Ravalli County Democrats recruit 37 write-in candidates

2012-04-28T07:45:00Z 2012-04-28T07:52:21Z Ravalli County Democrats recruit 37 write-in candidatesPERRY BACKUS Ravalli Republic Ravalli Republic
April 28, 2012 7:45 am  • 

Members of Ravalli County’s Democratic Central Committee made an unprecedented move Friday in the realm of county politics.

They marched into the county elections office and handed a file folder with 37 completed write-in affidavits for the position of Democratic precinct captain. By the end of the day, they fully expected that all 44 open seats would have an official write-in candidate.

That move followed news that seven people who appeared to have no connection to the Democratic Party had filed earlier for the seldom-contested precinct captain positions.

Ravalli County Democratic Central Committee chair John Meakin called them imposters.

That move, Meakin said has fired up the county’s Democratic base.

“We’ve been busy recruiting write-in candidates since the seven imposters signed up on March 12,” Meakin said. “There were an awful lot of people in the county unhappy about that.”

Meakin said he’s almost lost his voice from all the talking he’s done since the news of the filings hit the street.

“The calls that came in almost immediately after the articles appeared were burning up the wires,” Meakin said.

County Democrats offered to run as write-in candidates to fill all of the 44 two-year precinct captain positions, which is something that no can ever remember happening before.

“We had people lining up to run and had backups just in case someone didn’t work out,” Meakin said. “Never, in our collective memory, have we seen something like this before.”

In a normal election, there wouldn’t be a candidate for most of the precinct captain positions.

A new state law allows a county clerk and recorder to forgo putting the precinct candidate names on the ballot if they are running uncontested.

Ravalli County Clerk and Recorder Regina Plettenberg had planned to do just that before she called both parties to announce her intentions.

The issue came to the forefront when county Democrats took a look at the names and didn’t recognize any of them.

One in particular stood out: Ravalli County’s planning board chairman, Jan Wisniewski, was considered a staunch Republican. Wisniewski had not only filed for precinct position, but was also running as a Democrat for a state legislative seat.

Wisniewski didn’t return a phone call Friday.

Meakin said there’s a part of him that would like to thank Wisneiwski.

“He and the others energized the base like nothing you can believe,” he said. “I had people calling and ask what it was that those people thought they were doing. They’re not one of us.”

No one knew for sure what the “imposters” motivations were.

“We’ll never know what their ulterior motives were,” he said. “My personal opinion, they were certainly attempting to disrupt what we are doing.”

The state Democratic Party also offered both some financial help and advice in putting together the write-in campaign, Meakin said.

Ravalli County elections supervisor Sandy Tatsuhara planned to verify the affidavits presented to her Friday, which was the last day they could be recorded for the upcoming June primary.

Tatsuhara said she normally doesn’t receive many, if any, write-in affidavits during an election.

Local Democrats will be busy before the primary getting the word out to supporters to let them know whose name to write in on the primary ballot, Meakin said.

“This has been a remarkable effort,” he said.

Reporter Perry Backus can be reached at 363-3300 or pbackus@ravallirepublic.com.

Copyright 2015 Ravalli Republic. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(3) Comments

  1. GeneWil
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    GeneWil - May 19, 2012 6:57 pm
    Jan Wisniewski is no Republican. He is a Libertarian and that stunt he pulled on the Democratic Central Committee mirrors exactly what Dan Cox did to the Republican Central Committee in 2008.

    Cox is a friend of Jan's and is also an unprincipled, destructive actor in Ravalli County politics. Right now he has been disowned by most of the Libertarians who are running as Republicans for various offices. They understand that Cox is toxic.

    Wisniewski has never pretended to be a Republican. I give him credit for that. I just wish that he would persuade his Libertarian buddies to get out of the Republican Party Central Committee and run as Libertarians.

    Of course they can't do that because Libertarians rarely win elections. About the only thing they ever do is siphon votes away from the GOP, which is exactly what people like Cox intend.

    Their hero, Ron Paul, has never come close to being elected president and he never will. Based on his addle brained foreign policy statements claiming that Iran should be allowed to develop nucleur weapons "Because every one else has them" forever brands him as hare brained and unfit to ever be POTUS.

    I write this hoping that every Libertarian in this Valley reads it. Let them deny it.
  2. usaf101183
    Report Abuse
    usaf101183 - April 29, 2012 1:05 am
    I can't belive we have 37 commie's in this valley. That's the real story.
  3. Bitterroot Billy
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    Bitterroot Billy - April 28, 2012 8:59 am
    Its pretty rare that a write-in canidate ever wins over someone whose name is actually on the ballot, but if it happens here Jan Wisniewski is going to look like a real buffoon.
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