Hearing today of elections for local office being marred by 2 candidates being gunned down, others being shot at, votes for sale at the equivalent of $130, drugs bosses trying to control the elections.
Where? Nicaragua? NO Columbia? NO
Kentucky good old US of A
MANCHESTER, Ky. -- Two candidates for sheriff were shot to death, a county clerk narrowly escaped a barrage of gunfire, and absentee voting in one county had to be suspended after the crowds became rowdy and the sheriff suspected vote-buying.
It has been a bloody campaign season in the hills of eastern Kentucky -- one that has voters wondering whether it's safe to go to the polls on Tuesday.
"This makes Kentucky seem like some kind of banana republic," said Paul Blanchard, director of the Center for Kentucky History and Politics at Eastern Kentucky University. "Like a lot of the old style politics, we tend to think we've gotten beyond this. Clearly that is not the case."
Clay County Clerk Jennings White was on the campaign trail Sunday when a barrage of bullets began hitting his van. He leapt out and over a 50-foot embankment, then crawled into thick brush and trees to escape uninjured. He hasn't spoken publicly about the incident.
"I counted 33 bullet holes in his vehicle," said Sheriff Edd Jordan. "It was politically motivated. Someone was trying to kill the clerk."
The same night, a private investigator working for White's only opponent survived being shot six times as he drove on a highway. No one has been arrested in either attack.
Harlan County sheriff's candidate Paul Browning Jr. was also out campaigning when he disappeared in March. Several days later, his body was found inside his burned out pickup truck on a mountain road. Browning, a former sheriff who had spent three years in prison for conspiring to kill two local public officials in the early 1980s, had been shot in the head.
In Pulaski County the following month, a sniper shot and killed Sheriff Sam Catron as he walked away from a political rally and fish fry attended by hundreds of people. The alleged gunman was caught when he ditched a motorcycle, which was registered to one of Catron's opponents. That opponent, Jeff Morris, is charged with conspiracy to murder.
Police believe Catron's killing and the shootings in Clay County were related to Tuesday's primary, but Jordan still urged voters not to fear going the polls.
"I'm sure some people won't vote on account of this, but I can assure them that the election will be monitored by my department and other departments," Jordan said.
State and FBI officials will also be watching several polling sites throughout the day Tuesday, said state Attorney General's spokeswoman Barbara Hadley Smith.
Already, there have already been election troubles.
Absentee voting in Clay County -- where the clerk was shot at_ has been halted twice, the first time earlier this month when long lines of rowdy voters showed up to cast ballots. Jordan, the sheriff, suspected a vote-buying scheme was afoot.
"I was hearing comments about people carrying guns, and when I saw the crowd, I closed it down," Jordan said. "I saw this stuff all coming to a head, and I knew somebody was going to get hurt."
Officials had to halt the absentee voting again for about 30 minutes Wednesday after a crowd waiting to vote became unruly outside a polling station.
Deborah Cox, who was casting her absentee vote, said she was glad to see the deputies and police at the courthouse.
Arlie Rhodes, also of Manchester, said the violence won't prevent him from doing his civic duty.
"I plan to go and vote, but I know there will be a lot of people who won't because they will be expecting trouble," he said.
Blanchard, a political science professor, said shootings were not uncommon in Kentucky elections in the 1800s, even the early 1900s.
"Kentucky has a reputation for political corruption that has always been difficult to accept, and my hopes have been that that kind of political culture was fading away as Kentucky became more modernized," he said. "This is an earlier and even more intolerable type of politics. If it continues, it's just extremely disappointing."
Jordan is also up for re-election Tuesday, and he's watching his own surroundings.
"If I sat here and told you I'm not concerned about my safety, I'd be lying to you. I am concerned," he said. "But I have a job to do."
Fod's page Son's place De Man's place
You are my opponent, but not my enemy, for your resistance gives me strength. Your will gives me courage. Your spirit ennobles me. And, although I aim to defeat you, should I succeed, I will not humiliate you, instead I will honour you..For without you, I am a lesser man.