I’ve heard of the 1996 movie Dead Man Walking.
But how about a movie named Dead Man Running?
That’s what’s happening in Chula Vista, CA, a city located between San Diego and the U.S./Mexico border:
The dead man is Simon Silva, who was – and still is – running for Chula Vista City Attorney. He died on September 3 and, due to election codes, it was too late to remove his name from the ballot or add new candidates.
Silva was – is – a Democrat. His opponent is Dan Smith, a Republican.
When I saw this story on October 25, it noted that Silva’s website is still up and running – almost two months after Silva’s death. On October 26 I went online and sure enough:
You can still volunteer for Silva’s campaign.
You can still donate to Silva’s campaign.
And according to this October 20 article:
Silva’s website isn’t the only platform that’s continuing to support the Dead Man Running:
“The Democratic Party’s official endorsement voter guide, as listed on their website, does not include the Chula Vista city attorney race, but campaign mailers sent recently to voters listed Silva as their choice for the seat. On September 18, they also held a campaign kickoff event with canvassing for its selected candidates that included Silva.
“There has been no mention in their communications of Silva’s death.”
And as you can see from the above headline, Silva’s Republican opponent wants this to stop:
“Dan Smith, a lawyer running for Chula Vista city attorney, is demanding the San Diego County Democratic Party stop promoting and encouraging voters to elect the late Simon Silva, who died last month.
“In an October 17 letter mailed to the Democratic Party and Mayor Mary Casillas Salas, Smith said the Democratic Party must cease ‘all advertising, promotions and endorsements for Mr. Simon Silva.’”
Smith’s reason for wanting “advertising, promotions and endorsements” to cease is simple:
If voters elect the deceased Silva, Smith loses.
Smith, of course, isn’t saying that. Instead he’s expressing his concerns in I’m-just-looking-out-for-taxpayers terms:
“‘Misinformation by perpetuating this fraud on the voters of Chula Vista is potentially causing the expenditure of millions of dollars, which is a substantial amount of taxpayer funds.’”
And in this instance, he’s speaking the truth.
According to this story:
“If Silva beats Smith in November, that will force Chula Vista to hold a special election to replace Silva. That could cost the city upwards of $2 million.”
A special election would give the Democrats an opportunity to run another candidate – presumably a living one – and win.
Sounds like there’s enough sleaze to go around for both Republicans and Democrats.
The Republican candidate is positioning himself as the champion of taxpayers, and the Democrats are endorsing a candidate while neglecting to mention he’s deceased.
Deceased candidate Silva who, the NBC 7 story noted, is “still the front runner” as of October 25.
So where are we today, October 28, less than two weeks from election day?
Republican Smith is getting the word out with mailers with Silva’s picture and the word “DECEASED”:
Democrats aren’t getting the word out – Silva campaign signs are still very much in evidence:
And the Democratic Party “did not respond” to the Union-Tribune’s requests for comment on this issue.
Lots of sleaze – both parties are running veritable sleaze machines.
But at least the City of Chula Vista and a Silva colleague took the time to remember that Simon Silva is more than a pawn to be used by Democrats and Republicans to get votes:
“‘His quiet leadership, ethics, unparalleled knowledge of personnel and housing laws as well as his prior experience as a Sheriff’s deputy and as a Marine made him a force to be reckoned with. He will be greatly missed,’ the city wrote in a statement.”
“‘Simon Silva was a profoundly good person who lawyered the way he lived, with intelligence, humility, and the highest degree of integrity,’ said City Attorney Glen Googins.”
“‘He clearly loved what he did, and he was beloved in return, both by his colleagues within the City Attorney’s office and throughout the ranks of his City family.’
“‘The great loves of his life, though, were his wife, Claudia, and their two daughters, Gabriela and Isabel. I feel incredibly blessed to have had him as a close colleague and friend these past 12 years. We are all heartbroken by his sudden passing,’ Googins said.”