Childers Paid for Votes
Chris Lawrence earlier noted the win by Democrat Travis Childers in a special election to fill the remaining few months of the Mississippi 1st Congressional District seat long held by Republicans. He knows the local dynamics in Mississippi far better than I do, having earned his PhD at Ole Miss, so I’ll defer to his analysis.
It did, however, put me in mind of an NPR report from two days ago describing a Childers campaign event held at a local gas station highlighting the recent rise in prices at the pump. The line that jumped out at me: “The gas was only a buck 25 a gallon, and the campaign was paying the balance of the 3.55 regular price.”
Why isn’t this illegal?
I’m not suggesting that this practice is the reason Childers won, mind you. His margin of victory was substantial. But, surely, we don’t want candidates handing out cash and prizes to potential voters? We decry rich candidates spending millions of their own money on advertising as “trying to buy the election.” Isn’t actually giving money to eligible voters much more problematic?