Charles Darwin gets 4,000 write-in votes in Georgia
ATLANTA ? A Georgia congressman who attacked the theory of evolution found himself with an unlikely opponent in Tuesday's election, when 4,000 voters in one county cast write-in ballots for the 19th century father of evolution, British naturalist Charles Darwin.
In a September 27 speech, Paul Broun, a physician and member of the U.S. House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology Committee, called evolution and the Big Bang Theory, "lies straight from the pit of hell."
Since Broun, a Republican, had no opposition in the general election, a University of Georgia plant biology professor, Jim Leebens-Mack, and others started a write-in campaign for Darwin, the father of the theory of evolution.
"We don't feel our interests are being best served by an anti-science fundamentalist representing us on the Science, Space and Technology Committee," Leebens-Mack told Reuters on Friday.
The write-in votes in Athens-Clarke County will not count officially since Darwin was never certified as a write-in candidate, but Leebens-Mack hopes the campaign will encourage a strong candidate, Democrat or Republican, to challenge Broun in 2014.
"I think there could be Democratic opposition, but even more likely is having a rational Republican who understands issues like global warming, scientific reasoning more generally," said Leebens-Mack.
Broun received 16,980 votes in Athens-Clarke County, home of the University of Georgia, Broun's undergraduate alma mater.
Broun's office issued a statement on Friday that did not directly address Darwin, saying that the congressman "looks forward to representing the ... constitutional conservative principles" of his constituents.
The statement also noted that Broun "received a higher level of support from his constituents in Athens-Clarke County this election cycle than in any of his previous campaigns."
The battle for the U.S. Senate between Tim Kaine and George Allen in Virginia may have been settled in the litter box instead of the ballot box if the tightly contested election had come down to about 6,000 votes given to a cat. Official Hank the Cat campaign photo
It?s entirely possible that third-place finisher in Virginia is Hank the Cat, a Maine Coon who ran on a pro-feline, job-creation platform.
In the current online results, Kaine is ahead of Allen by about 184,000 votes as of Thursday morning. The race was expected to be very close, and it was part of a record spending spree in the state that also featured a tight race between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
But an examination of the official voting ballot online shows that there apparently wasn?t a candidate from a known third party listed on the ballot below Kaine and Allen, unlike past years. There also isn?t a third-party candidate listed on the election board website among its election results.
Hank the Cat had been running for the U.S. Senate since last winter as a part of a spoof on the modern election process. He received extended coverage in TheWashington Post in February.
Hank even wrote a campaign blog for The Huffington Post in October, praising another cat running for office in Canada, Tuxedo Stan. That was after Hank survived an attack ad launched by a faux pro-dog super PAC.
Unfortunately for Hank, TV show host Ellen DeGeneres gave a public endorsement to Stan, and not Hank, on her show.
?I don?t like to get political?but I would vote for that cat,? she said.
While having a cat run for the Senate may seem like a joking matter, a total of more than 6,000 votes in a close election isn?t.
A future president, Lyndon B. Johnson, won his first U.S. Senate race in Texas by 27 votes. And we all know how close the 2000 presidential race was in Florida.
Today in Wisconsin, functional control of that state?s Senate will come down to an election decided by 590 votes.