Posted: Sept. 10, 2010
A CANDIDATE WITH THE WRONG KIND OF RECORD
By Celia Cohen
Doug Campbell was never going to be much of a candidate for attorney general.
He was running on a minor-party ticket. He was not a lawyer. He was up against Beau Biden, the first-term Democrat whose political pedigree is so daunting, the Republicans did not even bother fielding someone.
It turns out Campbell is even less of a candidate than that, perhaps no candidate at all.
Campbell did prison time for a felony in North Carolina. The political system welcomes candidates who have convictions but not necessarily one who has a conviction.
Delaware election officials are researching the situation to determine whether Campbell should be bounced from the ballot, where he is running as a candidate for the Independent Party of Delaware.
Not that Campbell ever made a secret of his past. He posted it on Facebook.
He led police on a high-speed chase in 2004 through the mountain roads around Asheville and spent 10 months in state prison on the charge of speeding to elude arrest.
It is a surprisingly murky situation for election officials, who learned of the situation in an inquiry from Delaware Grapevine. It does not help that Campbell is a candidate for attorney general and their lawyer is a deputy attorney general.
Felons cannot run, but not all felonies are created equal. A crime might be a felony in North Carolina but not here, and Delaware law rules.
"We're looking into it. We have to determine what the felony was and whether it rises to the level of a felony in Delaware before we proceed," said Elaine Manlove, the election commissioner.
Candidates also have to be registered voters, which Campbell is, but election officials are checking into that, too. Felons can have their right to vote restored, but only if five years have elapsed since they fulfilled all the terms of their sentence.
Campbell is adamant that a felony in North Carolina should not keep him off the ballot in Delaware. "There's nothing in the law saying I can't," he said.
Campbell is not exactly a standard-issue candidate for attorney general.
Not that the law requires the state's chief legal officer to be a lawyer, but the voters apparently do. They have been choosing lawyers for attorney general since the Constitution of 1897 made the post elected, not appointed.
Campbell makes his living by running a small operation seal-coating parking lots and driveways. He is a 30-year-old Townsend resident with a wife and twin four-year-olds.
That felony also has the effect of marking Campbell as a different sort of candidate for attorney general. He says he was driving without insurance and figured if the police pulled him over, they would take his car. Then he would lose his job. Then he would lose his place. So he kept going.
Now Campbell could lose his candidacy, too, and the positions it stands for. The sheriff should be the lawman. Property taxes are unconstitutional. Ben Bernanke, who chairs the Federal Reserve, should go to jail.
Not to forget what his Facebook page says about global warming. "The Climate is changing and I believe it is due to the Sun and sunspots. They are spraying something and I want to KNOW What, Where, Who, & WHY From THEM About EveryThing. God Help US. Are You, Ready?"
Beau Biden would never ask such questions, would he?