Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Many Reasons To Vote, Including To Foil The Felon

'Foil the Felon — Opt for Obi' has been a recurring theme of our coverage of today's statewide primary election. It is but one of many good reasons for Minnesotans to vote today. There is an opportunity to influence the selection of a new U.S. representative in Minneapolis; to decide among three Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidates for attorney general, and to select a DFL candidate for governor. There are many local primaries and runoffs for judgeships, county offices, school boards and legislative seats where your favored candidate may need your help to stay alive for the Nov. 7 general election. Two of our larger school districts, Roseville and South Washington County, have school-funding issues on the ballot today.
Obi Sium, a Republican candidate in the 4th Congressional District, fears that Jack Shepard's name might give him a leg up in the upcoming primary election.
Our attention has been focused on the 4th Congressional District, which is centered in St. Paul and includes most nearby suburbs, including Oakdale to the east, Roseville, Shoreview and White Bear Lake to the north and Mendota Heights, West St. Paul and South St. Paul to the south. U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat, is the incumbent and will be heavily favored to retain her seat in November. But today, Obi Sium needs the help of 4th District Republicans to win the party's primary and get to the general election. He is the Republican Party's endorsed candidate. He is a retired state engineer from Oakdale who was born in Eritrea and has lived in the U.S. for more than three decades. He speaks about the ballot box and democratic elections with reverence.
Jack Shepard is running his campaign from distant Italy over the Internet.
His opponent, Jack Shepard, lives in Italy. He pleaded guilty to two felonies in Minnesota around 1980 — sexual assault and drug possession. He is wanted in Hennepin County on a separate arson charge. He does not live in the 4th District and would face arrest were he ever to return. His presence on the ballot is an affront to the democracy Obi Sium holds dear. We fear that voters will choose an "American''-sounding name in this race. That would achieve the opposite result, because it is the "foreign''-sounding Obi Sium who is the true American in this race. That's why we say to 4th District Republicans: Foil the Felon — Opt for Obi.
Thanks to Wells for the heads up on this story