Remember this name: Jacqueline Morrow Lewis Ledgerwood.

The estimable Ms Ledgerwood filed in July to become a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate, hoping to unseat Senator Don Nickles (R-Okla.), the three-term incumbent. To borrow a line from an earlier, more famous, candidate, if nominated she will not run, and if elected she will not serve. The reason for this is simple: she's dead.

Ms Ledgerwood, it seems, died soon after filing for the office, but not soon enough to meet the deadline for having her name removed from the ballot. So in the Democratic primary on the 25th of August, her name appeared alongside the names of three other wannabes. A chap named Don Carroll garnered about 46 percent of the votes, not enough for a majority, so the top two candidates will face each other in a runoff on the 15th of September — Mr Carroll and the late Ms Ledgerwood, who bagged about 21 percent. Jerry Kobyluk, who finished third, complained loudly and bitterly, but the secretary of the state Election Board would not be moved.

Perhaps this doesn't matter a great deal. Neither candidate stands much of a chance of ousting Don Nickles, who has campaign funds up the wazoo and friends on both sides of the aisle. Still, I am greatly intrigued by the possibilities of this race. I told a coworker of the Republican persuasion this week that in recent years, the Democrats have proffered such lame candidates that a dead woman might actually be preferable. Certainly she comes from one of the Democrats' more reliable constituencies — two, according to Richard Nixon or most biographies of LBJ — and it's hard to imagine that some of the meager few who turned out for the primary didn't vote for her simply because she was a woman, not knowing she'd shuffled off this mortal coil weeks before. And certainly Ms Ledgerwood would follow Senator Nickles' call for term limits — two terms, twelve years, in the Senate ought to be enough, said candidate Nickles in 1980 — better than the Senator himself. Of course, there would still be the chance that she'd resign midterm and take a commentator position with MSNBC or the Fox News Channel, but that's a chance we'll just have to take.

The Vent

#115
1 September 1998

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