In Alabama, Bibb County Commissioner Walter Sansing figured that he would easily win against his opponent Charles Beasley who was trying to reclaim his old seat.
Sansing had good reason to believe he should win. Beasley died on October 12, probably from an aneurysm. Beasley remained on the ballot. Beasley won with 52% of the vote.
Sansing took that hard.
“It is a touchy situation. When you are running against a dead man, you are limited as to what you can say,” Sansing said.
He has a point there. It’s hard to run a negative campaign against an opponent who is no longer alive. It is also a bit uncomfortable to put a big effort into a campaign when the opponent is no longer actively campaigning, or, in this case, living.
It didn’t help when all the votes were counted and State Senator Cam Ward tweeted about Beasley’s victory:
“Two weeks ago GOP candidate Beasley passed away in BibbCo. Tonight he defeated incumbent Dem Sansing. God Bless & RIP Charles. A dear friend who would have served well.”
Sansing disappointment is not shared by him alone, though.
In Florida, Earl K. Wood was seeking his 12th term as Orange County Tax Collector in Orlando. Wood, 96, passed away on October 15 to natural causes.
Wood’s opponent, Jim Huckeba, vowed to eliminate the office Wood had held for decades.
Wood was paid $150,000 a year and collected a $90,000 a year pension, but he had trouble making it into his office three times a week. On an average, Wood worked about 10 hours a week. He had been in office for 48 years.
The big issue in the campaign was the consolidation of Wood’s office and possible elimination of his position. When a task force was formed to study the elimination of Wood’s office, Wood didn’t pay it much attention. Wood responded: “We’ve been debating this since the 1960s.” Wood would know. He had been in office since then.
Wood defeated Huckeba comfortably with 56% of the vote. At least in Wood’s case, another candidate was selected to receive the votes cast for him. That is not much comfort for Huckeba, just as it wasn’t for Sansing. Losing an election is tough. Losing an election to a dead man is embarassing.