 3 PM Pacific, 6 PM Eastern.
Conservative firebrand Mary Starrett will be listed on the ballot as a gubernatorial candidate for the Oregon Constitution Party in November, according to Secretary of State Bill Bradbury.
Starrett's candidacy was questioned by former GOP lawmaker and practicing attorney Kelly Clark, when he filed a complaint alleging that the Constitution Party had failed to fulfill the public-notice requirements contained in Oregon's election law. Clark accused the Constitution Party of irregularities in the nomination process and demanded that Starrett's name be taken off the election ballots for the upcoming Governor's race.
Kelly Clark is no slouch when it comes to making newspaper headlines. Oregon voters may have forgotten that back in 1992 Clark broke into an ex-girlfriend's house, disconnected the phone line and subjected her to what the courts characterized as "sexual contact without consent," according to Phil Stanford of the Portland Tribune.
Clark, once a rising star in the Republican Party, pleaded guilty to criminal trespass and third-degree sexual abuse and had his bar license suspended for two months, according to the Tribune story.
Clark claimed the complaint against Starrett was not filed in coordination with the GOP's Ron Saxton campaign or Oregon Republican Party. But he did concede that he filed the complaint on behalf of some of Saxton's "supporters." However, many Oregonians aren't buying it.
Bradbury's response to Clark's complaint came in a letter from the Oregon State Department of Justice. The Oregon attorney general's letter said the alleged violation -- even if it's found to be true -- "would not disqualify the challenged nominee from the ballot."
"Especially in light of the posture and timing of the alleged procedural defect, exclusion from the ballot would not be an appropriate remedy," the attorney general's office said.
While the letter from the attorney general was sent to the complainant Kelly Clark on Thursday, August 24, the Starrett campaign and the chairman of the Oregon Constitution Party, Bob Ekstrom, felt the wording of the letter and the quotes appearing in newspapers left the stigma of some wrongdoing during the nomination process.
"With documentation in hand, Bob [Ekstrom] went to the office of the Secretary of State to prove that there was nothing inappropriate about the process in which I was nominated for governor," Starrett told NewswithViews.com during an interview on Monday.
"We want the voters to know that we've done everything necessary to run an honest and open campaign," she added.
Documents Ekstom brought to the Secretary of State and election officials included hardcopy proof that the Constitution Party complied with the election law requirement regarding public-notices.
Starrett's campaign accuses Clark of working on behalf of Ron Saxton, the Republican candidate for governor. Clark insists he acted independently, and the Saxton campaign says it had nothing to do with the complaint.
However, even Democrat Governor Ted Kulonoski's campaign manager, Jim Ross, believes it was the state GOP that's behind the attempt to put the kibosh on Starrett's campaign.
''I think the fact that this is being pushed by such a prominent Republican shows that those around the Republican nominee for governor, Ron Saxton, are very concerned about Mary Starrett," Ross said.
''The courage of her convictions on the issues that matter most to Republicans are very likely to give Ron Saxton problems if she is on the ballot. And I am certain they would like to avoid that if at all possible,'' he told the Oregonian.
With or without Republican Party involvement, removing Starrett from the ballot would have benefited Saxton, who is liberal on social issues and a big-business Republican.
Voters who regard abortion as a primary issue may decide that the vocally anti-abortion Starrett offers them the option of voting their convictions. If that option weren't available, most of those voters would probably prefer Republican Saxton to the Democratic incumbent Kulongoski, according to the Oregon Register-Guard.
"While Saxton claims he's a conservative, his voting record and his past statements indicate he's what conservatives call a 'RINO' (Republican In Name Only), having more in common with liberal Republicans in the Northeast than with stalwart conservatives" said NewswithViews.com publisher/editor Paul Walter.
"It's a shame how the Republican Party [in Oregon] sues to eliminate their competition with frivilous lawsuits. If they ran a real honest conservative they wouldn't have the problems they now face," Walter added.
Mary Starrett, a former radio talk show host and news anchor, is popular among conservatives and many moderates in Oregon. In an election cycle filled with spin nationwide, Starrett gives the voters "straight talk" and consistency.
Bob Ekstrom, Chairman of the Oregon Constitution Party, said in an exclusive interview with NewswithViews.com, "This [was] a cheap shot attempt to remove our candidate from the ballot. Two years ago, our political opponents tried the same tactic. An attempt to silence Mary Starrett is a telling sign that Ron Saxton knows he cannot win a fair election."
Ekstrom tells NewswithViews.com, "The Secretary of State has validated our nominating process in the past, and we [were] confident [that he would] do the same now."
Ekstrom also said that the Oregon GOP is trying to punish Starrett for their own mistake. "The Republicans chose the wrong candidate for governor -- and they know it! They picked a pro-abortion, big-government-loving, counterfeit conservative. Oregonians are beginning to figure it out."
The politically savvy Ekstrom characterized the Saxton campaign as reenacting the Tanya Harding saga – with Starrett as Olympic skater Nancy Kerrrigan – while Kelly Clark plays the goon! But this time the plot failed.
While at the State House filing her candidate statement for the voters pamphlet, Mary Starrett was interviewed in front of the state capital by Fox News Correspondent Dan Springer. The interview will be featured on Thursday or Friday on either "Special Report with Brit Hume," or "Fox Report with Shepard Smith." Springer traveled from Seattle for the interview since Starrett is garnering national media attention.
"By trying to get her off the ballot and limit the people's choice, proves, that the Oregon Republican party is desperate. They only care about party politics and party loyalty and not what's best for the people of Oregon," says Paul Walter
to help Mary with her campaign can be send to: Mary
Starrett for Governor, P.O. Box 55, Wilsonville, Oregon, 97070.
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Kelly Clark is no slouch when it comes to making newspaper headlines. Oregon voters may have forgotten that back in 1992 Clark broke into an ex-girlfriend's house, disconnected the phone line and subjected her to what the courts characterized as "sexual contact without consent,"