Monday, May 21, 2007
Political Sore Loser Hall of Fame
A candidate who finished second in the race for Reading mayor last week is crying foul.
Angel Figueroa, a former Reading City Councilman who lost a bid for the Democratic nomination for mayor by 455 votes, wants a recount. Actually he wants a new election. Or better yet, just allow 300 of his supporters to vote again. Good luck with that.
Figueroa claims that hundreds of Latino voters were intimidated or turned away at the polls. That's going to be hard to prove since Reading is monitored by state and federal authorities to ensure Latinos are given extraordinary access at the polls (including bilingual ballots and taxpayer-funded interpreters).
Federal observers from the Department of Justice were stationed at 45 of the city's 48 voting precincts on May 15 to make sure there were no incidents of discrimination or intimidation against the city's Hispanic voters.
The Justice Department has been monitoring elections in Reading since 2003 as part of a federal court order. You not only have observers at the polls, but the city must also provide bilingual elections material, including the ballot, to voters who don't speak English.
Several left-wing organizations (the ones who look for GOP hanky-panky at elections, but never seem to notice any Democratic dirty tricks) also send monitors to Reading for elections.
Figueroa came up way short for the nomination, which went to current Mayor Tom McMahon. A Republican candidate, Keith Stamm, ran unopposed.
Reading can't even get enough poll workers for its precincts, so who's doing all this intimidation? Figueroa is also making wild accusations of hundreds of Hispanic voters having their party affiliation changed by county elections office workers, but offers no proof other than he was told that by voters.
None of the 300 voters that Figueroa claims were denied the right to vote bothered to contact the county before the election to complain about their alleged switch in voter registration.
If you lose by 5 votes or 15 votes or 25 votes, you can make a case for a review of the results. But when you lose by 455 votes despite outspending your opponents 2-1, the problem is with you.
I'm also intrigued to see that most of Figueroa's campaign contributions came from outside the City of Reading.
Sixteen of the 20 top donors to Figueroa's campaign were individuals or groups outside the city. Makes you wonder why people who don't live in Reading would donate $33,000 to a candidate.
What are they expecting for their investment?
Doesn't really matter. Figueroa lost fair-and-square. He can run again four years from now. Then again, four years from now, nobody will remember who this guy was ... if he’s still living in Reading.