For the last 18 days, Fred Smith has had to suspend his campaigning for a State Senate seat in Oklahoma. Smith is challenging the incumbent Susan Paddack in State Senate District 13. It is a difficult feat for any challenger to knock off an incumbent. Smith’s task has become enormously more difficult since his arrest in late July. It maybe a surprise to Smith, but most voters have an aversion to voting for candidates who are spending their time behind bars.
Smith was arrested on two outstanding warrants. He owes $2,921.46 in child support and $1,850 in fines to the city of Ada. The fines are for two separate incidents. One was for driving with an open container and a suspended license. The other was for driving without a driver’s license and insurance. He also had expired tags on his car.
Running for political office when there are outstanding warrants for one’s arrest is not a particularly bright idea. It makes it easy for the police to make an arrest since every candidate has preannounced events to attend.
Smith’s campaign manager and fiancee SunShine Fox explained the problem now facing Smith and the campaign to The Oklahoman.
“He is currently still in jail because our money has been going to campaigning, so he will serve the time he needs to serve until we can get funds to get him out,” Smith’s campaign manager, SunShine Fox, said Tuesday. “The fact is we should have found other resources to possibly pay that.”
Oh, that is just hindsight. Whoever thought that the city of Ada would really want those fines paid anyway? And Smith’s kids? How did he know they needed a place to sleep and food to eat before the election?
Fox explained to the Oklahoman how these unfortunate events happened:
Fox…said it was a simple oversight that Smith didn’t pay the fines and that Smith has been making regular payments in child support, but recently became unemployed.
Fox said all of Smith’s paycheck goes to child support every month.
“Don’t you wish all men would do that?” Fox said.
I’m sure kids everywhere wish they had a father like Smith. There’s a dad for kids to be proud. However, if all his money is going to pay child support, then how was there any to be spent on campaigning as Fox asserts? That is a question for Smith to answer when he gets out of jail.
The 28-year-old Smith is a 10-year Army veteran. As Fox said, Smith became unemployed recently. Smith’s job, and the irony runs deep on this one, worked as a bail fugitive recovery agent. Yes, Smith was a bounty hunter. If only he had turned himself in, then he might have received a bonus to pay down that fine or child support in arrears.
Controversy has been surrounding Smith’s campaign from the start. When he announced that he was running earlier this year, the Paddack campaign challenged Smith’s candidacy.
Paddack…asserted her Republican challenger, Fred Smith, could not be a candidate because he wasn’t a registered voter in Senate District 13 and he had a misdemeanor embezzlement conviction.
In Oklahoma, someone convicted of embezzlement is barred from political office.
Smith had a misdemeanor conviction for writing bad checks. The election board ruled in favor of Smith by determining that writing checks for insufficient funds was not the same as embezzlement. They also ruled that he had registered to vote in time to establish a residency for his candidacy.
Smith blamed the bad checks on his ex-wife, who he said wrote them while he was serving in the Army. He also said, “We’ve all made mistakes.”
There is one last detail. Smith’s ex-wife filed a protective order against him, which she has accused him of violating.
Paddack responded to the interesting candidacy of Smith:
“Is he qualified for this office when he’s sitting in jail? I can’t help but think rather than running for office, wouldn’t his time really be better spent getting his life in order?”
Smith already has given an answer to that: “We’ve all made mistakes.” That seems to be the platform Smith is running on.
Oklahoma maybe a deep red, Republican state, but this is one race to bet on the Democrat to win.