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The Idiot Factor

I guess 15% of any group of people are idiots. James Traficant, a convicted felon who campaigned from his prison cell, still received over 27,000 votes for the new U.S. House District 17 seat in Northeast Ohio. What other explanation is there other than brain damage?

Young Democrat Tim Ryan won the seat:

    Democrat Timothy Ryan last night won a majority in a three-way race to fill the U.S. House seat vacated by the imprisoned James Traficant.

    Aside from defeating Traficant, his one-time mentor and an independent on the ballot, Ryan trounced by a wide margin his Republican opponent, Ann Womer Benjamin, who, with her party, waged an aggressive and costly campaign.

    “This isn’t about Tim Ryan. This is for Northeast Ohio and the Mahoning Valley,” he said in his victory speech.

    He went on to describe his great-grandfather, Dominic Guerra, a “little Italian guy who about 100 years ago had the courage to get on a ship and sail across a vast ocean.”

    The people of the 17th Congressional District, stretching from Youngstown to Akron, have “role models” like Guerra. “We’re going to turn this valley around, and we’re going to turn Northeast Ohio around.”

    Ebullient Ryan supporters at a Mollica Banquet Center in downtown Niles danced and drank to disco music. Minutes before his speech, they danced to Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock,” played in honor of Traficant, the disc jockey said.

Benjamin is my neighbor here in Aurora, but the majority of the new district is heavily Democratic:

    Traficant never campaigned by telephone or wrote letters from his federal prison cell in Pennsylvania, but he cast a shadow over the race. Ryan and Womer Benjamin both avoided talking about or criticizing him.

    At Traficant’s election celebration at the Eagle’s Club, also in Girard, a steady stream of supporters approached Tish Traficant, his wife, offering testimonials about the former congressman’s effect on their lives.

    “I’m hoping for a nice showing for him, not a miracle,” she said. “I’m realistic.”

    Ryan carried Mahoning, Trumbull and Summit counties, while Womer Benjamin won Portage County. Traficant trailed in all four counties.

    With anger simmering among many in the Mahoning Valley over Traficant’s conviction, Republicans had hoped to eke out victory in the three-way race by getting a plurality of the vote. Democrats, who have a strong edge in voter registration in the working-class district, feared Traficant, a nine-term Democratic congressman, would siphon votes from Ryan.

Meanwhile, New Mexico has decided that its idiots may not vote:

    Giving 18-year-olds the right to vote to conform with federal law and remove language excluding “idiots” and “insane persons” from voting; 44 percent Yes; 56 percent No.

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