Thursday, September 14, 2006

My "Kate Witek" Mea Culpa

by Kyle Michaelis
Thanks to some sensationalized reporting by the Lincoln Journal-Star, I - and probably most readers not privileged to this state's backroom political dealings - accepted the notion advanced by the LJS that the Democratic Party was honestly pursuing a second spot for Kate Witek (both as a Democrat and by-petition) on the November ballot.

Turns out that threat - perhaps supportable as a matter of law but hardly as a matter of principle or practicality - was merely a bargaining chip to exact some leverage over the Republican-dominated Secretary of State's and Attorney General's offices, protecting Witek's nomination as a Democrat from further challenge in the courts.

The more reliable AP reports:
State Auditor Kate Witek will be listed on the Nov. 7 ballot as a Democrat only, under a deal reached with her lawyer and the state attorney general’s office....

Vince Powers, one of Witek’s lawyers and a Democratic national committeeman, said the attorney general’s office agreed to not appeal a judge’s ruling that Witek, a longtime Republican who recently became a Democrat, should be on the ballot as a Democrat....

“The whole issue about her being on twice was only protection against an appeal,” Powers said. “Because had they appealed, it would have put her in jeopardy as far as being listed as a Democrat.

“Ultimately ... it was very important to the Democratic Party that it not get pushed around by the Republicans,” Powers said.

Had I understood the context from which this argument emerged, I would have certainly withheld my ill-informed criticism, saving me from partaking in another self-righteous scolding of the Nebraska Democratic Party. As is, I apologize to readers and the NDP alike for taking the Journal-Star's reporting at face value.

It appears the Democratic Party had some fine legal representation throughout the struggle to get Witek's name on the November ballot, resulting in what seems to be across-the-board success (barring the unfortunate aforementioned report). Compliments to all involved, and I hope all the kids at home enjoy Powers' fighting words about the Democratic Party's refusal to be pushed around by their powerful Republican counterparts.

Now, having gotten the story wrong - in the grandest journalistic tradition - let's finally move on to a different subject.


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