No big surprise here. Vigo County Superior Court Judge David Bolk ordered a recount as requested by losing Mayor Kevin Burke (D). Mayor-elect Duke Bennett's (R) attorney, Jim Bopp, had asked the judge to dismiss Burke's complaint for a recount based on the fact that Burke's complaint omitted Bennett's middle initial, "A". According to Bopp, the recount statute requires a complaint for a recount to identify the candidate as his name appeared on the ballot. Specifically, I.C. 3-12-6-3 reads: "The name of each candidate for the nomination or office as set forth on the ballot for the election and the address of each candidate for nomination or election to the office as set forth in the records of the county election board or election division." Bopp said other courts had dismissed complaints in the past because the candidate's name was not identified in the complaint exactly as it appeared on the ballot.
In addition to seeking a recount of Bennett's 107-vote win over Burke, DeLaney is asking Judge Bolk to rule that Bennett is disqualified from serving as Terre Haute's mayor because his employer, the Hamilton Center, receives a federal grant for its Head Start program. That, according to DeLaney, violated the federal Hatch Act. “I’m not asking him about his love life,” DeLaney told the Tribune-Star. “I’m asking him if he’s qualified for mayor, and I’m hearing a deafening silence.” Bennett maintains that none of his responsibilities or his salary is tied to the federal dollars. Interestingly, Burke raised the same Hatch Act argument against his opponent during the May primary but didn't mention a word about the issue against Bennett until he learned Bennett had beaten him.
1) Ed DeLaney shouldn't be surprised when someone else nitpicks the law, and
2) Surprising that Ed DeLaney thinks it's OK to attempt to circumvent the usual Hatch Act investigative process.
Hmmmm. Maybe Judge Bolk is deemed a "friendly" judge in the fine Terre Haute judicial tradition of, say, the late Eli H. Redman or Thomas Smith?
Really. Mayor Burke would have better spent his time mending the fences he'd knocked over during the last four years rather than crying about spilt milk now. Tsk, tsk.
Ah, Terre Haute politics
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