Republican Kay Daly's run for Congress in the 13th District caused me to recall her husband's political shenanigans.
Jack Daly was running for state auditor in 2000 when he and a fellow Republican operative, Nate Pendley, cooked up a scheme to derail incumbent Ralph Campbell in the Democratic primary.
On the night of Feb. 3, 2000, Daly and Pendley went to a Davidson County homeless shelter where they met with a resident named Kenneth Lee Campbell. They filled out a voter registration form for him, using Campbell's brother's address in High Point, and candidacy papers for the office of state auditor.
"'They just told me they liked my name,' Kenneth Ray Campbell told the High Point Enterprise," according to the Associated Press.
I remember this very well, as I was then working for the High Point Enterprise, which broke the story.
"'They told him that he should run for state auditor — that because of his last name he would stand a good chance of winning,' (Crisis Ministry of Davidson County Executive Director Gayle) Whitehead told the Winston-Salem Journal. 'Kenneth told them he wouldn't know anything about being state auditor. They said that was OK, he would have a staff to do all the work.'"
Of course, the intent was not to see Kenneth Campbell elected. It was to confuse voters and create the possibility that Kenneth Campbell would defeat incumbent Ralph Campbell in the Democratic primary.
That would create a better opportunity for Jack Daly, the Republican candidate, to win the general election.
This was an outrageous bit of chicanery meant to subvert the democratic process.
Fortunately, it didn't work.
The Guilford County Democratic Party challenged Kenneth Campbell's voter registration and therefore his eligibility as a candidate.
The Guilford County Board of Elections agreed he was not a legal resident of the address listed and removed him from the voter rolls.
The News & Record reported: "'It is clear to me that this registration is a sham, and the conduct involved is abominable,' said board member Chuck Winfree. 'It was done for the purpose of confusing the voters, and for us to pretend that is not the case is absurd.'"
The episode didn't help Daly. He lost the Republican primary to Les Merritt.
It was a memorable example of attempted political opportunism.
Not that it has anything to do with Kay Daly's bid, or those of 16 other Republican candidates, to win a low-turnout primary.